I was a big fan of last year’s inaugural Street Food Circus pop up in Cardiff city centre and when I heard rumours of an even bigger shindig at Sophia Garden’s I was even more excited. I’d been to a few food fests this year or festivals with a bit a food section but I was missing the street food scene as I’d not even visited Depot this year yet.

The Street Food Circus 2016 residency that at Sophia Garden’s kicked off on Thursday 18th August and is parking it’s ass there till 25th September right next to the new (ridiculously situated!) National Express station and a short walk from Cardiff Castle.

I wasn’t planning on attending the opening weekend as I had a calendar full of events that weekend but had my arm twisted to pop down for some hangover food on the Sunday. I wasn’t quite feeling it but thought the fresh air and stodge might shake some life into me so didn’t have to be asked twice.

The weather was a bit crap to be honest and nearly put my welly’s on had it not been a good half hour walk from my current location so that on top of the pneumatic drill going off full pelt in my head didn’t put me in the best moods there but i soldiered on scouting out the stalls when i first got there. There were a few familiar faces and instantly realised Hangfire Smokehouse weren’t in attendance and learned they will only be attending Friday and Saturday’s for the duration of the Street Food Circus residency.

I wasn’t quite sure what I wanted and nothing was really jumping out at me not even my festival staple wood fired pizza as none of golden, crisped dough toppings were whafting their tantalising scents in my direction in fact they sounded a bit boring.

It then started to rain and found a bit of shelter in the Asian section called Singha Street in the top left hand corner and it’s there were started to explore what was on offer as they sounded a bit more appealing.

Tukka Tuk by Purple Popadom


Kerala spiced fried chicken, fries and thousand island sauce – £8

If the crowds were anything to go by this was the sheer winner in the popularity stakes and it wasn’t hard to see why as the menu sounded awesome. Just what I needed a bit of fried chicken with a decent whack of spice to give the perfect crunch, fries coated in indian spices and a huge dollop of homemade thousand island, which I wiped up every morsel with the fries then my fingers when I ran out.

The Kerala spiced chicken thighs and fries was the most expensive item on the menu at £8 but the portion was pretty good compared to others i’ve had recently. I was so lucky too as I managed to nab the last basket of chicken, which I think would of sent me over the edge and brought a little tear to my eye that day with the current state of my spaghetti brain.

Little Bao Peep

Red Pulled Pork, Wasabi Mayo, Pickled Cucumber, Peanut & Oreo Powder – £5

I’m usually a big fan of the little clouds of steamed buns generously stuffed with asian spiced meat and pickles and devoured a few from Hokkie last year till it nosedived under and from a recent trip to Camden Street Food Market where I had the best bao i’ve not only seen but tasted too.

The option on the menu on the day just wasn’t sitting right with my current state of affairs and just couldn’t understand the logic. I’m all up for innovation and thinking outside the box but who the hell puts oreos in a chinese? Little Bao Peep as it goes and was so glad I didn’t waste my hard earned 5 of the queens gold coins as I tried a little bite and nearly spat it out it just didn’t work for me. I’d had one of their boa’s at one of last year’s Depot Saturday’s and enjoyed what they stuffed into the little white pockets of dough so I know they can do some really tasty food but for me this was a step too far and would of been ok without the oreo dust.

Patagonia / Jol’s Food


Patagonia Cheese Steak 48 hour brisket, onions, mushrooms, mozzarella and stilton – £8

Ok before I write this section I’d like to start by saying Jol’s has been one of my favourite food vendors at every street food event i’ve been to and seen him always innovative and pushing out new exciting dishes. Jamie had both his instantly recognisable Jol’s blue food van and his new venture Patagonia at last years Street Food Circus with Patagonia even being shortlisted for the best street food vendor awards after the appearance there. I sampled both with the scallops and humous dish from Jol’s being my fav of the season and the steak and chimichurri ticking a few of my boxes as I’ve made my own chimichurri a few times. I thought it was a good steak roll but a few of my mates from Crossfit who tried it weren’t very impressed saying it was cold and just a bit of a let down, to which I was very surprised.

I’ve been keen to try Jamie’s newest venture well one of them Jol’s restaurant in his hometown Merthyr Tydfil for some time but not managed to sample it yet and also noticed he’s also doing the catering at the Redhouse the newly renovated town hall that’s now an arts and creative centre when I went to the food festival up there a month back.

It seems there’s lot going on for Jol’s at the moment and might be the reason the standards slipped a bit on my first experience of the ever growing brand this year. I wanted to just try the £5 grazing plate option of deep fried beef shin and cheese but they were all out so opted for the Patagonia Cheese Steak 48 hour brisket. At £8 and knowing that brisket is the cheapest cut of beef you can get I was looking forward to a decent stuffed roll to chomp my lips around but this is where i was wrong. Not sure if it was because Jol’s head honcho wasn’t gracing the hotplate that day but the miserable and lonely two chunks of beef squished in hidden amongst the tomatoey based mushrooms and onions left me incesed. Over reaction? Not if you knew how much I love my food and especially as this sorry looking plate was coming from my favourite food vendor and for the amount of beef I got for my £8 it would no doubt surpass the price per kilo of some of Japan’s finest wagyu steak.

There was nothing exciting else on the menu not the Jol’s i’d grown to love and hunt down in festivals. The only option coming from Jol’s side of the food cart was the Pad fries ( pad thai made with fries instead of noodles, which i’d sampled the year before.

After deciding to give the Street Food Circus another go the week after the menu was the same with nothing other than the pad fries from Jols and the 3 steak roll options still available as Patagonia as they serve from the same food kiosk. I did notice though that the portion of the miserable steak roll i’d been served the week before was slightly better this time and might of been because Jamie was serving up the food this time. I do hope they put something a bit more exciting on the Jol’s menu next time as although I was disappointed with my Steak roll from Patagonia I know the quality of food they can churn out and would love for them to be the top of my fav list again this year.

Science Cream


Liquid nitrogen chocolate ice cream – £5

I’d tried the salted caramel nitrogen ice cream from them back at the Depot last year and i’d a similar flavoured one at Camden too albeit with the cardamon dust, pistachio and burnt white chocolate but I fancied something different and opted for the chocolate option. It was ok really, tasted of chocolate so can’t go far wrong but it did mention white chocolate in the sauce so was hoping for a bit of contrast between the milk/dark chocolate but it was milk chocolate on milk chocolate but did have a little nugget of burnt white chocolate.

The hit of sugar did do me some good and can’t say anything bad about the ice cream but it wasn’t anything special.
I wasn’t happy with my first visit but thought it might of been mainly due to the hangover from hell so decided to return minus the thumping headache and impending fear of projectile vomiting of unsuspecting diners at Street Food Circus and went back the week after.

I was hoping for a few new faces and stalls the week after but there seemed to be the same minus a couple after no doubt selling out after a bumper bank holiday as it was the bank holiday Monday and getting fresh supplies was probably an issue.

I did a lap again and once again Tukka Tuk the star of the show the week before was the most popular with some crazy queues meandering through the crowds but I wanted to try something different.

Early Bird Bakery

Review of the mini dough bites with chocolate sauce at Street Food Circus in Cardiff

“Malt-ilda” mini doughnut bites with espresso sugar, malt chocolate sauce, honeycomb and fudge pieces – £5

Not one to do things the right was I opted for dessert (one of two) first and a good selection. I hadn’t been down to Porthcawl for a bag of pipping hot doughnuts from the fair for years but something was telling me they might just be up there with Porthcawl’s finest…and then some! Freshly fried, golden sugar laden pieces of dough slathered with warm, malt chocolate sauce and squidgy chocolate fudge pieces were presented to this grinning cheshire cat.

I was a bit disappointed in the portion size with only 3 doughnuts seeing how them emphasised they were mini doughnuts too and one stindgy little piece of honeycomb that I didn’t get to even try as I was sharing and that had been half inched before I even saw it. Ok they couldn’t fit anymore in the tub but that’s not the point get a bigger pot in future or drop the price. £5 for 3 doughnuts would be steep by Krispy Kreme standards so i’d suggest the price about £3.50 even though they were good they weren’t worth the £5 especially when you’re sharing so 4 to a portion would be a bit more value for money.

I was torn between the chocolate and the “Golden ticket” with cinnamon sugar, baked apples, salted caramel and candied walnuts but not a great fan of walnuts and with the price i didn’t want pick bits out.

Dirty Bird Chicken


3 pieces buttermilk chicken pieces (nuggets more like!) £6.50 + fried halloumi bites £4

Ok so I’d been an avid supported of Dirty Bird when they first came onto the scene taking the media by storm with their tongue in cheek branding and marketing. I’d first put the golden nuggets in and around my mouth around 2 years ago when the weekly street food market took up shop in St Mary’s street on a Sunday afternoon for a month back in 2014.

Again Sunday being the day of rest (and the day of recovery from the night before) my friend and I sought to rid out bodies of this savage hangover and wasn’t quite ready for a grease fest at KFC so fancied some home style, freshly made chicken and stumbled upon Dirty Bird and went back for more for 3 weeks on the trot and was no better feeling that chomping on some fried chicken with a can of lemon Sanpellegrino, sprawled out on the grass outside Cardiff Castle with the sound and site of chinhooks spiralling hypnotically overhead during the G8 summit that was going on and had the roads at a standstill at the time.

I hadn’t had any chicken from Dirty Bird since then and not because I didn’t like it but I just like to keep trying something different but stuck for things to eat again at this years Street Food Circus I thought i’d return to a trust favourite but oh how wrong was I!

I opted for the 3 pieces of chicken with slaw and dirty sauce over the posh box as I’d tried the whole smothered in truffle oil and parmesan with the posh fries but wasn’t sure it would work with the chicken alone. I wasn’t queuing up for it so put a portion of halloumi bites on top of my order whilst I got the rum cask ciders in and was gobsmacked with presented with what my £10.50 had bought me. Bearing in mine  could of had a bargain bucket with about 6 pieces of agreeable sized portions of chicken and 4 bags of fries at KFC and had change for the same amount i’d spent on my 3 chicken wing esque piss takes! When I order 3 pieces of chicken I want to be chomping on a decent spicy crusted hunk of meat especially when £13 got me 2.5kg of boneless chicken thighs a whole 30 pieces in Costco the day before.


I’ve never been so disgusted with a plate of food in my life for the portion size anyway. The halloumi bites portion size wasn’t too bad in comparison and luckily gave me some of the much needed protein I was expecting but the 3 pieces I’d got given for £6.50 was embarrassing and probably would of had more meat content in a children’s happy meal chicken nugget option no lie.

I’d been a big fan of these guys but after the piss take of a portion of 3 chickens I was given I will never buy from them again until they re-assess the quality control and they haven’t got Stevie Wonder handing out dishes.

Science Cream


Hazelnut liquid nitrogen ice cream – £5

Ok I know I said I like trying different things but these guys know how to make ice cream and I wanted them to pull it back after last weeks okish chocolate option and they didn’t fail to deliver with the Forrero Rocher inspired hazelnut ice cream freshly frozen in front of my eyes in 20 seconds,with a generous helping of chocolate sauce and dusting of freshly smashed hazelnuts for the piece de resistance of the dish.

I didn’t want each spoonful to end letting it melt on my tongue swirling it around my mouth to suck every last microscopic sense of flavour out onto my taste receptors.

So i’ve tried all the flavours on the menu for now so I might just have to give them a visit at the actual shop to sample the full menu and see what the crazy sugar scientists concoct for me on the day.

I would say Science Cream is one of Cardiff’s greatest secret’s as most of my friend’s i’ve mentioned them to haven’t heard or seen the crazy scientist at work in the frosted cloudy kitchen concocting oodles of velvety smooth ice cream to sooth your throat like a whole packet of tunes on the head. If you want to try the freshest ice cream know to man then it’s impossible to get it fresher anywhere else as it’s made fresh to order… in front of your eyes within 60 seconds!!

How do they do this?? Liquid nitrogen of course! The cream and flavour pairings are placed into a kitchen aid, powered up then doused in liquid nitrogen that sets the liquid to ice in a matter of seconds but as the process of freezing is super quick then the ice particles are minute meaning it’s probably the creamiest ice cream i’ve ever shovelled into my greedy mouth.

I’ve tried Science Cream a couple of times with their residency at a few of the Depot events in Cardiff last year but i’ve been wanting to take my younger sister to sample the expertly crafted icy flavour bombs they have churning away in the kitchen aid’s plus i want to try the ultimate homemade chocolate on the menu at the ice cream parlour as they haven’t unleashed that to the pop up food fest fans just yet.


My first batch of Science Cream ice cream was the salted caramel topped with nuggets of salted peanut brittle drowned in rivers of salted caramel sauce…mmmm I can still remember my eyes lighting up when I exchanged my shrapnel for my tub!

If you’re not into your food festival pop up’s or just looking for somewhere to take the kids in half term that is sure to keep them quiet for 10 minutes then Science Cream are offering customers a liquid nitrogen fuelled ice cream tub with a sauce of their choice then to get the internal temperature of your mouths and throat back up to room temperature a cup of their famous hot chocolate for just £4 with Livingsocial.

Don’t fancy going alone? They are also offering 2 customers the same for £8 or 4 customers for £16 dinning at the same time.

Based in 28 Castle Arcade, Cardiff, CF10 1BW that’s just opposite the arcade by you’ve guessed it Cardiff Castle and just off St Mary Street so you can’t get much more central in town.

Use the Science Cream discount voucher against ice cream and hot chocolate over half term with the kids or if not then it can be used up till 30th April 2016 and valid Wednesday – Saturday 12-6pm or Sunday 12-5pm.

It’s taken a while but the Welsh Capital is finally catching up to the likes of Bristol and London in terms of street food. With the likes of Wahaca with it’s Mexican flare of street food favourites and Burger and Lobster who are frequent at street food festivals have even decided to open shop with their first restaurants outside London in Cardiff within the last year.

I first started to notice small street food festivals popping up in Cardiff towards the end of 2012 with Cardiff Street Food holding their first event at the Mackintosh Sports Club and Community Centre just behind Miss Millies on Albany Road. It was here I got to try my first bite of Got Beef’s famous Welsh Black Beef Burgers back when they were serving out of their converted bus! They also had a few other street food regulars such as Fired Up Feast with their food fired pizzas.


Chucks Burgers ran a weekend pop up with their burgers, live music and cocktails in Pontcanna around the summer of 2013. This was the first venture into the street food scene and a dip in the toe for Something Creatives, which would go on to launch the very successful Street Food Cardiff event at the Depot in 2014.

I managed to catch the Got Beef guys for the Soprano burger at a street food festival in Swansea the following summer with veggie favourite Parsnip Ship, which converted me for the first time and i ordered my first veggie burger (although this was in between the Got Beef burger and a steak roll from Philly Cheese Steak Co).


Coming onto the scene around then too was the girls from Hangfire Smokehouse with their now legendary pop ups literally popping up all around Cardiff and the City for their BBQ takeovers at some of the less well known pubs (for me anyway). I’ll be the first to admit i leave everything till last minute well not me I try to plan things at least a week before but my mate on the other hand … well let’s not go there! It’s been hit and miss with these guys at no fault of their own well it is they should be selling such smoke crusted meaty deliciousness but the first 4 times i attempted to grab food there when they were at the Canadian in Splott and the Lansdown in Canton I was turned away twice as they literally had people begging to lick the plates clean as the food had flown out of the kitchen! I can’t complain though as i’ve been fortunate enough to sample most things on the menu now with my three successful visits including the pulled pork, pork ribs, chicken wings, all the sides (i basically ordered the whole menu the first time just in case i couldn’t make it back), Louisiana Creole, burnt ends, Texas Hot links and the flat iron steak on my last visit back last October when they were at the Pilot in Penarth, which took me two sittings!


hangfire smokehouse ribs

hangfire smokehouse everything on the menu

hangfire smokehouse flat iron steak

Half then and after taking a bottle of the mustard sauce and bbq sauce I had the other half in two yes i managed to get my leftovers to fill two baguettes for work the day with one smothered in each of the pungent yet addictive sauces. They have one more night left at their most central takeover yet at one of my favourite pubs in the capital recently and that’s Brewdog.

There are a few food festivals around the summertime but it’s just the same old shit different year with rows and rows of stalls selling what looks like and tastes like the same cheese, burger vans selling plastic burgers and fake sausages with a choice of plastic cheese and cremated onions or a Hog roast, which hasn’t even been cooked on a spit or over real coals they just look like a slab of pork joint that’s cut with a knife not even pulled apart as it should with crisp salty crackling and real, homemade apple sauce!

There is now more of an emphasis on street food from around the globe from the street food pop up’s springing up around South Wales in the last year, which are much more my cup of tea than the bog standard Cardiff Food Festival down the bay, which if you went 5 years ago you would be hard pressed to find something different on offer there apart from one that is. Quite possibly the best plate of street food i’ve ever experienced from something so simple yet delicious with lobster frites and lemon mayo.


The guys from The Pembrokeshire Beach Food Company know their seafood thats for sure! The lobster was cooked fresh in a giant paella type pan with whole blocks of Welsh Sea Black Butter giving it an extra punch of taste from the sea. I’d had lobster a couple of times before once in Tenerife about 10 years ago but you could of used the thin slices on my starter as tracing paper and a rather miserable and cold effort from Loch Fynne when it was open down Cowbridge so never really had fond memories but after the smell wafting over from the crab and lobster shack i didn’t care how long it would take me to wait in that 100 yard que that was going in my belly and i wasn’t moving till it did!

Last summer for around 12 weeks there was the street food festival at the bottom of St Mary’s street opposite the Cardiff Castle entrance and outside pizza express every Sunday. This was a taster of things to come with the likes of Dirty Bird Chicken with their buttermilk fried chicken and probably more famous logo of theirs. There was Jamie O’Leary, the sous chef from the Hardwick in Abergavenny with his rich, hearty fair of Italian food with his Jol’s food truck and Bar 44 with their silver American airstream trailer offering mobile tapas.

dirty bird chicken

dirty bird hot wings and posh fries

I did take a trip down several Sunday’s for posh chicken and chips at Dirty Bird with Korean spiced chicken hot wings with chips tossed in truffle oil and smothered in parmesan but I couldn’t leave without sampling whatever Jamie had been cooking in his sou vids for however many days to perfection. I managed to try the ragu of confit duck and crispy onion and thyme risotto cake, then there was the rabbit dish and then the 20 hour  steak roll that just melted as soon as it touched your lips.

Jols food ragu and potato cake Jols Food menu









I was quite surprised at the turnout for this though as the food on offer was amazeballs but it might be the fact i was stuck to my pillow dribbling in a hungover mess till about 3pm and missed the crowds, which is a win anyway if your asking me.

Next up was the big one taking street food in Cardiff to the masses and to the central stage and that was Street Food Cardiff’s sell out night’s at the Depot taking over a disused industrial units, dotted with street art, knocked together tables in school esque fashion then littered with some of the best street food vendors in the South Wales area that not even i had encountered previously I was just gutted I only made it there twice as the crowds got quite mental after half hour and i only managed to sample my first experience of Burger and Lobster a week before they opened the Cardiff restaurant with the lobster roll in freshly toasted brioche roll that quite frankly was on par with the lobster with it’s gorgeous butteryness. I just had to sample the mulled wine as it was sold out of a big hippy wagon and you just know those guys know how to party and they didn’t disappoint with added zing from whatever concoction of spirits and potions they added to my cup.

burger & lobster in Cardiff lobster roll at Cardiff Street Feasts

I know it sounds boring but I do love a good cheese toastie after sampling the mother of all cheese toasties at Abergavenny Food festival with Trethowan’s Dairy’s Award winning Ogleshield Cheddar Cheese and Shepherd’s Loaf Sourdough toastie fit for a king and a close runner up with cheese, red onion, leek and garlic toastie at Bermondsey Square Market up in London that i had for breakfast on a Sunday morning after a heavy night at a Wedding I wanted to sample some crispy, cheesy, goey, magic on my tongue and got my toastie charring whilst the warm mulled wine trickled down my throat sending christmassy tingles through the rest of my body and the blood straight to my head!

The weather has been pretty dire since the last of the Depot nights took place over Christmas but Cardiff just had it’s new recruit in the street food scene with Street Food warehouse starting two weeks ago at The Cardiff Arms park just off Westgate Street and taking place Friday and Saturday’s 5-11pm and Sundays 2-8pm till July 5th.

Running at the same time is the guys at Something Creatives and Street Food Cardiff off the back of the success of their nights at the Depot they are bringing us some of the old favourites but with a new venue the aptly named Street Food Circus taking place at Old Stable Yard off John Street just behind John Lewis. We will see the return of the Hangfire Smokehouse girls dishing out some meat sweats, Dirty Bird Chicken, the new venture from the magician behind Jol’s Food, Jamie O’Leary called Patagonia. I just bought a pair of waterproof boot’s for snowboarding from the brand Patagonia but fret not he’s not leaving us for a world of fashion anytime soon (i hope) but he will be feeding us from the steak shack with protein rich Beef and plenty of it!

Rumour has it that Burger and Lobster will be back with their £10 lobster rolls instead of the £20 cost to eat at the restaurant although it doesn’t come with chips and more importantly a gallon of one of the best things on the plate the garlic butter I could of ate out of a cone with a spoon. I’ve also heard rumours Masterchef finalists Larkin Cen and Dale Williams will be making an appearance with their new venture Hokkei an Asian takeaway on Crwys Road in Cardiff serving their new Baos, which I happened to sample last weekend which are all steamed buns with me opting for the Moo Baoes with beef brisket in black bean and my favourite korean side dish kimchi but stuffed with cabbage, spring onion and coriander

Hokkei Moo Bao steamed buns

The Street Food Circus is set to start on May Bank Holiday weekend starting on Friday 1st right up to Sunday June 28th from 5-11pm Friday and Saturdays and Sundays 2-10pm.

The Depot will also be launching a series of their own pop ups throughout the summer with collaborations with Motley Movies providing hot tub cinema viewings.

Check out the upcoming street food and pop up restaurants this summer

If you weren’t around to witness the now legendary liquid nightclub in Cardiff then you really did miss out. Liquid hosted all of the big names in dance music from Carl Cox, Eric Morillo and whatever other house legend Lamerica Promotions had spinning the decks on a bank holiday through the early 00’s.

Since the closure of Liquid nightclub, which had one of the biggest capacity in South Wales we haven’t had a decent main room DJ to play in Cardiff as we haven’t had a club big enough to host them and they certainly wouldn’t lower themselves to play at the likes of Oceana.

Liquid has been closes for about 3 years now and has just been left to rot away in the fringe of St Mary’s street and Mill Lane but in 2013 there were rumours that liquid was re-opening. News arrived at the end of 2013 that liquid was going to be refurbished with a restaurant and bar taking over the street level floor and nightclub was going to open in the relics of the former liquid nightclub.

Liquid has been renamed Maddison DC and the bar and restaurant have been open for around 2 months now with the nightclub yet to open its doors due to finishing touches being made. I’ve yet to try out the Maddison bar and restaurant but browsing on Livingsocial this week I noticed the daily deal they had with a discount on a 2 course meal for 2 with a glass of Prosecco for just £29 for £58 value at the Maddison restaurant.

With Sirloin steak at £20 from locally sourced farms this is definitely worth sampling as the restaurant is newly open, with a lot of money being pumped into the refurbish they will be keen to make a name for themselves with the quality of the food.

If your sticking to a Paleo diet then there’s steak with mushroom and tomato on the side, duck breast as long as you skip the hoi sin sauce and chicken in lemon and thyme. All the mains come with chips or new potatos but you could order a side of seasonal veg to fill you up instead. For starters you could go for the asparagus and poached egg or the Scottish Smoked Salmon and scrambled eggs.

Not only can you get a discount for Maddison restaurant in Cardiff for 2 diners but you can also get a discount restaurant deal for 4 people for just £57 for a £116 value and 6 diners for £85 with a value of £174 for starter, main and Prosecco each saving 51%.

Get the Madisson restaurant discount in Cardiff  for 2 to 6 diners at Livingsocial with 9 days left to purchase at time of writing.