Design By Humans
Published On: Thu, Feb 26th, 2015

Cardamom: A New Favorite Spice

CardamomOpened in late autumn 2014, Cardamom is a delightful new venue for sophisticated Indian cuisine in Los Angeles. Located not far from LACMA and the Grove on Beverly Boulevard, Cardamom was once the home of India’s Oven. It bears no resemblance to that venue, save the original ironwork door. The design is bright and sleek, with an open interior that includes colorful modern art on the walls, crisp white linens, and a dynamic, attractive open bar area.

Consulting chef Manju Choudhury, one of the U.K.’s top chefs, is all about freshness, and the name of the restaurant reflects that. Cardamom, is of course a spice, and reportedly one of the chef’s favorites. It is also a spice growing region in India, from which the chef purchases the spices used in the restaurant, grinding them in-house to retain the freshness of the coriander, cumin, and, naturally, cardamom.

Open Monday to Sunday for lunch and dinner daily, this contemporary spot serves up diverse dishes not found in your average LA Indian restaurant – items such as spicy and sour prawns, or eggplant in a rich and creamy tomato sauce studded with tender mushrooms. Every sauce is made fresh daily, and there are no preservatives. Vegetables too are fresh, local and varied.

For a birthday dinner, the evening began with complimentary naan bread accompanied by a wonderful relish tray of sauces including mango chutney, yogurt mint, and tamarind sauce. As an appetizer, the varied tastes of the Tuk Tuk platter is a good way to enjoy an introduction to a variety of flavors. Highlights include a sweet onion piaza, made from crisp deep fried onions coated in a subtly sweet paprika lentil batter. Perfectly spiced vegetables inside airy pastry shells were also part of the platter, and served with date and tamarind chutney. Our favorite was the Chutneywala Paneer, grilled cottage cheese stuffed with pickling spices and topped with a mint chutney that’s simply sublime.

The naan bread is also a special treat. Peshwari naan has a sweet touch from added coconut, and it goes splendidly with spicy dishes. The light and fluffy garlic naan beautifully accompanies vegetable and seafood dishes. The mater paneer, long a favorite, was exceptional, light, house-made cottage cheese tossed with green peas and simmered in a richly flavorful yet somehow not heavy sauce. The Zafran Pilau, basmati rice with saffron and lemon, that accompanied the dish was delightful. Tandoor Jhinga Masala – tiger prawns in masala sauce – is the kind of dish that diners will devour down to the last bite of sauce. Keep the naan handy.

Dessert, never a strong suit in many Indian restaurants, is an experience of delicate flavors here. The Gulab Jamun, cheese dumplings in a sweet, saffron-rich syrup are surprisingly light and airy. Mango and pistachio with rose water ice creams are a beautiful finish.

The most noticeable component of all these dishes is the light yet well spiced composition of the sauces and toppings. Nothing oily or overly spiced, here. Another noticeable aspect of the cuisine served is the reliance on the restaurant’s tandoor oven, whose natural clay creates delicious flavors without the need to add oils or fats.

Despite the quality cuisine and the overall elegance of the restaurant, prices are reasonable, and the restaurant features an express lunch menu that includes an appetizer, chutney, naan, and one main dish that is possibly one of the best deals in town for upscale dining in the restaurant, or a great lunch at the office.

The wine list is exceptional, a Sunset Sauvignon Blanc that was suggested to accompany our meal was an expert pairing.

7233 Beverly Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90036
Phone:(323) 936-1000

About the Author

- Genie Davis is a multi-published novelist and produced screen and television writer. New books include the romantic suspense of Executive Impulse (Crimson); more romance and mystery with Between the Sheets (Entangled), co-written with Linda Marr; and the mystery thriller Marathon (Five Star/Cenage). Her previous titles include the award winning romantic suspense of The Model Man and Five O’Clock Shadow (Kensington); the literary fiction of Dreamtown (FictionWorks), and the erotic novella Rodeo Man (as Nikki Alton) in The Cowboy anthology (Aphrodisia). In film, her work spans a variety of genres from supernatural thriller to romantic drama, family, teen, and comedy with an emphasis on independent film. A member of the Writer’s Guild of America, she’s written on staff for ABC-TV’s Port Charles; written, produced, and directed reality programming and documentaries for TLC, Lifetime, PBS, and HGTV, as well as numerous television commercials and corporate videos. She’s also written hundreds of articles on travel, love, the arts, writing, tech, food, parenting, and more.

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Cardamom: A New Favorite Spice