Three steps to (curry) heaven?  Tukka Tuk, Cardiff Indoor Market, Cardiff city centre.

To add to Fwrnes, Franks, Malay focused Marsala Hut and Thai & Asian Delish cafe (to name but a few), we now have a gaff from the chef (Anand George) behind the Purple Poppadum in Cardiff’s increasingly interesting (food wise) Cardiff market.

This is the third Tukka Tuk, with them already well established at the Goodsheds (shamefully I still haven’t been) and also at the more recently established Founder & Co in Swansea.

The Cardiff Tukka Tuk seems to have been as a result of a change of tack from the original dosa (Dosaa) concept, trailed prior to the plague hitting our shores, for which I had lined up the truly awful “Dosaa wish your lunch was hot like mine” blog post title (filed that under “Probably for the best“). Must admit I was rather looking forward to a dosa outfit in the market, but heyho.

Situated on the mezzanine level (High St. end), there is plenty of communal sitting as well as the ability to take away.

The menu is short, but rather on the enticing side, with their signature Keralan twist on fried chicken and chips, as well as mutton rolls,

and a build your own bowl concept.

The latter brought to mind the Eddie Cochrane “Three steps to heaven” number and thus got me to my usual tortured post title. Actually rather apt as Kerala is oft referred to as “God’s own Country” and the place is also located at the top of a set of stairs

Whilst I was tempted by the fried chicken and chips, rightly the most popular dish in their other venues, the bowl concept seemed to offer the best of both worlds with the “Eat with” option allowing me to add said fried chicken.

I plumped for the pilav rice, beef rib curry and, of course, the fried chicken in terms of the “Three Steps”, which came to £8 all in.

On ordering you are handed a ticket

which at first blush looked rather ominously high numbered. I didn’t, however, have to wait long before my order was called and my lunch arrived.

Good size portion, with a hearty amount of both the beef rib curry and the fried chicken

The nodules of beef rib were beautifully tender and sat in a rich, spice laden gravy. Couldn’t tell you what the exact component spices in the sauce were, but it had a nice bit of warming chilli heat to it as well as that distinctive curry leaf aroma. Lovely balance to this dish and I would happy have eaten just the rice (very nicely cooked) and the beef curry.

The chicken was also very good,

with the spicing again bob on. There was also an excellent crispness and flavour to the coating.

Less perhaps of the warming chilli, but again a nice hit of fragrant curry leaves, as well as ginger, coriander and plentiful cumin seeds.

I really liked the liberal sprinkling of fried curry leaves and coconut that adorned the chicken.

Certainly no complaints from me on either the quality or quantity front 

It all made for a thoroughly enjoyable lunch that filled me up nicely for the rest of the day.

A second visit, with Rachel (I didn’t disown her after “Prawn Tailgate“, but she has been pencilled in for re-education) brought the mutton rolls (£5.50) into play.

A lovely crisp, oil free, outer shell,

encased robustly flavoured and spiced mutton (I am a big fan of mutton which, to me, generally has a greater depth of flavour than lamb).  

Very decent amount of filling and it came with a punchy tomato sauce, which was ideal for dipping the rolls into.

There was also a basic slaw, with a quite vinegar heavy dressing. This worked well as against the richness of the rolls, but the lettuce seem to me to be superfluous to requirements.

I added bombay fries (£4), which came as a very generous portion (easily enough for two).

Good crisp fries, I really enjoyed the coconut,  garlic and chilli concoction that was sprinkled over them.

In terms of the thousand island dressing, this was nicely tangy but I would have preferred less and for it to have been in a separate pot as per the tomato sauce (so I could dunk my fries in it).

Rachel had the fried chicken and chips (£10),

and said it pretty much hit all the right notes. She opined that it was quite big for lunch (still ate it all mind – I didn’t get a look in) and that she would have (in line with me) preferred the sauce in a separate pot.

The drink menu is short and not very exciting.

Hopefully in the future they may expand it out to included lassis, sherbats and, perhaps, chai? Can get a tad parky in the market come winter, so a warming chai would go down a treat at those times I would say.

The verdict

Really enjoyed my visits here, with it being a really nice addition to the market.

My only slight concern relates to the pricing, with £8 – £10 in terms of the meat based bowls/fried chicken and chips being at the higher end of my lunchtime budget. As such it becomes a treat rather than an everyday lunch item.

I think it might be an idea to offer just the rice and curry (steps 1 & 2), with a larger portion of curry and a bigger price (say five or six quid) and then have as an option the ability to add extras (i.e. fried chicken), but based on a smaller portion and lower price (say £3).

In effect tweak the model so that the base price is linked to steps 1 & 2 only (and bit more price wise) and then have step 3 as an optional extra.

I would be more than happy with a bowl of rice and the beef rib curry for say £5/£6, and to have the option to add something on top as an extra. I personally think that would tick a lot of peoples boxes as a take back to the office option.

The counter argument to this is the mutton rolls already hit that £5/£6 price point and if you go all veggie with the 3 step bowl it comes in at £6.50.

Regardless, I think it is a rather fine addition to the market and I will certainly be back for more.

The details


Opening hours: Weds – Sat: 11.00 – 16.00


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