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Maria’s Greek Taverna Restaurant Review Cardiff

It was the other half’s birthday a few weeks back and unlike us, we hadn’t booked anywhere to go. She’s fancied Hellenic Eatery for a while but it’s always be chocka block every time we’ve passed.

We tried calling them as soon as we got home from work but again, there was no room at the inn tonight. I’d seen a few insta posts about Maria’s Greek Taverna recently and thought it was along the same lines as Haelinic so we rang and got a table.

The restaurant was small and cosy inside and they seemed to squeeze as many tables in to fit, which did mean there’ wasn’t much room between the back of my chair and the table behind. Luckily for me nobody was booked in whilst we were eating or we would still be fighting to get out from under the table.

I liked the decor though as it really did look like it could have been nestled in a back street in Greece and seeing that we hadn’t had a holiday for a good few months I felt like I was having tea in the Med, especially with the heat wave we were currently in.

The Food

We had a quick scan over the menu as we hadn’t looked prior as it was last minute. There were a few well known dishes and you could either go for a mezze of little dishes or go big (what I was under the impression at the time) with some of the mains.

Marias Taverna Menu Cardiff

 

Based on pricing from some other well known establishments who specialise in meat skewers blistered over hot coals such as Saray I thought the mains seemed a little expensive. Based on the price difference of about 30% I thought this would be made up in portion size.

We opted for a few mezze plates and one main as we’ve been satisfied with a main between us with some side dishes at some other Cardiff restaurants of late and we thought we might of gone overboard on our options at first. We even though we might of needed a bigger table.

For the small dishes we went for beer battered salt cod fritters (£6.95), spicy Greek sausage with peppers and red wine (£6.50), halloumi fries (£5.50) then a portion of dips, Hummus and Tzatziki priced at £4.50 each as they didn’t do a mixed selection. I would of had the smokey aubergine one too but I refused to pay £15 for 3 dips as I thought it was extortionate.

For the main we opted for a mixed souvlaki with one chicken and one pork kebab with chips and pitta.

The food did seem to take longer than expected but we did foolishly ask for it to all come out together, so that may have been the issue. The Halloumi fries were really good and probably my fav dish on the table. Golden brown, slight crisp on the outside and lovely salty core.

The spicy Greek sausage was fine, not that spicy to be honest but we did finish it all off. The salt cod fritters were ok. If you like salt cod you probably would have enjoyed them. They were plate I was least expecting to like and just ordered them because I’d never tried salt cod and took a thought I would take a punt on them.

The breads and dips were fine with hummus and tzatziki with toasted pitta. They were just ok really nothing special and would of liked something a bit spicier or a mixed selection with smaller individual portions like we had recently with our mezze in Turkey that had about 6-8 little portions of dips that were the star of the show there. For 6 of the dips you’re looking at £30 here, which is absolutely nuts if you ask me!

Then onto the main, which to be honest for £15 I was pretty pissed off at. I was expecting a bit more substantial on the skewers but they were beyond disappointing for the money. I would of expected either sub £10 or 4 skewers based on the meat content for £15 compared to what you get at some of the places you can pick a kebab up on that road into Cardiff.

The Verdict

I wouldn’t say I disliked the majority of the food The only dish I didn’t like was the salt cod and that was personal preference. The food was ok and that’s as far as it went really but at that price it was way over priced in my eyes. We’ve paid £20 between us at Saray for two skewers, chips, breads, a selection of dips and pickles, mint tea and even had some baklava thrown in for free and we were more than content. The food at Saray and Sham Nights was more tasty too to be honest and near half the price I’ll stick to them in future.

Based on that I can’t see me rushing back to Maria’s. I’ll definitely give Hellenic Eatery a try further down the road but I’ll stick to Saray or Sham Nights or some top quality meat and tasty accompaniments for a very reasonable price.

For what we had, one bottle of water and a carafe of house wine it cost just over £50. Not a huge bill by any means but for what you can get both in quality and quantity at half the price this is probably the first and last time I’ll be through the door.

 

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.

Burger Theory Review at Kongs Cardiff

So after two shakey starts I thought I’d give Burger Theory @ Kongs in Cardiff another try and was hoping for 3rd time lucky on Saturday.

I’d had an invite for the opening night back towards the end of last year but double booked myself and had a few things on being the run up to Christmas and judging by the instagram pics after it was a roaring success and had me salivating at my phone or might of been throthing at the mouth in anger at missing the succulent beef patties oozing with bubbling cheese and mountains of crisped fries!

I didn’t wait long (2 days) to give it a whirl after a few unssuccessful attempts to get a seat at a few other restaurants in town with a few of my mates after a few beers in Brewdog. Although we were taken back by the doormans rather odd welcome into the basement venue when he said “How many of you want to go in?” Bearing in mind this was about 5 o’clcok and pretty dead in St Mary street and only 4 of us, who’d consumed 2 or 3 pints prior to this.

“Ok lads, please don’t tip the place up it’s a low key kind of place”. We all looked at each other in bemusement as we’re not exactly roided up skip rats looking to smash someone’s head in but we gave a suprised reply of “ok no probs”.

Anyway onto the venue, well if you haven’t ventured into the place yet to sample it for yourself yet then shame on you but it’s got the ever popular industrial, weathered look with plenty of concrete, scaffholding and reclaimed wood with the odd metal cage to shield unsuspecting punters from a stray puck to the head from the air hockey tables.

The drinks

First on the cards before anything was a pint of something wet and cold before mulling over holy grail of seared beef concoctions.

I was hoping to have a few in house IPA’s but there were a few local beers from the likes of Tiny Rebel, a few European favourites and a few I’d never seen, couldn’t work out from the lonley branded icon with no writing and the clueless offerings from the person serving me. One thing that winds me up when going for a beer these days especially after the expert knowledge on hand from the givers of happiness behind the bar at the likes of Brewdog, Small bar or Bar 44 is people serving who have absolutely no idea about what it is they are serving. My first visit all 3 people didn’t have the fogiest idea about the beers, what they were, who brewed them or even the strength on them, which lastly should be a legal requirment at least I would of thought if I was driving. They were nice enough but a bit of prior training or even sampling of what’s on tap that week wouldn’t go a miss.

Anyway the first pint was good that’s all i can tell you as nobody could tell me what it was that’s all i know is it had a bee logo on the front. I had one or two more lucky dips and all unoffensive and drinkable.

There was a good selection of beers in the fridge but no menu to see what they were and I find it hardwork going through each of the bottles with the bartender so opted against trying my luck on any of them on my first couple of visits but would definitely like to tick a few off.

One thing I was dissapointed with though was the lack of any decent gins. I was hoping to get to try something I hadn’t seen before but there was just a few of the bog standard pub gins on offer. Being a Bristol based company I thought they might of shipped a few bottles of Psychopomp gin over to show us how they distill their Gin just over the bridge but sadly not. Just yet anyway, I might put a request in as I did get to try a couple at their pop up bar at The Old Bookshop in Bristol the last time I was up there before Christmas.

The food

So as I’ve visited 3 times it’s only right I give my feedback on all 3 visits.

Visit 1

My first attempt at the menu and anything with Kimchi or anything referencing Korean overides anything else on the menu so my mind was made up before I even finished the rest of the menu and jabbed delightedly at the Kimcheese option. Mounted on top of the beef patty was, bacon, cheese, pulled beef rib, chiptople mayo and what was supposed to be kimchi but what I had instead was a few strands of spring onion! No kimchi in sight I was gutted to say the least and even more pissed off because I had talked my mate into having the kimchi fries as he had never tried kimchi and his fries where the same just a few ribons of spring onion and no pungent fermented cabbage in sight and he was dissapointed saying “Well I still don’t know what Kimchi is”. I hate recommending something to someone when it turns out turns out wrong.

Don’t get me wrong the rest of the burger was really good but you can’t advertise a kimchi burger with the main bloody ingredient missing. I’m glad I didn’t pay extra for the kimchi fries now or I would of just ended up paying a few extra quid for spring onion fries.

Everyone else had positive feedback regarding the burgers and my one mate attempted the hairy beast with a whole souther fried chicken on top, which was an absolute beast of a burger to say the least. Not something I’d attempt on a mission for a few beers after it mind as i’d be keeled over with meat sweats but it did look good.

Burgers costing around the £9 mark with standard fries around £3 although I skipped them this time to save some room for beer.

Visit 2

My 2nd visit was about a week later and my last day in work before breaking up for Christmas as I noticed a deal on the Wriggle Cardiff App with 1 burger and 1 fries for just £3.50 at Burger Theory / Kongs and as my mate hadn’t been or used the app before I gave him my referral code of AUHPSS, which he added on buying the deal and got another discount and paid just £1.50 saving over £12. I’m not sure as I can’t remember the last time i bought one but i’m pretty sure you can’t get much change from £1.50 after buying a pot noodle, so off we stormed in the rain after the clock struck 4 and we were done for the day in work.

Blue Cow burger from Burger Theory at Kongs Cardiff

The wriggle deal meant we could only choose a selection of burgers and not the full range but my next option would probably have been the Blue Cow anyway with Beef and jalapeño patty, crispy bacon, blue cheese, chipotle mayo, homemade ketchup.and my mate from work ordered the same.

Service was pretty quick and only had a few gulps of my beer before the order came out. The burger didn’t look quite as impressive as the first visit with mounds of the topping bursting out and looked a bit flat in comparisson. It was ok taste wise, nothing to write home about just ok really. Better than some of the other garbage like 5 guys and Grazing shed saying that mind but pretty uninspiring but for £1.50 we were impressed.

The fries on the other hand where something else and not in a good way. I’m not sure if because we had the wriggle deal we were just getting the scraps of what was left before opening a fresh bag of salad or fries but the fries looked like they had been plunged into the fryer more than once. They were either reheated or just heated and not taken off said heat for an hour because there was nothing left inside the crisp exterior. The inside of the fry was completely hollow so trying to jab a fork in was nye on impossible as it send carb laden, glass like shards flying everywhere. They were probably the worst fries I’ve ever attempted to eat and both of us left more than half the bag or whatever it was they came in and that must be a first for me.

To finish off a slightly dissapointing visit the guy coming to collect the trays / plates etc bashed the tray into my brand new (well 2 week old) iphone 7 placed visibly in the middle of the table sending it hurtling off the 1.5 metre high tables onto the concrete floor below leaving me with a look of horror and too afraid to investigate.

I didn’t have a case for the thing yet but luckily for me i’d just bought a laminate screen protector for it the day before so just left me with a few scratches on it. The guy was apologetic for the mishap and said I’ll buy you a new one if it’s broke but I just wanted to get out of there to assess the damage in the dimly Amsterdam esque red lit corner I was sat in.

Visit 3

Ok so both visits were within a week of opening so I thought I’d give the kitchen guys a bit of time to settle in and hone their skills behind the griddle or fryer I was hoping too as the burgers weren’t too bad the last time apart from lack of main ingredient.

I’d just sampled my first Bwyta Bwyd Bombai about 5 minutes prior to walking past Kongs last Saturday and Mwsh still hadn’t tried the place plus I only got a child portion in 3B’s so I suggested a pint and sharesies on something from Burger Theory, which she happily obliged.

Korean Fried Chicken burger from Burger Theory at Kongs Cardiff

After trying or at least seeing a few of the contendors on the menu previously I hadn’t noticed the KFC, otherwise known as Korean Fried Chicken. I’d seen some pics flying around of the coca cola ham hock dirty fries on insta recently and would of jumped at the chance of sampling those too if I hadn’t just had a biryani and 2 potato like side dishes less than 15 minutes ago.

I ordered a pint of Tiny Rebel on tap, a new one on me i’d not seen this one before and was pleased to see someone behind the bar who had a bit more knowledge of what they had to offer behind the bar, beer wise this time too. I’d just got the impression they’d plucked people from the streets walking past on my first visit just to open the place but they’ve either managed to find someone whose at least tried then before being able to give advice or they’d managed to give the bar tenders a little bit of training now. Either way it was a great improvement and just gives you a bit more confidence ordering from them compared to someone just shrugging their shoulders and giving you a blank look as before.

It was a Saturday and noticed they had the door open to a corridor to what I found out was a TV room showing the rugby but there were less than 10 people in the main bar area so was quite suprised with the wait we had till the chicken burger came compared to the last 2 visits.

Onto the KFC chicken burger and neither of us could fault it. The chicken was crisp to perfection, slathered in a sticky, sweet and spicy chilli sauce, ample amounts of salad although the burger wasn’t quite as big as I could remember my mate Morgan having on the first visit but the taste more than made up for it. We had a fight over the last few bites that’s for sure. We didn’t opt for the fries this time so couldn’t comment on whether they had improved but I will be ordering the coca cola dirty fries if they’re still on the menu next time.

So all in all a few teething problems and a few good experiences from myself and a few friends. I’m hoping they’ve sorted out the kimchi as I’d like to try the kimchi fries I just hope as they’ve been open a bit longer now they’ve had time to ferment the cabbage, which they couldn’t have done properly in 2 days on my first visit but saying that there wasn’t any cabbage on the burger so they must of just completely missed it out.

I will be back though to work my way through the menu as the burgers and combo of toppings do send the taste buds into an anticiapted frenzy so if the guys in the kitchen are on the ball you are sure to have an awesome meal. I wouldn’t mind givng the Korean fried chicken side a go too so there’s still lots i havent got around to yet.

The Verve Grill Restaurant new menu at the Village Hotel in Cardiff

I took a visit to sample the new menu at The Verve Grill at The Village Hotel in Coryton this week just off the roundabout and just opposite Asda. Working in Newport, I more or less pass the hotel on a daily basis but never even thought of going for food there as hotel food tends to be overpriced garbage at the best of times. I know a few people who are or who’ve been members at the gym and they all had good things to say but until this week it’s the first time i’ve stepped over the doors to the place so didn’t really know what to expect.

The hotel has a choice of two restaurants with the bar offering your standard pub grub of burgers, wraps and the like and was told it had just had a makeover and have to say I did like the look and feel going on there as it had a much more relaxed feel on first inspection compared to some hotels i’ve stayed at in the past but only poked my head in for a nosey round so didn’t stay to sample what was on the taps.

The 2nd restaurant was the Grill Restaurant serving as the name might suggest more meatier options focussing on your steaks, lamb, chicken and fish and a bit more fancier stuff than in the bar restaurant.

As I was driving I didn’t get to make a dent in the list of beers on tap and in the fridge so I gently sipped my vino tinto as I gazed over the menu.

verve-grill-new-menu-village-hotel-cardiff

Starters included:

  • Pea and mint soup
  • Chicken lollipops
  • Hot sticky Bourbon bbq ribs
  • Tuna capriccio
  • Stuffed Mushrooms
  • Prawn Cocktail
  • Antipasta platter
  • Hummus, red pesto and roasted red pepper dip and grilled flatbread

I do love a good rib, but it’s not often I have fresh tuna and I was a bit confused with the wording of the dish as I thought they had spelt carpaccio wrong although I think it might of been some dish they named themselves but after asking my best mate Googley he told me capriccio is Italian and means
a painting or other work of art representing a fantasy or a mixture of real and imaginary features.

The actual dish claimed to include herb and citrus marinated sliced tuna with avocado, mango and a chilli salsa. Seeing as though the accompanyments ticked all the right boxes I bit the bullet not knowing what the tuna would end up turning up like whether it was cooked or ceviche esque and slowly cured and cooked gently with the citrus juices. I had happy memories of sampling my first prawn ceviche for my first bit of nurishment after 3 days stomping in a field in Miama at Ultra music festival a few years back so thought what the heck.

tuna-capriccio-starter-verve-grill-village-hotel-cardiff

The dish came and was nothing like I imagined, well sort of what I was hoping for but presentation wise I was quite impressed as it was like no tuna dish i’d ever seen with the large round disks of soft, raw tuna as if the fish had been put into a mandalin and sliced into tracing paper like sheets of ruby red flesh.

Without any hesitation I dug in tearing gently at the disks of fresh tuna sheets, topped with a bit of the salsa and let it melt in my mouth and analysing the outcome before a gently nod of agreement to myself. The tuna was good and I liked the refreshing touch of salsa to go with it but if I were to offer any feedback I couldn’t quite get the citrus flavour coming through so a fresh wedge of lime on the side to juice to your required depth of limyness would of been a good addition and a generous scattering of fresh corriander because…well corriander just takes freshness in salsa or any citrus dish to the next lever instantly with no fuss.


First course out of the way and onto the mains on the board.

There seemed to be two options for mains and as this was a hotel with quite a large leisure facilities they would be silly not to tap into the healthy options for those looking not to over induldge in terms of calories and had a 500 club offering main courses with a good chunk of protein bit a bit more forgiving in terms of carbs and fats and all coming in at less than 500 calories.

Well there would be none of that nonsense for me (tonight anyway) and had a quick glance over but wasn’t even kidding myself because if I’m out for food and going the full hog i’m not leaving until my buttons on my shirt feel like their about to pop off, which they pretty much were by the end of the evening.

But if you have overindulged this week already or picking up something after a tough workout downstairs and don’t feel like cooking options the 500 club options are below

500 club mains

  • Tiger prawns in wholemeal pasta, spinach in lemon and dill cream
  • Black pepper crusted fillet steak in asian broth and green veg
  • Teriyaki salmon and black rice salad
  • Herb marinated chicken breast in warm salad and salsa
  • Chicken, avo and feta salad
  • Seasonal salad with asparagus, ricotta cheese, nuts and ranch dressing

Mains included

  • Seared tuna steak
  • Beef fillet stroganoff
  • Minute or sirloin steak and chips
  • Lamb rump and all the trimmings
  • Rack of Bourbon ribs
  • Mussels and fries
  • Mushroom Risotto
  • Pan Seared Cod
  • Chicken Kiev
  • House Burger
  • Chickpea, spinach and sweet potato curry
  • Grilled thyme chicken breast

To my dissapointment there wasn’t any game on the menu as that’s usually my go to option as I don’t tend to cook it much at home but went for my next fav lamb and this one came with with garlic and rosemary roast rump of lamb, mented pea puree, baby veg and port jus.

I was tempted to have the mussels as I love drowning half a loaf of bread in the broth at the bottom of my seafood couldrom but not sure that would of filled me as I usually have them as a starter and my fellow dinners including myself would of died of boredom waiting for me to salvage every last morsel of muscle meat from their shells.

 

For an added bit of stodge and because I’m a greedy mofo I kindly agreed to do halfies on two sides of jalapeno mac n cheese and chilli mushrooms. After my recent purchase of mac n cheese on the food market on the hayes in cardiff a few weeks back I’ve been having dreams about it since!

The lamb appeared along with the rest of the mains not long after starters and I was battle ready, knife in hand. Mwsh opted for the same main as me but being a farmers daughter I think she’s got lamb’s bloody running through her veins as she’d have lamb as part of every meal if she could. I was slightly jealous at her opting for hers medium rare as I’d only ever dared go medium on lamb in the past and hers was a develishly red in the middle compared to mine only slight pink but she admitted hers wasn’t very crispy on the fat and mine was just perfectly crisp and caramelised.

The veg wasn’t overly mounted on the plate underneath but it was ample with the addition of the sides of creamy, blistered and cheesy mac n cheese along with the nicely spiced mushrooms which I was pleasantly suprised with the nice kick of chilli.

There’s nothing worse than ordering something with chilli or thinking it’s going to be spicy like most indian’s I’ve ordered lately and you wouldn’t have trouble feeding it to an infant as there hasn’t been a single bead of scovile induced sweat to grace my forehead. This wasn’t overly hot and wasn’t expecting it to be but there heat was just about right that it didn’t overpower the flavour of the rest of my plate.

I promised myself i’d take it easy tonight as I’d missed crossfit for the past week because of the bloody traffic and being too retarded to read my rota and turned up on the wrong late shift but that lasted about 23 seconds and jabbed at the sticky toffee pudding on the menu to the waiter with eagerness in my eye as I was needed a sugar fix to get me out of this sleep deprived half conciousness I’d been in all day.

Desserts include

    • Ice Cream & Sorbet Selection
    • Chocolate Mousse
    • Baked Vanilla Cheesecake
    • Creme Brulee
    • Sticky Toffee Pudding
    • Chocolate Brownie
    • Apple & Strawberry Crumble
    • Verve Hot Chocolate Sundae
    • Ice Cream & Sorbet Selection

sticky-toffee-pudding-and-ice-cream-dessert

The dessert arrived in a huge delicious pool of golden toffee sauce just waiting to be lapped up in comparrison to the shot glass sized bowl of ice cream to accompany it although that was probably to stop it melting from the sugar magma covering the pudding but could of been a bit bigger. You can’t really go wrong with sugar laden stoge covered in yet more molten sugar and didn’t last long after it arrived although I did politely offer a taste to my fellow dinners with a look of dream in my eyes.

The verdict

I was pleasantly suprised by the menu as it’s probably the first time i’ve dined at a hotel without staying there as it’s usually out of necessity when i’ve traveled with business and too late to venture out into the locality to find something to curb my hunger pans.

I usually tend to find hotel restaurants to be overly expensive for what they are but on reflection they have a lot more overheads compared to a street food stall at a food festival considering the amount of staff they need to keep the complex ticking over but the prices here weren’t as bad as I was expecting.

Starters around the £7 mark, mains £17 and desserts £6 but after a summer of hitting the street food scene hard I’ve found the prices have risen and portions shrinking and based on that the prices were a good reflection with me needing about 3 dishes to fill me up priced around £7 each and desserts around the £5 mark.

As I’d never stayed at a village hotel previously I wasnt’ sure what to expect and was half expecting the plastic meat from the likes of TGI’s but it was good quality and a nice change of the tuna for my main. Everyone on the table seemed to be in good spirits after the meals and didn’t hear any negative feedback on the mountain we had consumed between us.

Location wise it wouldn’t be somewhere I would probably end up going regularly as it’s in between home and my more local eateries and a bit further out of town from Cardiff if I caught a train down to the city centre for food and a bit added expense catching a taxi there and back. I would recommend the place though saying that and would have no qualms in going back and ticking off a few of the likely suspects on the menu I was torn between this time. Hopefully next time I won’t be driving and can get to see what hopped based beverages they’ve got behind the bar too.

Contact

Address: Village Hotel, 29 Pendwyally Road, Coryton, Cardiff, CF14 7EF

 

Burger and Lobster Cardiff opening date

The moment Cardiff has been waiting for since the whispers that Burger and Lobster were planning opening their first restaurant outside of London and in none other than the Welsh Capital is nearly upon us.

Cardiff’s Burger and Lobster restaurant have just announced they are opening their doors to eager lobster lovers on December 12th 2014.

If you haven’t heard of Burger and Lobster then you should be ashamed of yourself!! Yes really, actually we’ll forgive you but be sure to go check it out. The menu is quite extensive with Burger…and lobster, yes that’s it! No menu just straight up ground beef from the best flavoured steak in the world (according to them), corn fed Nebraska beef and lobster from the deeps of the Atlantic Ocean.

And the price of the food at Burger and Lobster? Whatever option you go for will cost £20 so that’s the burger and fries, lobster and fries of the lobster in brioche roll and fries. I know i’ll probably be buying one of each of the burger and lobster to share when it does open just to see if the beef really is that good it warrants £20.

Unlike some of the London venues Burger and Lobster in Cardiff will be taking reservations with up to 10 people for lunch and parties of 4-10 for dinner with seating for around 300 people. If the first opening on Welsh soil is anything like the London venue’s then that will be a god send as they are queuing down the street to get their hands on some of the best and cheapest lobster dinner available.

Burger and Lobster Cardiff Contact Details:

UNIT 29-11
THE HAYES
CARDIFF
CF10 1AH
02920224044
http://www.burgerandlobster.com/locations/cardiff/the-hayes/

OPENING HOURS
MON-SAT 12PM-11PM
SUN 12PM- 10:00PM