I went to their grand opening back a few weeks ago, and I was totally impressed. But later, having a full sit down diner, I really saw how much time they spend getting everything just right. A great deal of care goes into every dish, and everything is made fresh daily. They use no preservatives, and only the freshest ingredients. Including fresh vegetables made perfect every day.
Cardamom gets its name from a wonderful spice grown in the mountains region of Kerala, Indian. They use many spices indigenous to this fertile area. They took over the former space of “India’s Oven”, which had been there since 1981. Cardamom is such a departure from its previous owners. India’s Oven was basic Indian fare, what you’re going to find at Cardamom is something all together scrumptiously different.
Business partners at Cardamom, and brother-in-laws, Nasir Syed and Badrul Alam Chowdhury are deeply rooted in the history of the space. Syed, who began his career as a Manager at India’s Oven upon moving to Los Angeles from Bangladesh in the early 2000, “This restaurant and space has great meaning to me, as this is where I began my life when I moved here,” says Syed. “Opening Cardamom has been a dream, and being able to do this as a family venture has made the process that much more meaningful.” While Syed serves as Cardamom’s Co-Owner and General Manager, Chowdhury can be found at the helm of the kitchen, where he mans the tandoor ovens as the resident Executive Chef. Adding to the family venture is what Syed and Chowdhury have deemed their secret weapon: Syed’s uncle, Consulting Executive Chef Manju Choudhury, is one of the most successful Indian restaurateurs in London. He started the popular Haweli chain, which grew to 23 branches, and then after a brief retirement, he returned to the restaurant game with Mumbai 2 Go, recently voted best delivery spot in the UK. He also once held the Guinness World Record for making the world’s largest onion bhaji, a 62-milogram monster.
Here’s What I Tried:
Pol Roger “Brut Reserve” NV, Epernay, Champagne, FR. This is a nice start for this great food; the campaign is very light and effervescent.
Chardonnay, fruity and buttery, the perfect wine with the sweetness of the lobster, it all its glory.
Malbec, Bodega Salentein “Reserva”, Valley de Uco, Mendoza, ARG 2012. This wine was a great pairing with the succulent leg of lamb, what a stellar combo.
Chicken and Chickpeas Soup. This soup will captivate your senses; it is kind like an Indian grandmother version of Jewish Chicken Soup, but with some killer Indian spices.
Tuk Tuk Platter (for two persons), Onion Piaza, Singara, Chutneywala Paneer. This gives you well-rounded tastes of some very yummy appetizers
Kachumber, Chopped onions, tomato, cucumber, herbs (salad). A very refreshing salad, which works well to cool your mouth down from all the heat.
Mix & Match, Haryali Murgh, Malai Murgh Kebab, Seekh Kebab, Onion Piaza. You get to try all of these lovely appetizers on one plate, what a concept.
Main & Veggies:
Goan Jhinga, fresh lobster cooked in fresh coconut, crushed chili, curry leaves served with lemon rice. The y serve a whole tail split in half, it is very spicy, with lots of hot green peppers in the curry sauce. Never have had lobster in an Indian restaurant; this is a very special treat.
Manju’s Lamb Shank, marinated lamb shank slow cooked overnight on charcoal then served in spicy sauce made with onion tomato and chickpeas, making the lamb so soft that it falls off the bone. Have you ever heard of having a lamb shank in an Indian Restaurant, no don’t think so. The lamb falls right off the bone and the chickpeas make for a very hearty dish.
Mater Paneer, home made cottage cheese tossed with green peas then cooked in sauce. I love this dish and order it anytime I’m eating Indian food, they did not disappoint!!
Khumb Bhajee, mushrooms tossed in garlic and spices. So many mushrooms, so little time. This is a nice rendition of a kind of mushroom sauté.
Aloo Gobi, potato and cauliflower tempered with cumin and paprika. There is not a lot of sauce on this dish; instead you get a kind of rub, with great flavor.
Rice & Bread:
Special Fried Rice, fragrant basmati rice cooked with green peas, egg, cashew nut, and sulthan. I have experienced lots of fried rice, but never anything like this. The rice is separated; this is not sticky rice, which makes for a glorious rice dish. I also loved the selection of each individual ingredient.
Peshwari Naan, Indian bread baked in Tandoor with coconut, sultanas, dates and nuts. A delicious accompaniment to a spicy meal. I have also eaten lots of Naan, but never like this. Same premise different dish, all the ingredients complimented what is usually bread that has to be dipped. This naan is so great you don’t need to dip it in any curry entrees.
Gajar ka Halwa, carrot delicacy served with ice cream. This desert kind of grows on you. The carrots are warm and grated and are sort of sweet. It’s a healthy d=dessert, just keep that in mind.
The décor is modern but friendly, decorator Arshad Chouhan, an artist and interior designer from the UK, specializes in restaurant interiors. His designs are seen in England, France, Sweden, Bangladesh and the Philippines. He has designed more then 100 restaurants Chouhan says. “Everything was done from scratch—the lighting, the bar, the partitions and even the ceiling.” That ceiling shows Chouhan’s clever minimalist aesthetic: It’s painted black and strung with steel cables, which create the illusion of glass tiles suspended above the restaurant. The bar top hangs from the ceiling, and a custom partition separates the bar area from the main dining room, which seats 50. In the dining room, five large paintings by Chouhan himself decorate the walls. “It’s a simple, more European design. My goal was to create a visually striking environment that would allow the cuisine to shine,” he says. He is right on the money with everything he does.
This is no ordinary Indian cuisine, it is very extraordinary, with amazing attention to detail, Cardamon has it all!!
7233 Beverly Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90036