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Bwyta Bwyd Bombai

I’ve been to Bwyta Bwyd Bombai (3B’s) a few times previously but only had a takeaway biryani on the way home from work when I’ve been feeling lazy and not sure if i’d make it through the journey home without something in my belly.

I was invited to drop in and sample some of the lesser known items on the menu at 3 B’s last week to my excitement as I follow them on instagram and been intrigued by some of the food they’ve been dishing out and posting lately.

Bwyta Bwyd Bombai differs to your standard indian restaurant as they primarly focus on street food you would most certainly seen being cooking up on the roadside in Mumbai, which is where the chef and owner  Shakshi was brought up and taught her trade by her family.

The restaurant is located in High Street Arcade a few doors down from the  Cardiff Institution that is New York Deli.The place offers a more relaxed dinning experience making it great for lunch or a good dose of energy before carrying on a bit of shopping.

The Food

The guys took me through a good ole journey through the menu and offering some dishes i’ve never even heard of before, which is right up my street.

The great thing about 3 B’s is it’s proper finger food meaning you can get stuck in with your hands and make a mess especially with the fuzz i’m sporting on my face at the moment.

Bwyta Bwyd Bombai mixed bhaji puri and batata vada

I started on a few nibbles to get my apettite in check with the crispy rice puffs of Sev Puri and Dahi Puri with some with yogurt and mildly spiced and the other filled with chopped, fresh veggies and vermicelli noodles adding a nice crunch and texture. I was told they should go down in one so i was glad there weren’t too many others there at that time to witness my hamster cheeks chomping through each one.

Next up was a mixed bhaji selection with onion bhajis, that were more bhaji flatties compared to what i’ve become accustomed too but this meant that they were less stodgy and crispy throughout unlike some some i’ve tried at food festivals that were giant balls of bland stodge that i struggled to finish.

There was a tamarid dip to add another punch of flavour to the items. Also on the plate were battered spinach leaves. Single leaves of spinach dipped in batter and fried that meant they kept their shape and had a nice crunch. I like a bit of spinach on my salad but never too keen when it’s added to warm dishes as it can get slimey sometimes but this worked perfectly deep fried in batter. So simple, yet effective.

batata vada at Bwyta Bwyd Bombai Cardiff

The third item on the mixed plate of goodies was the batata vada and it was something else. Creamy mashed potato and herby centre, which was deep fried leaving a luscious soft centre and golden hue crust. I could of eaten a plate of these on their own they were delish!

Indian street food in Cardiff samosa chole Bwyta Bwyd Bombai

You can’t have an indian without a samosa and the samosa chole comes pilled with chickpeas in a mild spiced curry adding an extra hit of protein. I’d attempted to make only my 2nd ever attempt of a curry a few nights before and wanted something with chick peas in instead of carb loading on rice so used some spices from Riverside Market but these were next level flavour compared to my first attempt.

chicken dosa at Bwyta Bwyd Bombai Cardiff

Struggling on I went for a chicken dosa. A light and crispy pancake type eating vessel made from lentils that i’m told is gluten free and vegan (apart from the chicken filling obvs). I was going to cut into manageable pieces but thought i’d embrace the traditional indian etique and just dived straight in with what i was born with. Tearing off golden shards of dosa and dipping in the chutney and medium spiced sauce.

There was also another option similar to the dosa but it used slightly different flour and was told it has a more earthy flavour compared to the dosa ingredients used.

Seeing as I was dinning alone I was getting pretty full now but after some careful deliberating I decided to power on through for a final dish of paneer bhurji. Paneer is an Indian cheese and i’ve used it once before, cutting into cubes, frying to give a nice crip coating before adding to a curry to add something extra to the chicken in the pan.

paneer bhurji in Cardiff

Here it was combined with spices and herbs in shards and presented like you sometimes have with rice and accompanied with a toasted buttered roll.  It seems they had kept the best till last, not that I didn’t enjoy the rest but with each plate I was presented each became my plate of the day in quick succession. The slithers of perfectly seasoned paneer were silky smooth and did look like rice from a distance but were much richer and morish.

Having a 2nd stomach for dessert I obviously had a little room left for a sweet. I asked for a suprise and to my suprise I had two come out on a tray…winning!

One was a bowl with two syrupy balls of Gulab Jamun. I’d had these previusly in Chai Street so already knew they didn’t look like much but were ample in size due to the sweet, sticky stodge. Again I liked the dish but I’d had them warm before and think i prefered them served warm to cold here.

gulab jamun dessert at Bwyta Bwyd Bombai Cardiff

The other dessert I had to work through was a pistachio and milk lolly. I absolutely adore pistachio and the milk worked well to sooth my slightly warmed gums after a baquet of spices and garam masala.

panha - raw mango juice

I also got to try raw mango juice called panha that was a bit oowooo i’m not sure about that but it’s a grower and a few sips in I was converted.

The Verdict

As I mentioned i’ve eated here a few times previously but it was the first time I got to try the street food offerings from the menu and loved that I got to try such a varied never before tasted dishes on the menu.

I used to be a phall or vindaloo type person going for the hottest on the menu but i’ve grown wiser in my years and like a good bit of heat and spice but nowhere near what I used to. Bwyta Bwyd Bombai from what I tried was all expertly seasoned and spiced but they were a mellow heat bordering on mild / medium so you won’t get any nasty suprises if you’re not a fan of spicy food.

I love my visit and as I was dining on my own i’ve been told I need to show Mwsh through the best options on the menu very soon as she was tied up (not literally) at the time.

I’ve seen regular deals for Bwyta Bwyd Bombai on the Wriggle Cardiff app during lunch time if you fancy giving it a try. Don’t forget to use the code AUHPSS to get money off your first order on the app too!

New summer menu launch at Chapel 1877

I was kindly asked to attend the new summer menu launch at Chapel 1877 this week on Churchil Way in Cardiff.

I’d been twice previously for food but on both occassions for the Christmas dinner menu with work two years in a row but I’d not actually dinned from the main menu. I do remember making quite a dent in the cocktail menu on both occasions mind and they were pretty good from what i can remember.

The restaurant is located in yes you guessed it a beautifully restored aunate Chapel with perfect attention to detail everywhere. I love the fact that the upstairs toilets both male and female toilets are located in old confession booths, so there are touches of character all over the place.

I didn’t realise till I attended Tuesday night either that you can get married and hire out the whole venue for weddings, with the ceremony taking place on a raised platform on the 1st floor, with guests taking view from seated areas surrounding the platform. They’ve also got, which was news to me too an underground room available for events and parties too although I didn’t get chance to see it but I had images of tales form the Crypt scenes and would make an awesome halloween party.

Tequila cocktail Chapel Cardiff

We got a welcome drink on arrival, some tequila concoction with lemoncello to wet the whistle and was the first time in a while i’d had a tequila on a Tuesday.

The Food

The aim of the new menu was to be fresh, seasonal but light yet filling enough that you could take outside and nibble on in the terrace in the sun with a lusicous cold glass of bubbles.

We had a condensed version to choose a course from each with 3 options for each course but from what I could see they looked like the stars of the show anyway.

I’ve fancied ceviche for ages and very rarely see it on a menu in Cardiff and it reminded me of my one and only occasion I’ve tried it in Miami and it was so fresh, fragrant and zingy with the citrus cured seafood I could of eated mountains of it. However the ceviche option on the menu this time was my arch nemesis Salmon one of only two food stuffs banned from my diet as I’ve tried and failed many times to condition myself to eat. Never the less if you like salmon, which the majority of the rest of the population do then I’d definitely recommend that one.

scallops and grapefruit starter Chapel Cardiff

Top of my list then had to be the scallops. served with grapefruit and fennel this was a welcome change to the standard pancetta, black pudding or proscuitto it gets served with 95% of the time at other restaurants. I wasn’t sure how it was going to work when I first saw the grapefruit but after a good year pairing my Portabello Road Gin with grapefruit twist I think I’ve built up a taste for it and it worked beautifully with the scallops. The fennel was subtle and not overpowering the delicate white meaty morcels and they even had those very chefy caviar balls i’ve seen both perfected and masacred on Masterchef recently.

Welsh lamb main Chapel Cardiff

Mains was a toughie to decide on with the pork dish coming with my fav potato gratin, crispy proscuitto and I’m a succer for a crispy sea bass and salty bed of samphire. In the end I settled for Welsh Lamb with crispy polenta and tapennade. The lamb was cooked to perfection with juicy pink flesh glistening and inviting me in with the sticky and rich sauce working in perfect harmony. I loved the crispy polenta, which added lovely texture to the dish and warm tomatoes and greens adding a good balance to the meaty dish.

I’d have to admit that usually I would of been wishing for a mountain of carbs and potatoes to fill me till i felt like exploding but I think that’s were I’ve been going wrong all these years as I just need to lie down after eating usually but I had just the right amount on my plate. I think it was nice not to have the plate not overcrowded and for those who want to fill up on extra stodge and carbs could easily order a side portion of potatoes, gratin or fries but more me I was just right. Plus I had to leave room for dessert obviously.

Sadly for me and this is nothing i can put blame on The Chapel for but the only two food items I don’t like crept into the menu with salmon on the starter and banana ice cream paired with what is usually one of my favs chocolate and salted caramel. I know i’m a rare bread and everyone else I know likes both of these so I can see both plates being popular with others.
The lemon posset sounded like a strong contender too but I’ve a new found love of creme brulee after being late to the show from only trying it a few weeks back from Wild Fig with their sticky toffee pudding offering at Roath Yard / Streetfood Circus.

Cherry Bakewell Creme Brulee Chapel Cardiff

Here at The Chapel, they went for a bastardised version of the creme brulee by morphing two dessert favourites into one with the cherry bakewell creme brulee with lemon shortbread biscuit to dunk. Crispy shards of hardened, molten sugar crust with silky custardy centre and cherry bombs hidden away within the mix too. It was a strong dessert and with only my 2nd experience of creme brulee I was still suitable impressed. What would of been the cherry on top so to speak for me would of been some boozy Luxardo Marachino Cherries they drop in the bottom of a gin aviation cocktail instead of standard cherries but then that would probably add a few extra quid on top of the price but the dish was good as is, but here’s to dreaming.

The Verdict

The new menu launched on Wednesday 5th July for those interested in sampling what’s on the menu and I saw on my Twitter feed yesterday they are even doing a lunch menu for £5 and i think it was just £2.50 to add a pint or glass of house wine too. I could really fault anything on my plate to be fair and ejoyed my two other visits for the Christmas Dinner menu.

They do a 7 course taster menu that i’ve seen show up on Travelzoo now and then, which I might snap up the next time I see if floating about if this experience is anything to go by.

Details

Address: Churchill Way, Cardiff, CF10 2WF
Tel: 029 2022 2020
Website: www.chapel1877.com

Turtle Bay Restaurant Review Cardiff

Being a lover of independant’s it’s very rare I go to a chain restaurant these days let alone make a repeat visit within 6 months.

The restaurant in question is Turtle Bay, a Carribean themed restaurant located on St Mary Street next door to Kongs. If spice isn’t your thing you might want to skip this place as there are plenty of chilli’s of all varieties especially in the revered Carribean staple Jerk seasoning that pops up on many of the mains and sides with bottles to hand to smother some more onto the plate if you’ve not got enough heat to content with.

Turtle Bay is also a popular retreat for wetting the whistle as they are known for their cocktail happy hours offering 2 for 1 from open till 7pm then 10pm till close.

The Drinks

I’ve popped in for a cocktail a few times of late to take advantage of the 2 for 1 drinks offer. As i’ve got older and after being a recent gin convert I find most cocktails very sweet and remind me of 18-30 holiday in Magaluf compared to the subtle neutral flavours of gin.

There’s a good selection of cocktails in the offer to be had but you do need to choose two of the same. My first choice happened to be a Carribean take on the classic long island iced tea.

Not a bad choice as the cola substitutes the overly sweet mixers of most cocktails and had a decent kick to it compared to some other bars offering 2 for 1. I usually find the 2 for 1 cocktails at most places just means you get the same amount of alcohol just divided into two glasses so really you’re just getting more mixer. So instead of having a double shot in one for say £7 you get two cocktails for £7 but you get a single in each topped up with sickly pre packaged mixers.

After chatting to the barman and telling him we popped over to see what the place was about after being served watered down 2 for 1 cocktails nearby earlier in the evening.

Secret Cocktail Menu

I was glad to hear that they had a secret cocktail list not on the main menu and this happened to include gin martinis.

You get a choice of vodka or gin Martini and also get to choose Tanquery I think it was or Sipsmith, which of course I opted for the more superior Sipsmith option. Unfortunately they didn’t have any olives or lemon rind to hand to make a dirty martini or just a bit of citrus touch as I would normally use. They did have lime but I don’t like lime in my Gin and I couldn’t complain for that price.

Gin Martini at Turtle Bay Cardiff

The measures were spot on with the Martini too with a double helping of Sipsmith Gin, shot of Noily Prat Vermouth. So for around £7 you get two double decent quality gin watered down with fortified wine, what’s not to like but it’s not for the faint hearted. I let a few of my mates sample a sip and all but one winced in horrified fashion to the strength of the drink. I think they just need more practice.

The Food

As we’ve dined her twice i’ll mention the plates ordered on both occasions.

Starters and nibbles

First choice whenever we eat out is calamari or squid in whatever form they specialise in if it’s on the menu. Here they offered crispy chilli squid, which was right up both our street as we both love a bit of heat with the squid.

crispy chilli squid at Turtle Bay Cardiff

Served as described, spicy and crispy in it’s panko breadcrumb crust with a cooling citrus blast from the mango, lime and corriander mayo.

Second visit we fancied a few different bits from the starter menu so opted for the Just Jerked sharing platter . This included pit jerked chicken wings, glazed pork ribs, jerked beef riblets, sweetcorn fritters, spiced popcorn, salad and something i’d been craving since passing a random Carribean hut on the way back from Cardiff Bay Wetlands reserve the weekend before a Jamaican beef patty.

Jerk sharing platter at Turtle Bay Cardiff

This is basically like a Jamaican version of Wahaca in my eyes with each course oozing with flavour with a good punch of heat and spice from every bite, just how I like. I couldn’t fault any of the platter, you can’t go wrong with spicy sticky wings, the meat just fell off the pork ribs with a rich, spicy glaze on the beef ribs. The popcorn didn’t really do much for me mind and was just there to fill the try a bit I think.

Mains

First visit we ordered the pork ribs with sweet potato fries. Decent sized tender ribs with a slight spice, topped with chutney paired with something i’ve failed to ever create at home a really nice crispy sweet potato fry topped with cheese and spicy jerk sauce.

Jerk ribs with sweet potato fries at Turtle Bay Cardiff

We both loved the goat curry so much we opted to have another plate on the second visit. Slowly braised and very tender morsels of goat in a thick, spicy curry served with coconut rice and peas, chutney and a portion of dumplings. The rice made a lovely change with it’s subtle fragrance compared to somewhat bland offering of plain white rice at some restaurants.

 

Fancying a one pot wonder too my eyes hovered over the Bajan beef cheeks. The menu read “Six hour slowly simmered beef cheeks marinated in Caribbean spice, okra, potato, garlic, ginger, star anise, cinnamon, coriander & toasted coconut.” I mean come on, how could you turn your nose up to that?

Again I’ve not had a piece of meat that wasn’t tender and disintegrating on contact with my tongue at Turtle Bay yet and this was still the case here. A good bit of heat yet nothing too crazy warmed my sinuses with a little trickle of a runny nose is always a good sign in my eyes. The plate also came with steamed rice and roti flatbread to aid my favourite past time…making a sandwich out of absolutely anything on my plate.

 

Verdict

I would definitely recommend Turtle Bay for food and a cocktail if you’re going for the Gin Martini on the secret cocktail menu although it’s a shame they don’t have any olives or lemon to garnish it.

All the food i’ve tried so far was packed full of flavour and just the right amount of spice for me anyway. The vibe is very relaxed and always see big groups of people for what must be birthday’s and work outings in town. The bartenders are all very friendly and happy to help you pick a drink or food item. I don’t actually think i’ve ever seen bartenders so happy behind the bar anywhere like there saying that.

Starters are around £5 and mains from about £10 coupled with some 2 for 1 cocktails it’s a recipe for a good night with friends, family or work colleagues for an informal shindig.

I’m ashamed to say i’ve been there for food twice and still not tried the dessert so sadly I can’t comment but I might just have a side of dessert with my next cocktail visit to see if i’ve been missing out.

Curado Bar Tapas and Pintxos Restaurant Review in Cardiff

Popular Narberth and Aberystwyth Deli Ultracomedia’s Cardiff venue launched late last year after taking over the old Burger King building on the corner of Westgate Street and breaking from tradition they’ve rebranded the restaurant and deli Curado. Don’t worry they’ve had a refurb with exposed brick in white, new bar with seating around it and a deli set up in the corner to buy all the ingredients on the menu at the tapas and pintxos style restaurant.

I’d popped in to sample some of the plates during the Christmas holiday’s and then a few days later after being suitably impressed for a low key NYE nibble and beer sampling before midnight.

I’ve called in for the glass of vino and beer since then but not taken another stab at finishing off where I had left off on the food menu until yesterday so I thought I’d grace the visit with a blog post and review seeing that it’s my 3rd visit. I was also spurned on by the offer of two De La Cocina plates for £6.95 with Wriggle and seeing that it was two of us we got 4 for £13.90 up to the value of £26.

The Drinks

There are 3 beers on tap at Curado. They have their own brew, sea water based El Baroque and sherry barrel aged Torro that come in a choice of 3 glass sizes along with a selection of Spanish beers in bottle too. I’ve tried all three in previous visits and taken a bottle of Torro home to enjoy at my own leisure. All three were more than palatable but I’d not sampled any of the bottled options on the menu.

Curado have an extensive list of wines by the region although I found the menu somewhat confusing as they are categorised by region and not by wine type so you get white, red and rose all mixed up within each wine region. The person serving behind the bar has always been more than helpful choosing a good wine though and offering samples of each to find the perfect match to your preference.

Spanish Gin at Curado Cardiff

On to the Gin’s. Last but not least and seeing that a lot of the produce is imported from the Galician region of Spain I was delighted to see they stock mine and Mwsh’s favourite gin, the white grape based Nordes, which takes centre stage on the wine shelf at home.

There’s no Gordon’s here thank God and there are a few other Spanish Gin’s I’d not laid eyes on previously. The manager kindly gave us a small sample of some of the other Gin’s in the collection after frequenting the venue regularly since opening.

The Food

The food menu at Curado is split out into different sections. You have the bit’s to pick at, tinned stuff, from the deli, from the kitchen then pintxos with either meat, fish or veggies. Oh and a nice little selection of desserts.

Para Picar / bits to pick at

What i’d call beer snacks on the Para Picar section translated at bits to pick at. This featured olives, bread and oils, salami sticks and Iberian pork scratchings.

 

From this I tried a generous portion pork scratchings priced at £4 on a previous visit and as the menu suggests they pair very well with a Torro beer.

We’ve had the Spanish bread with oil and garlic mayonnaise 3 times now because who doesn’t love bread, olive oil and vinegar with an added bonus of the mother of all garlic mayonnaise to dunk in. I’m sure the two previous occasions it came warm and freshly baked in a small loaf but Sunday it came cold and was disected from a large circular loaf I noticed behind the counter when I came into the restaurant. Still good but nothing beats a freshly baked bread.

From the deli

From this section I’ve tried the octopus in onion, peppers and vinegar. A bit like a seafood salsa, this was enjoyable but with strong pungeunt flavours from the onion and tartness of the vinegar against the somewhat mild flavoured octopus, it was hard to make the favour of the octopus from the rest of the dish. Also from the deli I’ve tried the White Pig. Shavings of Iberico pork arranged in army formation on my plate. Teamed with the pork scratchings they give a double hit of porky fatty lusciousness.

From the kitchen

My favourite part of the menu and where I’ve been working my way through on my 3 visits to the Cardiff tapas bar.

Most of the rest of the menu is pre-prepared, sliced or emptied from a tin cold but the kitchen is where it’s at with it being freshly cooked to order.

Tatas bravas always sound more appealing that what you are presented with whenever I order them. Perhapds it’s just my expectations of little crispy potato nuggets like nanny Carole’s charred and crunchy roast potatos she piles high on my Sunday Roast but what I always get is small unseasoned, anaemic chunks of potato.

These were cooked a little better but I’ve never had a really good, crispy, fatty potato in my tatas bravas. Maybe the potato should be boiled a bit and fluffed up before frying but I’m still on the quest for the perfect tatas bravas. The alioli does try to make amends with strong garlic punch in the face.

Onto mine and Mwsh’s favourite dish the Champinones al ajillo or the garlic mushrooms in cream and sherry on toast for those not conversant in Spanish (like myself). These are unlike any garlic mushrooms you’ve ever tried, trust me i’ve had a few. The addition of sherry to the mix turns your average garlic muckroom on steroids. You might want to order an extra loaf of bread just clean the plate of any remnants of the creamy sauce.

Next up are the Gambas al ajillo / 4 Atlantic red prawns cooked in garlic butter. Priced at £6 in my eyes these were no less juicy or smaller that the £16 one I’d ordered in Asador a month earlier and you get 4 of the buggers for £10 less.

octopus potato and paprika at Curado Cardiff

The sliced octopus on warm potatoes with oil and paprika was probably both our least favourite dish we’ve ordered there. It was all just a little too bland for our liking, apart from a sprinkle of paprika on the potatoes there was no seasoning whatsoever so we had to douse them in salt and pepper but even then there wasn’t much to write home about with the octopus, which again seemed very bland in comparison to some of the other dishes we’ve sampled there.

If there’s ever squid or calamari on a menu we can’t not order a portion to nibble on wherever we are and we did try the chipirones NYE, which I found to be fine but Mwsh thought they were overly salty and a bit chewy so we skipped them this time on Sunday.

We’d tried the adobo marinated school shark deep fried with lemon previously and opted for them again Sunday as I enjoyed them back in December. They delivered again on Sunday, slightly spiced and fried yet tender and flakey meat doused in lemon juice they married well with the vino blanco we were sipping. It didn’t come with it but we had some garlic mayo left from the bread and this went perfectly with the white fish so you might want to try asking for a portion with yours or they should consider adding a pot with the dish as it was a lovely addition.

We didn’t opt for it Sunday but I did try the garlic and thyme marinated iberico pork, pan fried with lemon and allioli and basque peppers previously. A nice meaty dish after trying mostly fish dishes and very generous on the portions compared to the portion sizes of some other local tapas bars.

Although we never ordered it and it’s something for the next visit but someone sitting behind us had the strong goey ewe’s cheese baked in a pot fondue style and served like camembert with crusty bread and jamon butter and it looked devine. At £17 I thought it was a little steep compared to the reasonable pricing on the other dishes although it did look twice the size of a serving of camembert but the amount of bread it came with could of been a bit more generous. Brings me back to my constant frustration of having a council brick slab of pate and one triangle of bread to spread onto. This was confirmed when the dinners had to order an additional portion of bread to mop up the cheesy bowl of heaven.

I didn’t realise they also did Chuleton or dray aged 4 year old Galician beef a la Asador although Asador’s is 8 year old and dry aged for at least 40 days as oposed to 21 days here at Curado. The price did reflect this though coming in at £55 per kilo compared to Asador priced at £85 but I’m not sure how the breed compares as Asador use Galician Blond.

Pintxos

Most people have probably heard of tapas but I’d only heard of Pintxos as I build a website a few years back for a spanish chef who caters for paella and pintxos at food festivals. Pintxos is basically little bit sized pieces of food speared through a piece of bread. This could be peppers, olives, cheese, fish or cured meat.

pintxos at Curado Cardiff

Priced between £2 or £3 per piece, hese are handy if you just fancy a light snack and not a full on assault on the belly with a spanish feast. We tried the air dried beef and the anchiovy, boqueron and piquillo pepper with salsa verde pinxtos on a previous visit, which we both enjoyed but we had ordered enough bread and stodge this time already so we skipped this section.

Desserts

If you asked me to name a traditional Spanish dessert I’d probably be there for a few days thinking to be honest but what I’ve sampled at Curado so far have all been on point.

ice cream and sherry dessert at Curado Cardiff

 

A Spanish take on the Afogato with vanilla ice cream drowned in alcohol namely sherry in this instance but without the hit of coffee. Sweet sherry paired with creamy vanilla ice cream, so simple yet it does the job perfectly.

We had the good fortune of tasting the Gacilian baked cheesecake last time we were there and we were hooked. Never tried crack myself but i’m guessing it’s similar to my constant urge to drag myself into Curado every day i pass from work for my next fix of the mystifyingly addictive curdled like cream laden stodge. The first bite is very odd i’ll admit but stick with it kid because it will soon have you stabbing your fork in for another mouthfull.

Just because I always love the thought of churros until I see the plastic like chocolate gunk some food festival stalls attempt to pass off as chocolate sauce to dunk the cinnamon and sugar crusted dough sticks in I thought I’d take a punt this time seeing that they know a thing or two about them in Spain.

The churros came bundled into a mug, 3 ribbons of crispy doughnut caked in sugar. I like my sweet stuff but I had to give them a few bashes against the plate to get a lot of the sugar off as I would of turned diabetic after finishing them.

They were served with a little glass filled with faintly sweetened real chocolate sauce. This was a welcome decision seeing that the churros covered in so much sugar and didn’t really need anymore sweetness.

As I’d shared half the baked cheesecake with Mwsh, sadly I had to share my plate of churros and chocolate as I would of easily wolfed the lot down myself.

The Verdict

I’d highly recommend Curado as it’s my interpretation of the most authentic tapas bar in Cardiff and surrounding South Wales. Unpretentious, the menu serves exactly what I’d expect in a rural tapas / pintxos cafe in Spain. The prices are very reasonable for food there and you won’t go home feeling hungry even with even a small few plates between you.

If it’s your first visit I’d try and pick one or two dishes for each section just to have a true tapas experience but remember, you just must order the garlic mushrooms it’s the rules!

Prices are reasonable anyway but they do have some regular deals on Wriggle at lunchtime midweek for Cardiff workers like the one advertised on Tuesday 16th May with any 3 basque Pintxos for £4.95 instead of £9 or the one we took advantage of yesterday any two De La Cocina dishes up to £13 for just £6.95.

Find out more about Wriggle Cardiff discounts and also get money off your first order with the discount code AUHPSS when you add it to your account under refer a friend > Redeem Code.

Pettigrew Tea Rooms Review – Cardiff Castle

Pettigrew Bakery at Riverside Market

I’m a big fan of Pettigrew from first discovering them at Riverside Market on a Sunday with their arsenal of savoury and sugary goodies, tempting passing market visitors with generous helpings of tasters to hand. I think it’s fair to say i’ve gone through the whole menu at least once with the gargantuan Welsh Rarebit pasties, bombay bombs, goey brownies and the crisp and fluffy bread on offer, who could walk past empty handed.

After following on Instaweb I quickly learned they’ve not only got a fully fledged bakery up near Victoria park but they’ve also comandeered gatehouse lodge within the castle grounds offering afternoon teas, cake and an array of speciality teas at the Pettigrew Tea Rooms.

Pettigrew Tea Rooms Tea and Cake

Well it’s been nearly a year now and I still hadn’t popped into the Pettigrew Tea Rooms to see what’s on offer even though i’ve jumped ship from Newport and now working not even 100 yards up the road. I wasn’t quite sure whether they did take aways like pasties or breakfasts and did poke my head in once on a Friday morning requiring some much needed stodge or grease on the way to work after a few beers the night before but still was none the wiser.

Then last week Mwsh was finished for the day in work early so decided to walk half way to meet me but accidently fell into Pettigrew Tea Rooms on the way. Feeling left out, I clocked off to head over before they shut shop to see what was on offer.

Seeing as they were closing soon I didn’t want to be like that guy who orders 3 pints for themselves at stop tap and sitting there for 2 hours whilst everyone cleaned around him, clock watching as their waiting for their train home so just bought a cake from the treasure chest of delights next to the till. After some deliberating I opted for the coconut and passionfruit. A nice healthy slab of crumbly, tropical stodge. I begrunginly offered a meagre corner for Mwsh to try and we were both suitably impressed. She’d devoured one before I arrived so sadly didn’t get to try that one but I was more than happy with my choice. Would of gone nice with a cuppa but my own fault for arriving so close to closing although I’m sure they would of accomodated had I asked.

The Pettigrew Tea House Breakfast

After sussing the place out and having a sneaky peak of the menu I fancied trying some food there to see how they compare against the awesome selection of baked goodies from the bakery. I’d seen Wriggle starting to advertise breakfasts at Pettigrew a few weeks back but they were starting at 9am to 11.30am but I was usually in work by 9 so that didn’t work until I saw one on a Saturday that Mwsh happened to have off work too so I snapped the deal up for £5.50 each for a full Welsh breakfast instead of £8.50.

Unbeknown to me it was the Flower Show in the castle grounds that morning after getting into a conversation with Pettigrew on social media and they said to try and get there early but being a Saturday that was never going to happen. Anyway we got an Uber as we were running fashionably late to reach Pettigrew within the Wriggle time slot and it was like a sale in Marks and Spencer on a Sunday, oldies everywhere heading to the flower show and we had to weave in an out of the almost stationary human traffic. We managed to bring the sun with us from Italy as it had been sunny for a good week since coming home and they had laid out all the tables and chairs they could muster outside. Breakfast in the sun sounded awesome but to our dissapointment breakfast was only served inside it was just teas, ice creams and the baked goods from the bakery table parked up outside.

Luckily we got a table straight away inside after panicking we would be qeueuing down the street till gone midday and missing the breakfast as I was absolutely starving. I didn’t even need to see the menu a full welsh it was with a pot of English breakfast to help that breakfast vacate my eager fork.

Food wasn’t long at all and it’s not very often I get excited by a sausage but it was hell of a banger! Accompanying the meaty sausaaage was two eggs of your choice, I went poached as I masacre them whenever I try them at home and getting a bit sick of my egg griddle in the morning. Homemade beans, lavabread savoury scone or you could of gone with thick cut toast, 2 quality rashers of bacon, a generous helping of mushrooms and grilled cherry tomatoes. Buried underneath the mound of fried heaven on a plate was two rounds of black pudding.

The sausage tasted delicious, it was a proper farmhouse number, good proportion of meat to herbs and it probably would of been a struggle with two i’ll be honest. I liked the savoury scone although I wouldn’t of minded having a couple of pieces of toast just to make a sandwich with my bacon and egg. They had toast on the menu but came with jams and presserves and I wasn’t forking out £2.40 for them considering the whole thing cost £5.50.

Homemade beans were ok, eggs cooked perfectly with yellow york oozing all over my plate on contact with my fork. Being a bacon snob I always inspect any bacon from somewhere new with hawklike precision and this was of excellent quality. None of that shrivelled, laser cut tracing paper garbage here. This is only being picky and was the only thing we could both pick up on from the breakfast as it was an absolute treat of a plate and that was the casing was still left on both our black pudding. I was ok because Mwsh told me but it was a good job she noticed it in her mouth before swallowing.

I’d never cooked black pudding myself as I’m a recent convert but to the bloodied breakfast staple but I did make the same mistake cooking up some white pudding I’d picked up from Riverside a few weeks back and was wondering how the little disks were imploding on themselves.

All in all it was a very good breakfast and a good brew of loose leaf. I’d recommend and will no doubt be back for a 2nd visit in the near future.

They don’t always have the bakery table outside with pasties and other goodies from the Pettigrew Bakery I think it was just there to monetise from the increase passing traffic from the flower show but on speaking to them on Twitter on Friday evening they were more than happy to bring whatever I wanted down to the Tea Rooms for me to pick up during the day with the fresh delivery of bread so give them a bell on social media if you can’t wait till Riverside on a Sunday and don’t fancy a trek to Victoria Park.

Asador 44 Restaurant Review Cardiff

We’ve been busting to try Owen from Bar 44’s new venture Asador 44 since following their instagram account since November 2016 although they only opened it’s doors about a month ago. It’s been a busy month of late so we set the date of sampling some old cow for my birthday last Friday.

Asador the name comes from the method of cooking the meat BBQ style over charcoal. This can been over a mound of charcoal on the floor with half a carcas speared and scortched over the white embers as they do in Argentina or with modern methods of a metal Parilla Asador BBQ grill championed first in Wales by the girls down at Hangfire Southern Kitchen in Barry.

Parilla grill at Asador 44 Cardiff

With my inner caveman constantly wanting to break out inside eating mammoth slabs of meat cooked on open fires this was right up my street as Asador promised to lead the way in ethical meat production by using retired dairy cows that had time to enjoy life to the max, grazing on pastures and doig lots of chills to a grand old age of 9 years instead of the average age of 3 years that British beef is usually slaughtered after the BSE scare.

They also promised to bring us the Holy Grail of Beef, 10 year old “Galician Blond” or Rubia Gallega Chuleton from Northern Spain. This beef can be reared up to 17 years and some restaurants age it for up to 300 days making it much like an aged cheese but here at Asador they age theirs 45 days for a more mellow flavour.

Cheese cave at Asador 44 Cardiff

The place not only dry ages the steak in house they even have their own cheese cave.

 

The Food

I’d studied the menu for some time having seen other diners upload images of gigantic ribs of beef on Instagram over the past few weeks and was torn between the the Lomo Bajo, the 9 year old ex dairy cow or the Prized Rubia Gallega. The reason for not just going for the best steak on the menu was ultimately the price difference with the ex dairy costing £49 and the Rubia Gallega £8.50 per 100g of weight and seeing that the minumum weights were around 900g that was £76 for a single steak! Ok they were sharing plates but still that was pretty steep for a steak.

Bread and jamon butter at Asador 44 Cardiff

We or I decided we were just going to opt for some bread with jamon butter at £3 to nibble on whilst we decided the rest. The plate had two thick cut doorstop bread slices that had been lightly scortched giving a slight char to the dough and swirls of jamon butter to dollop in. I loved the smokey chared addition and the jamon butter was silky smooth unlike your standard continental breakfast where the butter has usually been put in the freezer just so the waitresses can laugh at your sorry attempt to butter your bread for breakfast and leaving decimated clumps of bread in your hands.

Cured belly pork and crispy pigs head starter at Asador 44 Cardiff

As I was hoping to go big on the steak for main it was just the one starter to share and that was the cured duroc belly pork, crispy pigs head and apple at £8. I was a bit dissapointed with this as I love a bit of belly pork and was hoping for something a bit more meaty. The cured belly pork was cut wafer thin and for me didn’t actually bring much to the table as it was a bit bland for me. The breadcrumbed crispy pigs head however did add a punch of much needed flavour to the dish and accompanying apple sauce gave a nice sweetness to the dish.

Seeing as prawns on offer are revered as the finest red prawn in the world according to the menu and it was my birthday I thought I’d splash out and see what the fuss was about. At £16 a pop for a single prawn I was expecting a whopper on my plate. After being bullied into downing a shot of Wray & Nephew at Mythos Greek restaurant in Chepstow by the guy behind the bar as a birthday “Gift” and the lions share of a bottle of pinot I was in high spirits and bit the bullet on the mains, opting for the Rubia Gallega and 940g of the stuff at £80.

Rubia Gallega and Carabinero prawn at Asador 44 Cardiff

The mains arrived and I was pretty impressed with the plate of severed ruby red, meaty portions cut from the bone and presented on a platter and the waitress kindly advised on the optimal method of eating the prawn. For £16 I wasn’t all that blown away by the size of the prawn and after removing the head, carefully decanting the juices into a bowl and unfolding the shell away from the body there really wasn’t that much meat left. The wholesale price for these prawns though are eyewatering, which reflects in the the higher price here.

I dipped the flesh into the rescued juices, had one bite and it was half gone. I couldn’t go it alone and I certainly wasn’t going to stump up that much for a prawn again so gave the other half to Mwsh so two bites and that was it. It tasted good and never used the juices to baste the flesh before eating before so that was a new one on me but considering you can get half a lobster for the same price in some restaurants I wasn’t overfly impressed and would pick lobster over it drenched in thermidor sauce any day.

The centre piece was next to delve into, the creme de la creme of steak lay before me ready to be gorged with my bare hands. It was unlike any steak I’d laid eyes on in terms of sheer size and colour. The living age and the post slaughter aging process had built a deep ruby like colour. Ready cut into manageble pieces of meat I was expecting to have to gnaw at it to chew and swallow but it just disolved on contact with my tongue. The same for the fat too I’d never experienced beef fat that just melted away in the warmth of my mouth it was quite sureal as the fat on steak is usually tough and chewy.

Rubia Gallega Steak, bean and saffron puree, fries with rioja and bone marrow sauce at Asador 44 Cardiff
With the giant steak option you got 2 sides of your choice, which we opted for the Asador fries because you simply can’t have steak without chips and we also went for the white bean, safron and roast garlic puree.

Portion wise I was a little dissapointed with the fries. When you’re paying £80 for a steak and it’s to share with someone else I’m expecting a generous bowl of fries to go with it. After grabing half a handfull and scattering on my plate there wasn’t even half a bowl left for Mwsh. I’d also bought a wheelbarrow full of real chip shop chips in Chepstow earlier in the day for £1.80 that could of fed a family of 4 in comparison. Having said that the small bowl of real fries were very good. None of that plastic fantastic pre cut and pre cooked rubbish here, I just could of done with a double portion size to what we got.

On to the white bean, safron and roast garlic puree. It didn’t really know how to take this i’ll be honest. The first dip of my chip was quite pleasant but with the dissapointing portion of fries I was quickly left with just a fork as a vessel to consume the puree, which became rather sickly and unpalatable. The bean puree I think would be great as a snack with some of the bread or flatbread to dip but as a side dish it just felt out of place and awkward to eat without some form of carb to give it substance.

One other thing I was a bit annoyed at with the steak was you didn’t even get one sauce to go with it included in the price. Ok I know they are only £3 each and if you were paying £10 for a steak at Harvester you would probably expect to pay a little bit extra for a sauce as it isn’t exactly bank shattering to start with but when you are paying £80 I would expect one sauce at least.

I wanted the Rioja and bone marrow sauce but Mwsh wasn’t sure on the bone marrow so went for the safe option of Torres brandy peppercorn so on top of £80 for the steak we had to pay £6 for a sauce to go with it. Ok I know it was my option to go for that steak and there were a lot cheaper options but when I’m paying tripple what I would normally spend on a steak a sauce to go with it in the price isn’t asking a lot in my eyes.

Both sauces were good although I did prefer the Rioja and bone marrow as it had a richer flavour and probably because I’d peppercorn sauced my steaks to death over the years but it was a good peppercorn none the less if you are thinking of going for that.

rice pudding and fig dessert at Asador 44 Cardiff

For dessert I went for the Arroz con leche, which is Spanish rice pudding croquetas, poached fig and green apple. I misread the menu and was expecting a bowl of rich creamy rice pudding and with my favourite fruit at the moment figs but as the menu clearly states they were croquetas. Breadcrumbed and fried balls of rice pudding with the soft poached figs and similar apple sauce to the starter. They were enjoyable but not what I was expecting although that was my fault for not reading the menu properly.

chocolate with cherry sorbet at Asador 44 Cardiff

Mwsh opted for the chocolate, hazlenut, olive oil, vanilla salt and cherry sorbet. This was delicious and my favourite of the two desserts and brought a refreshing end to a meaty meal. Both Desserts cost £7 or you could of gone with a cheese board with 3 for £7, 5 for £12 or 7 cheeses for £17.

cheese menu Asador 44 Cardiff

Drinks prices are quite reasonable with Mwsh option for a carafe of house white for under £10 and mine was a carafe of Garnacha Tinorera red was £16.50. They have over 100 wines to choose from with a good selection by glass or carafe if you don’t fancy the whole bottle. There was a nice selection of Gin’s I’d not heard of but didn’t get the chance to sample but I’m guessing they were all sourced from Spain.

The Verdict

Bread was good, an ok starter and wasn’t blow away by the best prawn in the world. It’s a prawn and cooked in the shell so there’s not much you can do there and not knocking the quality I was just expecting something a bit bigger although the price does reflect wholesale price that go for at least £70 per kilo, which I wasn’t aware at the time.

This was a fine steak and was the crowning plate of the meal. It was an epic, the best I’ve had in Cardiff to be fair and perfect for a celebration as it really does wow on delivery to the table.

Having said that it is more for the purist steak lover as it’s all about the meat here and for me it’s a tick the box kind of dish. You have to try it to say you’ve tried it and it was unlike any steak I’ve eaten before with it melting in the mouth on contact with my tongue, fat and all but it wouldn’t be something i’d probably order again becuase I’m not much of a steak person when eating out. I’m more of a game person or something with big bold flavours but with Rubia Gallega you can’t throw anything too complex into the dish as it takes away from the centre stage, which is the meat.

I’ll without doubt be back to Asador but I’ll probably go for something a bit normal next time like the suckling pigs leg or the lamb sounded luscious. I wouldn’t recommend the £16 prawn as for me it didn’t warrant the hefty price and now i’ve tried it I won’t be going Rubia Gallera again but I would give it a go if you haven’t tried it before and was glad I’d given it a go.

Portion size of the chips need to be increased if you ask me or one each of the current ones seeing as it’s a sharing plate. Maybe I would of been able to finish the bean puree if i’d had some chips to mop it up with but as it stands with a handful of chips I struggled eating my share of the dish with just my fork.

I think they should include one sauce into the price of the rare breed old cow fair enough charging for it with the smaller Picanha but for £80 I would expect at least one sauce thrown in out of principle. I think flavourwise though the sauces were spot on.

Desserts were good too and had no issues there on both options I tried.

Service was excellent as always and what I’ve come to expect from the team behind bar 44. They must have some of the best training in town in regards to product knowledge and you can’t beat someone actually having tasted everything on the menu and being able to pronounce it and background knowledge behind everything unlike someone on their first shift who has absolutely no idea about anything on the menu or what drink they have on draught.

I’m probably going to try the lunchtime deal some time soon for £10, which includes:

  • 40 day dry aged rump cap with fries and salad
  • Charcoal market fish of the day
  • Charcoal squash, chard, beetroot, goats curd, hazlenut
  • Mackerel, endive, charcoal mayonnaise, capers and asador fries.

The lunch deal is available Wednesday – Friday, 12 – 3pm

They also have a children’s menu available for lunch too, which includes:

Welsh beef picanha steak, asador fries
or
Market fish goujons and asador fries

Both priced at £6

Porro Restaurant Review Llandaff, Cardiff

Porro has been on my radar for a while now since I heard about the launch of the Wellfield Road addition and no more since my return from Italy last week. I’ve never been one for pasta to be honest but probably because I’ve only ever really had it at home and when your mum has been known to burn it on the hob, yes a good few inches of pasta scorched and crusted on the bottom isn’t something too unfamiliar in my household. Well it sort of scars you for life.

From having nightmares of charcoal like embers of pasta clinging to sauce pans in my nightmares growing up, opting to go for an Italian when I fancy dinning out has never been at the forefront of my picklist to be fair so fresh silky smooth, buttery pasta ribbons haven’t entertained my insatiable dustbin lips all that often.

My 3 day trip to Italy changes all my perceptions of pasta. I don’t know how they could marry 2 or 3 ingredients, sandwiched between parcels of egg and flour to create such a desire to wipe devour all contents of the plate then place said empty plate to my face and lick every last drizzle of butter oil.

The porcinni mushroom, ricotta, sage and butter Ravioli at the Cantina de Spade in Venice just blew my mind. So simple yet it left myself and Mwsh speachless (well her for a whole 3 seconds, which is unheard of).

Anyway, still suffering from the holiday blues and still in Italy mode I wanted to see how one of the most popular Italian’s in Cardiff faired up against the real thing. With the weather being like it has been this week, I’ve lost all motivation to cook so a quick browse on the Wriggle App and Porro in Llandaff were offering any 2 pizza or pasta dishes for £15 a cool 50% discount last night. That will do nicely I thought and got on the buzzer to Mwsh, just to make sure she hadn’t got anything booked on and luckily she hadn’t.

The Venue

Porro Italian Restaurant Llandaff, Cardiff

I won’t bore you too much with the details. We didn’t book and just turned up as it was a Wednesday and not as busy as I assume the weekend would be. We managed to park outside as there is space for disabled cars but as it was 7pm it was quite dead so was naughty and parked up. There’s some parking around the corner by the Cathedral though if you’re visitng on the weekend.

We arrived and were a bit suprised how quite it was, just two dinners in there at the time but that was a bit of a relief as we just fancied a bit of down time and a relaxed meal without shouting at each other to hear over a jam packed restaurant. This also meant we had pick of a table and not some crooked and wonky child table next to the coat hangers you sometimes get in places when they are pushed for tables.

I liked the decor, a more modern approach to that we had become accustomed to in Italy last week with the small traditional Taverna’s who probably hadn’t had a lick of paint since the war. Good lighting, spacious with nice brickwork and large front window view if you fancy having a nose out onto the high street if it’s busy.

The Food

As we had bought a deal on Wriggle our mains were a bit limited but to compare what we had consumed in Venice and Rome we had to do one of each so opted for one pizza, the speck, artchoke, mozzarella, rocket and chilli then one pasta dish with pappardelle with braised ox cheek, tomato and parmesan.

speck,-buffalo-and-chilli-pizza

It would be hard to beat the mixed platter of Pizza from Pizza Zizza opposite St Peter’s Basillica in the Vatican, Rome. Well we did have about 8 different flavours but they were such magnificent pieces of cheesy goodness. The pizza at Porro was good but it was nothing special in all honesty. I think the rocket overpowered everything else as there was so much, wasn’t too spicy but just didn’t fill me with much love as something laden in cheese should do. I can’t knock the ingredients as they were all no doubt of the highest quality I just wasn’t bowled over by the pizza.

ox cheek pappardelle pasta at Porro Llandaff

The braised ox cheek pappardelle on the other hand was simply divine. Silky ribbons of fresh pasta, clinging on for dear life were chunks of tender and rich ox cheek waiting to be slurped up into my eager mouth. I’ll be honest, I was gutted we said we’d do a sharsies and halve half each of both courses because I just wanted to demolish every last morsel myself.

white truffle fries at Porro Llandaff

The unlikely star of the show on the mains though was the bowl of chunky chips, lathered in elegantly perfumed white truffle oil. I’d had posh fries with truffle oil and parmesan a few times, tried it myself once too but these were something else. I’d probably had a cheap black truffle chemical shit storm in the past but this was so light with delicate truffly aroma. The best £3.75 i’ve ever spent.

Being against my religion to just order one course each when dinning out we opted to go for a starter each and pay the difference with them all ranging between £7 and £8 we chose the tortellini with garlic, sage and parmesan as it sounded similar to the raviolli dish in Venice and the braised leeks, talleggio on sourdough.

garlic, sage and parmesan tortellini at Porro Llandaff

Again we decided to do halfsies on both plates so we only really had a little bit of each one but no complaints on either course. The tortellini was quite small for the price, not sure I was still in European prices were we got a whole plate of quality pasta for 11 euros but £7 for 2 tortellini pieces cut in half was a bit mean but the flavour was on par with our Venice raviolli. Sage, pasta and oil/butter is such a good compbo although the porcini and ricotta pairing added extra creaminess and umami kick.

braised leek and taleggio on sourdough toast at Porro Llandaff

The braised leek and tolleggio was decent in portion size, you definetely got your leeks worth with this one although a bit less generous with the talleggio cheese. Luckily for me I had a little nugget of the stuff on my half but Mwsh had to try and stab a goey morsel from my plate before I’d consumed it as she didn’t get much on her bit of bread.

We both had a glass of the Sauv Blanc, which was a perfect match for the starters. we even enquired about the bottle and took a snap to try and find it for the house. At £7.50 for a large, it’s not the lightest on your wallet but then it was a corker. We didn’t go for the house wine though so there were more reasonably priced wines to choose from.

We would of both gone for a dessert had we not gorged on cake from Pettigrew straight after work so can’t comment on them unfortunately.

The Verdict

I’ve not heard a bad word said about Porro from anyone and did enjoy our meal there. It was an off the cuff thing and as we had a deal from Wriggle we were stuck with the pasta and pizza option althought the braised ox cheek papadelle would be on my hit list again.

Next time around I wouldn’t mind sampling the grill or meat menu, once I’ve fell off my pasta and carb fest I’m currently stuck in. I’d have no qualms in recommending the place although I’d opt for a pasta dish as they didnt’ dissapoint or try a meat dish. The pizza was ok but just that. Had I not sampled some of the best pizza in my 31 years of existance in Rome last week it might of been a different story but the bar has been set high from there.

The bill came to £31 for the two starters, two wines and truffle fries plus the £15 Wriggle deal for the mains so £46. The real price would of been £61 had we not used the wriggle deal.

Although they aren’t on every night I have seen Porro discount crop up a couple of times of the past few weeks on Wriggle so keep an eye out on the App / website and rememebr to use the code AUHPSS in refer a friend, redeem code on the app to get a further discount off your first order.

Meat at 156 Burger Bar Review in Cardiff

So we were invited to the launch of Cardiff’s latest arrival on the ever expanding burger scene recently on 156 City Road aptly named Meat at 156.

The burger joint is an independant set up by three friends and look like they are pitching at a hole in the market for good, no frills affordable grub just outside the city centre.

The food

Myself and Mwsh were joined by a whose who on the food blog scene in Cardiff to sample some of the menu items on offer. We saw the menu but they were just going to rustle up a few different items so we could have a nibble on a variety of different options between us rather than picking one item each off the menu.

I was suprised by the entry level prices of the burgers and were a lot more accomodating those looking to grab a bite to eat on a budget and was definitely family friendly compared to some of the well known burger places in town at the moment. Prices started around £6 for the Classic consisting of beer burger topped with american cheese and may to the Volcano at £6.95 consisting of beef patty cored with melted cheese and jalapeno.

Also on offer were a selection of steaks with a rump at £9.95 and a 14oz T-Bone setting you back £17.95 with all coming with a choice of sauces from the spicy one, shrooms, cracked pepper and garlic infusion.

southern cruncher burger

We got to share the Southern Crunch Burger containing beef patty topped with fried jalapenos and onion strings in a crispy southern coating with house fries. As it was a pre launch and didn’t get to choose the burgers were just being brought out to sample so wasn’t asked how we wanted it cooked and was a bit on the well done for my liking. I enjoyed the toppings that gave a nice crunch and texture with a little heat from the jalapenos but was missing a bit of moisture especially as it came with no sauce. A minute or two less on the grill and a dollop of ketchup, bbq sauce or mayo on the bun and it would of been on point. The fries though were lovely. Thin shoestring fries cooked to perfection.

Next up was the Volcano as described above and was the most expensive burger on the menu. This made up for the first burger as it was cooked a little less and retained that much needed beef juices and the molten spicy cheese helped deliver a juicy beefyness to my taste buds. I didn’t find it all that spicy considering the name but you do have the option to spice things up a bit and going mega hot with the chiptole chilli sauce but i’m not sure if ours already had it on as there was some kind of spicy red sauce but not what I would consider hot.

fried jalapeños

Out came a few sides to snack on such as the cajun onion rings and the hot crunch jalapenos we had on top of our first burger along with a small pot of slaw. I’d never tried deep fried jalapenos until now and they went down a treat I have to say and so did the onion rings and slaw which added a well anticipated hit of spicy greasiness I’d hoped for.

This is were most mere mortals would of paid up and been on their way but no, we were being slowly tortured with death by meat! Not that I was complaining as a big plate of ribeye steak and another portion of the freshly fried fries. Can’t beat a fresh batch of oil for fries as most the time in takeaways you don’t know when they’ve changed it from one year to the next and you can definitely taste the difference.

Steak and fries

No way were we expecting the third and final plate of meat but it was greatly received. Nice looking scorch marks on top but not sure if that was just for taking some pics for the social media pages as they didn’t do the moisture levels many flavours when we sampled the meat. The ribeye was an 8oz and although it looked quite big in circumference it wasn’t all that thick so it didn’t need much time on the grill and could of done with just 2 minutes each side but it came well done. Couldn’t complain as they were catering for everyone and we weren’t paying plus if we were paying dinners we would of got a choice of how we wanted it cooked and I have no doubt they would of delivered as requested.

At this point I was considering air ambulance rescue mission to winch me out of my seat just as they came out with a sample of some of the desserts. Luckily they were just bite sized pieces just to try and we cauciously nibbled on a small nugget of brownie topped with a little ice cream. There was a decent moisture content on the brownie and the ice cream was just a frozen ice cream van type ice cream but did the job. There was a bowl of tantalising golden toffee laden sticky toffee pudding doing the rounds but I thought I might of died had I eaten a single more morsel of food.

The Verdict

I think Meat at 156 definitely fills a hole in the market in Cardiff for people looking for a no noncence, unprotencious and affordable burger. They do a meal deal add on so you can top up your burger for £2 and get fries and a soft drink meaning you can get a burger, fries and drink for under £9. For a family of 4 that is much more economical compared to some of the burger making big guns like Got Beef and Time and Beef with a Burger, fries and drink probably costing you £15+ nearly double what Meat at 156 are offering.

Ok the burger concoctions aren’t as boundary pushing as Burger Theory @ Kongs but being alcohol free they appeal more to teenagers and families who don’t want to eat in a pub or bar and can make it much more cost fiendly to dine out in a group or family without having to put up with drunken punters.

I probably wouldn’t drive out of town to go there on an occasion but if I’m hungry and passing or up on City Road i’d consider calling in for a bite to eat rather than fire up the oven when I get in for the price factor.

Nant Restaurant Review – Coleg y Cymoedd Treforest

Having sampled the food on offer at The Classroom back last year after it all kicked off online with Jay Reiner slating the Cardiff food scene I thought I’d compare the offerings from the food college further up the valley and a bit closer to home at Coleg y Cymmoedd’s Nant Restaurant.

I started following the restaurant on Facebook back last year and have often been tempted by the ever changing weekly menu it was just finding a suitable time as they don’t open on the weekend and are usually fully booked unless you ring a couple of weeks beforehand but then you have to take a gamble on the menu.

Anyway we thought we would take a stab at it and hope the weekly menu stood up to our tastes and luckily enough we got in for the St David’s day special menu.

The Nant Restaurant is attached to the Coleg y Cymoedd campus in Treforest, opposite Showcase Cinemas and has it’s own entrance seen from the road heading onto the roundabout for McDonalds, Showcase and Makro.

The restaurant was a bit smaller than I had imagined although there was a big group of about 20 people sat on a long table near the window then id say about 5 tables for two or 4 people dotted around the room.

Being on the ground floor and netting on the window, the views didn’t quite match the top floor panoramic view of Cardiff at the Classroom but you can’t blame the restaurant for that and I was going to leave the food do the talking.

nant restaurant wine and drink menu

The Food

There is a set menu featuring a choice of 3 starters and 3 mains that changes weekly with a meat, fish and veggie option usually featuring on the menu and two desserts with a set price of wait for it…£12.50 for dinner! Yes you heard that right just £12.50 for 3 courses. The drinks prices couldn’t of been far off cost price either as I paid 2.60 for a glass of wine or could of got a whole bottle for under a tenner.

For starters we ordered the salmon fishcakes for Mwsh and the goats cheese and red onion tartlets. Being terrified of the thought of salmon passing my lips I grew some balls and mustered a fork full of the crispy coated fishy nuggets and I was pleasantly surprised. I don’t like salmon in fact in fact I detest the stuff but I gave it a try and the starter was good. Mwsh gave the thumbs up too as it was her choice but we do like to have a try of each others.

Mine was the goats cheese filo tart with a perfectly crisp filo pastry base, filled with a good measure of caramelised onion and golden crusted goats cheese. I am quite partial to a wedge of goats cheese and must of finished off a log to myself this week on toast with fig and chilli honey and this was equally as scrumptious. I think they must of layered a smudging of honey on top of the cheese before baking as it was beautifully golden and slight crisp on top. Expertly presented with doodles of balsamic I believe on the plate both adding decoration and flavour to the creamy, crispy plate of food before me.

We usually opt for two different mains but as the menu was smaller than your average restaurant we didn’t want to go veggie and neither of us fancied the trout so we both opted for braised shoulder of Brecon lamb on braised red cabbage with rosemary jus.

Again both presented to a high standard Mwsh’s was cooked perfectly pink with mine a bit on the well done side. By no means was it burnt and was tender and tasted delicious but it wasn’t as good as Mwsh’s as there was no pink juicy flesh in sight. The jus was scarce in it’s presentation on the plate and could of done with a little pot to add over the veggie bowl accompanied with the meal but what was there tasted excellent.

We couldn’t quite work out what the other round thin disk was on the plate it resembled a sort of nut stuffing and added to the flavour of the healthy chunks of lamb. The veggie bowl comprised of carrots, roasted potato cubes in what I think was paprika, a few green beans (3 to be precise) and neither of us could tell what the other ingredient was as it was very soft, had the texture and colour of potato but think it could of been swede. All cooked to perfection but would of been nice with a bit of extra jus to drown them in.

Thumbs up from both of us for the lamb main and at this point had us planning out next trip and even contemplating a monthly visit for the crazy price. I’ve spent more on a curry and pint in spoons in curry club on a Thursday after I’ve added a few sides to go with it.

Being only two desserts on the menu, the only right thing to do was have one of each to share. Mwsh went for the apple and cinnamon tart with barabrith ice cream and Penderyn Whisky and I opted for the Whisky chocolate fondant with honey cream.

the apple tart had a lovely crisp finish complimented by a spoonful of pure Welshness in my mouth from the barabrith ice cream and Penderyn Whisky and all came together really well. Couldn’t quite taste the Penderyn Whisky myself and wasn’t sure in what form it was on the plate but I only had a sample so could of missed it on my spoon but tasted great non the less.

I’ve been neglecting my old friend recently so it was time to be reacquainted for dessert. My good friend chocolate came in the form of a moist sponge with it’s inner liquid belly oozing out when eagerly stabbing it’s core with my fork waiting to see how well cooked it had been. Top marks on the chocolate fondant with firm exterior and perfect balance of gooey chocolate centre. A milk and white chocolate shard paired with the honey cream to tame the dark chocolatey fondant. Again I couldn’t quite pick up the whisky flavour in the dish but might just be compared to my overly generous portions of liquid fire i’ve added to my Penderyn Whisky cream when i’ve attempted it at home. Not for the faint hearted that’s for sure! I’d take a mark off for the lack of whisky flavour in both desserts but they still came out scoring very high so I wasn’t too dishearten.

nant restaurant final bill

The verdict

The desserts rounded off an excellent first dinning experience at the Nant Restaurant. All 3 courses were presented well, tasted better than good and the students were so attentive I didn’t wait longer than 30 seconds between finishing a drink or course and they were gone from the table.

This is an excellent idea to get the students real world experience of the hospitality industry and even though I don’t think the final finish of the food wasn’t quite up to that of The Classroom I’d pick this over again next time as it wasn’t much in it and the little fact of it costing just over a third of the price of the Classroom. The bill there was just around £110 for 3 courses a bottle of wine and two cocktails.

The classroom did have more of a restaurant feel and vibe to it and featured a much better stocked bar and cocktail list and the view (if you sat on the right side of the room) is second to none in Cardiff but you don’t half pay for those additions. It was probably average for a good quality restaurant but at the end of the day the students are providing the service so you would expect a slight discount on the the overall price. At the Nant Restaurant it is all about the experience for the students with prices not much more than cost price that’s what the end goal is but The Classroom would in my eyes seem to be turning over a healthy profit in comparison.

Some feedback I would give the Nant is a nice wedge of bread and some butter or freshly baked roll wouldn’t of gone a miss and could of showcased some of the student bakers end products before we ate as everyone loves a bit of bread to start no matter who you are. One other thing was out table had a beyond rediculous wobble and drove both of us nuts we couldn’t cut into the food even gently without fear of spilling the wine so I had to sit with my elbow holding the table in place whilst we ate. We were sat just right of the bar and a bit of wood to wedge the table in place wouldn’t be too hard to remedy this for the future but all in all a very good first visit. I would highly recommend not only for the price but the quality of the food and the opportunity to give students some highly valuable experience in the hospitality industry and their future working lives.

We are looking to make it a regular visit maybe once a month if we can get in as the menu changes every week so we won’t get bored for a while eating the same thing like most restaurants.

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The Pot Bistro Restaurant Review Cardiff

I first came across The Pot Bistro back last year whilst researching French restaurants in Cardiff to compile my list of places celebrating Beaujolais Day. After doing a bit more digging and seeing some of the pics of the food they are banging out of the kitchen i’ve been desperate to go try it there.

The only sticking point is it’s based up on Whitchurch Road, just down from Got Beef and Society Standard and being a French restaurant it’s against the law not to have a glass or two of wine to wash the food down with so that’s driving out and the price on Uber getting is recidivous.

Not one to follow tradition I didn’t fancy going out for food on Valentines night and basically pay double for what is pretty much the same food with just the odd dash of champagne tossed in the dessert and on the table so opted to go out on 15th instead.

I bit the bullet and offered to drive so we could finally sample The Pot Bistro, having to make do and ration a small glass of vin du for the entire evening with my meal, who said love is dead hey?

The Bistro is a no nonsense back to basics approach to decor and you couldn’t help but think you are sat tucked away in a back alley cafe in the shadows of the Chateaux de versailles, where I spent quite a few trips away with work back at my time with a well known French Aviation company a few years back. This being the reason I grew fond of French cooking, feasting on Foie gras for the first time, realising lamb could actually be served medium rare instead of resembling tree bark that i’d grown accustomed to with my nans Sunday roast, how much meal time was such a social event out there and how much wine they consumed with their food even at lunch time at the onsite restaurant in the office!

The Pot Bistro had an open plan kitchen setup with a little bar in front of the kitchen proudly displaying the array of spirits on offer. The place was a bit busier than I had expected being mid week but there were probably a few others with the same idea of me not wanting to be vomiting in a bucket watching new loves gazing into each others eyes over a candle lit dinner the night before on Valentines night.

The place isn’t huge though i’d say seating for around 30 but we did have a choice of seat from the waitress. It was just my luck I picked the worst seat i’ve ever perched my booty in, it was beyond painful to sit and basically had to lie back with my head just above the table to find a sweet spot on my back. All the chairs were different though they seemed to be miss matched so it could of been that was the only one like it in the restaurant. I should of just asked to swap but it was quite intimate in there and i didn’t want to make a fuss so my own fault for putting up with it really.

The waitress was lovely and went through the menu with us on what we could have and any extra we had to pay for some more expensive items as we had a 3 course and glass of wine offer through Wriggle Cardiff the app and website specialising in independent restaurants and offering daily deal type offers. Take a look here for more info and discount code AUHPSS will get you a bit more off your first order if you sign up, go to invite friends in the app and add the code in the top right.

Pot Bistro main menu

The Food

I know i should start making my way through some different items on the starter menu but when you like something it’s hard to deter from that so I went with the seared scallops, french sausage, bacon and sweet potato puree. Mwsh liking scallops just as much as me gave me the death stare on announcing my option to the waitress so felt compelled to try something different and with her utter contempt for soup it was only going to be one runner up and that was the pate.

The scallops were perfectly cooked with nice golden sear on the outside yet succulent and tender in the middle. It was nice to have scallops with a bit of saltiness from a cured meat with the bacon but the herby French sausage brought through different levels of flavour I’d not had with the standard chorizo or black pudding that every Doug or Geraint knocks up in the kitchen of most restaurants these days. The smear of sweet potato gave a bit of sweetness to the salt and meatiness of the sausage and bacon.

The pate was presented in a nice little mason jar that has been a staple in my work bag the past few weeks filled with proats although this was a little smaller but still very generous portion size for one. The pate was so smooth, protected by a thick layer of set butter. I don’t know why but it always seems to be the case that you could feed a family of four with the portion size of the pate in almost all restaurants i’ve ordered pate at yet you only a portion of bread to feed an 8 year old child. Mwsh made her way through about half the pate, which tasted of velvet offally goodness when she ran out of bread. Then here comes the dilemma of do I just leave it or do I look like someone feeding pate to a dog by spooning it on the knife and smearing it onto your tongue scraping it off with your lips.

With some gentle persuasion she asked if there was a spare bit of bread to help mop up the remnants of the mason jar filled with prime french inspired livers and they were more than happy to accommodate the request without a second thought. I don’t know why i’ve never tried this before but sometimes us British are just too damn polite when it comes to dinning out. The extra bread about 3 or 4 toasted slices of baguette were greatly received and meant I could wean another portion off the plate for my own gratification.

The mains and the gloves were off once again with both myself and Mwsh favouring the same plate off the mains and I went with the duo of lamb because it reminded me of the best plate of lamb cutlets I’d ever had whilst on a trip over to France and wanted to relive the sumptuous occasion being in a French restaurant, which is a rare occasion for me in Cardiff with little other options in the City until recently.

She was more than welcome to have the same but we do like to sample a few different dishes so we can share when dinning out but her option might go some way in showing her stance on me picking the best two items off the menu as she went for the bouillabaisse. Basically a fish stew featuring my worse nightmare…salmon!

lamb rump and cutlets main from Pot Bistro in Cardiff

Out came the mains and my eyes widened with pupils dilated on the delivery of such a thing of natural beauty bestowed upon my stunned open mouth. The thing was epic but soon brought me down to earth with the upside down smile bent thrown across the table in disappointment compared to her dish. Mine was a monster and even though the bouillabaisse looked like it was a well of flavour waiting to be lapped up adorned with a huge prawn it did look a bit like a stew. Reading from the menu we both thought it would be more of a pie as it had potatoes and we saw something on the Instagram account that resembled the description but the potatoes were a side dish of crispy cubes but the place was more of a fish soup and she hates soup.

I was informed the lamb would be cooked medium rare and I was more than happy to agree to the Chef’s recommendation when ordering. There was a decent sized hunk of lamb rump, browned to perfection but plump and glistening with pink and red whilst expertly sliced with my steak knife. There were two lamb cutlets accompanying the rump, generously coated in thick, rich red wine jus. The cutlets were a bit thinner than my plate in France but they didn’t come with a thick juicy rump of lamb so I wasn’t too disappointed. The dish came with a big wedge of tartiflette, which must be French for potato gratin. Not quite as divine as my favourite potato dish, dauphinoise but couldn’t fault them and it was a decent portion compared to some measly slices i’ve had in the past.

There were a few nuggets of my newly acquired taste of black pudding, paired with sautéed leeks within the jus that offered another layer of flavour to the dish.

I only had a little sample of the Bouillabaisse as I’m not a fan of salmon but Mwsh did work her way through the array of fish chunks sitting in the bowl. She said it was tasty i think it was just the image of soup she couldn’t get out of her head as she was expecting a fish pie with fondant, crispy potato swirls pipped on top of the fishy underbelly of the dish. What was lacking in my eyes though as anyone who has a soup, pie, stew of any sort there’s one thing that is universally agreed upon is the broth must and i repeat MUST be mopped up with a big hunk of fresh crusty bread but there was none in sight. I’m sure the waitress would of offered if we had asked but we’d already asked for more bread on the previous dish so didn’t want to take the piss.

chocolate torte with raspberry coulis at Pot Bistro in Cardiff

There wasn’t a flambeed crepe suzette in sight on the dessert menu thank god but wasn’t sure what to opt for on the choices that were on offer. Mwsh opted for the Cointreau bread and butter pudding with creme anglaise so I opted for the chocolate torte and cream so we could sharsies.

The bread and butter pudding reminded me a bit of a softened bara brith flavour wise and I couldn’t find any hints of the Cointreau but it was a heavenly plate of sugary stodge and the creme anglaise was the perfect touch.

My chocolate torte was so rich, it left swathes of chocolate inches thick inside my mouth and tongue on each spoonful. The creme added a good balance of creaminess to the plate and the smear of raspberry coulis gave a extra hit of flavour to the chocolate party going on inside my mouth.

The Verdict

I was impressed with the nights events and the food we ate and would definitely recommend it to anyone. The breakfast is next on my list there as it sounds right up my street and I need to start ticking off some places for breakfast in the city as I’ve only sampled a handful. There’s a decent selection of wine on the drinks menu, I didn’t enquire about cocktails and I didn’t’ see any draft beer on tap as I was driving but I’m sure there would be a few bottled European options to choose from.

The food was on the ball and the service was excellent. I would recommend the owners or waitresses to try sitting on the chair I was sat in and either take an axe to it or put a new back rest on it as it was so uncomfortable I was actually in pain sitting down and don’t be shy with the bread with the pate starter or the Bouillabaisse but apart from that I’d definitely go back.

They have a midweek deal on at the moment £20 for two courses and a glass of wine or keep an eye out on Wriggle to see if the £20 deal for 3 courses and a glass of wine.