As a gluten free (GF), vegan diner-outer based in Wales, I sometimes find eating out a difficult, boring and irritating experience. Oh well, I keep trying. But the Vegetarian Food Studio, an Indian restaurant based on home cooked Guajarati, Hindu food, is an absolute delight as vegan restaurant! Cardiff and beyond isn’t always spoilt for choice, but I have eaten there with various combinations of family and friends, and all have enjoyed the food very much. All the food is veggie, a LOT is vegan or can be easily adapted, and GF does not seem to be a problem. And all for an extremely reasonable price.
A Proud Culinary Tradition
Indeed, Jim Patel, the founder whose son Neil is the chef, assures me that they can meet any dietary need or preference, with enough notice. They are happy to cook for the Jain branch of Hinduism, in which followers do not eat anything that was grown in the ground. This luckily corresponds somewhat with the growing call for low FODMAP food, a dietary way of coping with IBS. The main offenders in the (very comprehensive) list of foods to avoid are onions and garlic, and Neil and his dad are easily up to this challenge.
Jim’s family came over from Uganda in 1972. His son Neil started cooking traditional family food when he was very young, alongside his Grandmother, and from this simple start became the chef of this multi award-winning restaurant. In fact, they have won 29 awards since they opened in 2003 and have both vegetarian society and vegan society approval. Jim and Neil first wanted to cater for people from their local temple, but now have an international clientele.
They are very proud of bringing their traditional Hindu food, and through it their beliefs, to everyone. In fact, they see their restaurant as a gateway for integration and understanding between all.
Vegan Restaurant Cardiff Style
Our dining experiences here have been positive as our favourite vegan restaurant. On our last visit my husband and I shared ringan muttar (aubergine and peas), aloo palak (spinach and potatoes), mung bean curry (self-explanatory) and bhindi bateta nu saak (okra, potatoes and onions) AND some pudla (chickpea pancakes), all gorgeous and, yes, an enormous amount of food (the portions are generous!!). We felt like total hogs, but the staff do not judge and are happy to pack up leftovers for you to take home. Definitely a win-win!
The prices for a main dish are between £2.95 and £5.95 and they also provide a lunch thali for one at £8.95 which includes a curry, 2 starters, rice, daal, 3 breads, a sweet dish, a poppadum and a salad. Wow. The exciting menu takes you to both north and south India and includes a very wide range of choice.
From a humble beginning as a friendly vegan restaurant, Cardiff is lucky they now cater for both Hindu and other types of weddings, provide catering for all occasions, and provide a “tiffin” service for students. Their restaurant is truly satisfying. Friendly, bright and welcoming, the food is varied and authentic and exciting.
On the practical side, they do not serve alcohol, but do allow you to bring your own. They provide food for free for under 3-year olds, a way, I am smilingly assured, of introducing their food early and hopefully converting the new generation to veggie Hindu eating!
The latest news…there are cookery lessons on Monday nights, starting in March. It’s £15 a head for an hour of socialising, followed by a 2-hour lesson and then dinner together. I am signing up as soon as I can.
The Vegetarian Food Studio is found on Penarth Road in Cardiff, Wales.
Things to Do in Cardiff
When you are planning to visit Cardiff, and enjoy a tasty meal at the restaurant, it is well worth rounding out your holiday with some other fun local activities. Cardiff Castle is in the middle of town, and is a Victorian castle with an ancient keep in it’s middle, great for kids and history buffs.
Cardiff is also known as the City of Arcades, with it’s collection of Victorian and Edwardian arcades with many unique shops. And if you fancy some culture, Cardiff Museum makes for a great visit with it’s extensive collection of Impressionist art. Or how about getting wet on a high powered and very fast boat with Cardiff Sea Safaris in Cardiff Bay?
Are you or a loved one vegan or vegetarian? What do you when you eat out while traveling? Have you tried a vegan restaurant Cardiff has to offer?