Located on Penarth Road, a mere 10-minute walk from the town centre, the award-winning Vegetarian Food Studio is a well-kept secret for those in the know. Even the most dedicated meat eaters will find something delicious to tempt their appetites with the wonderful array of dishes on offer.
The hugely extensive menu, which includes both South Indian, North Indian (Gujarati) and a selection of popular Oriental dishes, offers both vegetarian and vegan cuisine made with fresh, quality ingredients for a budget price.
The atmosphere is friendly and welcoming and the staff are always on hand to offer advice. Inside, the décor is understated, except for a few revered deities and the odd embroidered wall hanging, and the lighting is stark, but this is not about ambience, this is all about the food…
To start we had the VFS Platter Mix, (£4.95 per person), which includes a selection of their most popular starters: Samosas, Bhajia, Kachori, Onion Pakora, Atom Bombs* and Bateda Wada. These are served with delicious, tangy tamarind chutney. N.B. This is a very generous starter so make sure you leave some room for the main course!
*Warning! Their famous Atom Bombs, (baby potatoes filled with a fiery garlic chutney), are not for the faint-hearted and are guaranteed to make you break into a sweat! Be warned, the heat is slow and lingering!
For our main course we ordered a selection of dishes to share; Paneer Capsicum, Ringan No Oro and Aloo Palak, (all £4.95 each), plus a portion of pilau rice and Peshwari naan.
Paneer Capsicum, (Indian cottage cheese cooked with peppers and chillies in a tomato sauce), is one of our go-to dishes. The sauce is deliciously rich and tangy and the peppers succulent and caramelised. We highly recommend it! If you like aubergine dishes, Ringan No Oro (barbecue roasted aubergine cooked with onions, coriander, tomatoes and chillies), will not disappoint. The consistency is similar to the Turkish dish baba ghanoush, but the flavours are distinctly Indian – spicy and delicious! And finally, Aloo Palak, a delicately spiced dish of fresh spinach and potatoes is a fantastic way of getting your daily dose of iron!
We were so stuffed after our feast we couldn’t contemplate eating dessert, but there are plenty of tasty options to choose from. There is also a counter offering colourful Indian sweets to take away – my personal favourite is the pistachio flavour.
If you’re on a budget a very popular choice for a bit of everything is the Gujarati Thali, which comes with a huge selection of dishes, all for £6.95! One thing to note is that they do not sell alcohol, but diners are more than welcome to bring their own. In fact, the manager will happily advise you where to go to buy your booze!
115-117 Penarth Road
029 2061 7534
located about 10 minutes walk from Bunkhouse.