Being a frequent honorary islander on the Isle of Anglesey due to the other half being born and bred there, we’ve been slowly ticking off some of the best spots for food there over the past year and don’t ask me how many months (queue  red cheek syndrome).

We’ve been to local favourite Lobster Pot and then Marram Grass over the Christmas period but it’s our 6 month spot on the waiting list for Ynys Mon’s only Michelin Star restaurant Sosban and the old butchers we’ve been counting down the days till.

Having just missed the last round of bookings where 6 months of tables at the 12 seater restaurant are released and snapped up in the blink of an eye but we were lucky enough in October to book a table for Menai Bridge’s hottest ticket in town.

The menu is a closely guarded secret until you arrive and you are taken on a journey from sea to farm through the 9 dishes of the tasting menu, expertly crafted by a single chef in a tiny kitchen. Apart from a someone who sometimes helps with the dishes there is only one other person working at Sosban and the old butchers and that is wife of the chef and front of house, which makes it an even more of an extraordinary feat to be awarded such a highly sought after accolade of a Michelin Star.


Inside the restaurant at Sosban and the old butchers Anglesey


Located at No1 High Street in Menai Bridge in an unsuspecting mint coloured building, inside just 6 tables and whilst we dinned just 10 of us eating. They’ve kept the old tiles on the wall from when it used to be a butchers and with just a small back bar and pass where the food comes out, you have the waitress’s full attention. It’s like dinning in someone’s front living room, which immediately put me at ease being my first visit to a Michelin Star restaurant as I imagined most of them can be quite pretentious. I loved how calm and relaxed it was this side of the kitchen, although I’m not sure chef would say the same single handily serving everyone in the restaurant Thursday to Saturday.

There is just one menu and you are only told once you arrived although we opted to keep it a surprise and learn of each dish as it arrived and the cost of the tasting menu is £80 per person. It was a little hard to order a bottle of wine, our own fault opting to keep it a surprise as we didn’t know what drink would best suit the dishes. We opted for an Argentinian Malbec at a cost of £28.

The Food

We were served a couple of appetisers to keep us going until the more substantial dishes came out such as crispy cod skin, curried banana and peanut, which had a lovely crunch but instantly melted on the tongue.

Another crispy one followed with kale bomb with crispy leaves, Caesar dressing and sprinkled with pecorino cheese. Small and bite sized, well two bites as I wanted to saver it instead of going down without touching the sides. They both packed a punch for their size.

Next up was a plate expertly curated by the host and offered something to entice all of the senses. A nugget sized portion of soft tender lamb entombed in a rice crispy esque skin with a dollop of laverbread mouse. Soft, crispy, tender and moist encapsulated into a manageable bite.

In the centre of the plate lay a misty vessel waiting to be opened, which when opened released a hit of smokey juniper leaves. This was presented with a purple cube of the softest marshmallow ever to enter my mouth but with an earthy beet lingering taste.


soda bread and butter at sosban and the old butchers - Anglesey


Appetisers done with, next up was my poison. Warm, freshly baked bread with homemade butter and generous mountain of sea salt, no doubt hailing from the waters some 50 metres away. The bread was almost pudding like, fluffy and sweet with the soft rich butter and added crunch and explosions of salt with my overzealous application of sea salt. The bread would of worked equally as well with jam and clotted cream if by a miracle there had been any left.


asparagus yolk jam and truffle starter at sosban and the old butchers menai bridge


On to the starter of asparagus with yolk jam, welsh truffle and a scattering of almost toasted breadcrumb like crispy chicken skin. I do like asparagus when it’s cooked well but there’s nothing worse than a soggy one. This as expected was cooked perfectly and when transported into one’s mouth mixed with the rich toppings brought a thick emulsion of flavour when both yolk and truffley chicken skin collided.

The other half usually detests asparagus but you would have been hard pressed to have found a scrap left on her plate.


salt aged lamb wild garlic and sheeps yogurt at sosban and the old butchers


The first of two mains was a succulent, generous slice of salt aged lamb with wild garlic and little pearls of sheep’s yogurt that burst with ever so slight pressure of the fork. Normally one to devour a meat dish in seconds, I carved away slowly at my lamb to savour the taste with the helping hand from scoops of the wild garlic and the sheep’s yogurt that cut through the richness of the meat and mellow the wild garlic.

The last of my glass of the Malbec married perfectly. I didn’t inspect the bottle at first but soon learned how potent it was after the first glass and having a bit of a head on already with it being 14%. Not a bad thing though as it was very quaffable.

Not being ones to waste ingredients, next up was the cod fillet that was skinned and said skin used for the first appetiser and the perfect time to order a fresh bottle of vino, although a white to go better with the fish dish. The price on wine was quite reasonable I’d say, with options from £20 up to champagne around £120 for an extra special occasion. Glasses aren’t advertised on the menu but the waitress was willing to allow us to purchase specific bottles by the glass but we ended up going for a bottle anyway priced again at £28.


cod pickled onion and ox heart main course at Sosban and the old butchers Anglesey


The menu read Cod, yeast puree, potato, pickled onion and ox heart for this course. The cod cooked beautifully and flaked with ease on contact with my fork. I loved the battered and fried pickled onions as they reminded me of pickled onion crisps I used to have after swimming lessons down my local sports centre when I was a kid.

The dried and shaved ox heart I’d seen only the day before on the Masterchef finals when they travelled to Peru, which I was very intrigued by on the show so I was more than impressed when I got to see it in real life on my dish.


rhubarb and custard dessert at sosban and the old butchers


Having worked our way through an array of savouries, it was now on to the sweets of the tasting menu and first up was the Rhubarb and custard as outlined by the menu but it was way more than just that. With a perfect golden globe of white chocolate nestled between stewed rhubarb and puffed rice. The chocolate globe waiting to be smashed to release the vanilla pebbled custard magma core.

The really liked the contrast in textures and flavours from creamy custard, soft rhubarb with dry and crispy puffed rice and velvety white chocolate. A very dreamy plate of dessert and like none I’ve ever tried before.


lemon olive oil and chocolate lolly dessert at Sosban and the old butchers - Anglesey


Last but not least brings us to the lemon, olive oil and chocolate final dish. I thought we were having a whole chocolate log when a huge log started making it’s way to our table, but it was just the base for the lemon, olive oil and chocolate ice cream lolly. Not too disappointed I didn’t have to attack a whole log as I was pleasantly full at this point and much to my surprise as I was worried I might have to pop in a somewhere for a bag of chips on the way home.

Light lemony ice cream, subtle hints of olive oil encased in a crisp chocolate shell. A perfect end to a perfect meal. The other half is still banging on about the lolly to this day some 2 weeks later.

The Verdict

As mentioned previously this was my first encounter of Michelin Star quality food and without a peek of the menu beforehand I really didn’t know what to expect, although I was worried everything was going to be laser cut and eaten with tweezers leaving me still hungry but this was far from the truth. We had 8-9 dishes although the first few were appetisers and just bites the starters, two middle courses and two desserts certainly filled me up by the end of it as I do have a bit of an appetite.

The service was excellent and thought the front of house delivered a curated journey through each of the courses and always at hand for drinks or anything else we needed whilst sat at our table. I loved how homely it felt and relaxed for the calibre of food presented to us. The food was delicious from start to finish. I was adamant I would have a tasting menu of salmon 8 ways as it’s one of the only things I don’t like and without knowing what was on the menu, but luckily for me there was no salmon in sight. The two fish dishes we did get were spot on though.

It is still unbelievable to me how a restaurant so small with just two people working there can achieve the heights they have got to, but it just shows the hard work and determination from both chef and front of house to deliver consistently good food through the different seasons and my hats off to them.

Drinks wise there was a good choice of wines, nothing too overboard with bible thick menus to choose as I’d still be sat there choosing now and a reasonable price point starting at £20 for red and white. I did see someone drinking beer, but I wasn’t sure what selection they had so another drinks menu with alternatives to wine would have been good as I always refrain from asking the front of house to recite the whole fridge from memory. I also saw a few bottles of gin nestled at the back of the restaurant near the pass and can’t remember all that were on there so again a menu would have been handy but they did have Monkey 47, which is a favourite of some friends of mine and not an entry level gin by any means.

So would I recommend Sosban and the old butchers and was it worth the wait? I would recommend Sosban in a heartbeat and you can see why it has such a long waiting list not only because there are just 12 dinning per evening, but the food is quite remarkable. If you haven’t been yet then head over to their social media on twitter to be in the know when they release their next allocation of reservations as that’s how I found out just in time in October.

I’ve been a fan of Jamie, the man behind the Jol’s brand and restaurant for a few years after sampling most of his streatfood plates he’s dished up since I first stumbled on him about 3 years ago.

I’ve also known about his first restaurant venture in Merthyr since it opened about 18 months ago but just never got around to trying it sadly till now. When I saw a Travelzoo deal on for 3 courses for £45 I snapped it up just for an excuse to venture up the top end of the valley in Merthyr. I used to work over Merthyr college for a year a while back so I was aware there wasn’t much in the way of competition of that standard although Nant Ddu wasn’t bad for food but Jol’s being based smack in the middle of town it was a little more accessible with the train station less than 100 metres away.

Anyway Jamie O’Leary the owner and Chef learnt his trade under the wing of well respected Steven Terry of the Hardwick, which gives you a bit of an idea on the standard he’s used to cooking.

Jol’s the restaurant took over a hotel I visited once for an authentic Aussie Pie and Mash for lunch one afternoon whilst working over Merthyr although it’s been re-done and fitted out a lot better than the dark and dingy decor that stood before it when i visited last.

The Food

The menu changes frequently and is seasonal making the most of fresh ingredients in season and to hand for the restaurant and when we visited last night I was quite suprised by how many dishes were on the menu compared to a smaller menu I’d seen previously when browsing on their social media pages. Not that that’s a bad thing although it did mean it took me twice as long to decide from the salivating induced state it left me in from reading it.

After some deliberating I bit the bullet and chose the brown shrimp, hummus, raisins and ras al hanout spiced cauliflower to start.

Mwsh originally opted for the pork terrine but sadly they were all out so the waitress came back and asked her to choose something else. Again it was a toss up between a few contenders such as wild mushrooms on toast, salmon or Welsh Rarebit but eventually opting for the later. As standard we opted for the bread to share whilst we waited for our first plates to arrive.

house made bread and brown butter Jols Merthyr

First out of the kitchen doors came a tray of pipping hot, caramel esque mound of dough glistening with egg wash, which led Mwsh to quote it as the most amazing portion of bread she’s ever seen or eaten. It resembled mini hovis loaf with a healthy Quenelle of brown butter and flakes of smoked salt to sprinkle on top. The combination of hot spongy freshly baked bread, slathered and saturated glutinously in brown butter and shards of the smoked salt set the standard for the evening really. Perfectly simple but it put a smile on both our faces from the first bite.

The first course wasn’t long behind. A genous bed of hummus topped with raisins, corriander, ras al hanout cauliflower, almonds, dainty brown shrip and a mopping vessel in the form of chargrilled flatbread. There was a lot going on with the plate and I was a bit dubious as I don’t usually go for little prawns, only  king prawns as they are meatier but it was bloody lovely!

Welsh Rarebit starter Jols Merthyr

Mwsh’s plate of homemade bread with rarebit more than packed a punch and a daily helping of bacon as it was the first time in four days we hadn’t had bacon. Rich with sharp cheddar balanced with the saltiness of the bacon it was delish. Mwsh was ever so jealous of mine in comparison even though hers was good so seeing as it was her birth month celebrations still I let her swap halfway through.

Mains next and I opted for the roast rump of lamb with cauliflower, red currant gel,cavolo nero, anchovy and red wine sauce with a side of tripple cooked chips for good measure. I seemed to be living off cauliflower the past two days between Asdador and Jol’s so it must be in season. Luckily there wasn’t too much to get through even though I don’t mind a portion with my meal but can get a bit hard to stomach with too much unless it’s smothered in cheese sauce.

lamb main Jols Merthyr

The lamb was tender, slightly pink and easy to cut through. Accompanying it was a rissole / bon bon like lamb parcel to get through too, which was a nice suprise. Crispy crumb with soft, flaked lamb centre. The plate was brought together with a rich emulsion of red wine and anchovy sauce to add moisture to the contents of the plate and help me through the mountain of crunchy triple cooked chips.

It’s very rare we just take a punt on a dish on our own as we usually make a joint decision so we get to taste a few dishes we both like, but luckily for us theres usually two strong contenders we’re both torn between so this makes it easier and we get to try both then too. She opted for the Roast Duck & Orange this time. A contemporary take on a french classic featuring seared breast & confit leg roll with caramelised endive, buttered kale, burned orange dressing and skinny fries.

duck and orange main Jols Merthyr

The classic Duck a l’orange for me is way to sickly and I’ve felt my teeth disolving from the barrel load of sugar in the sauce in the past but this was more complex and the burned orange meant it was more tart than the usual sweet sickly flavour that would put me off normally. Crispy skin yet tender breast alongside the confit leg falling off the bone into rich, meaty and juicy ribbons of duck with ease.

Dessert was include in the deal so who was I to pass up an opportunity to sample some sugar laden stodge. Again it was a joint effort in pinning down two desserts to share so I decided to go for the chocolate brownie with salted caramel, macadamia nut praline and brownie ice cream. I don’t think it takes anyone with more than a average IQ to work out it tasted just as good as it reads. Gooey centre in the brownie with extra creaminess from the brownie saturated ice cream. The nut praline added a good crunch and texture with hit of saltiness from the caramel.

chocolate brownie ice cream dessert Jols Merthyr

My only feedback was it could of done with a bit more salted caramel as I could eat it by the bucket but luckily Mwsh had a small urn full so I stole some of hers. For dessert she opted for the Apple and sultana bread and butter pudding with caramel sauce and clotted cream. If we weren’t already over the edge this was pushing us close and we both had to battle the demons to finish our plates even though they were both superb but we were absolutely stuffed after 4 days of eating like kings for Mwsh’s birthday.

The Verdict

Mwsh’s verdict was it was faultless and couldn’t give one criticism and mine was basically the same apart form a little bit more caramel with the brownie but I was lucky she had loads with her dish so I couldn’t really complain not that it warranted a complaint I just have an unhealthy addiction to the stuff.

We will most definitely be back and if you haven’t tried Jol’s in Merthyr yet then what are you waiting for, get booking now! As I mentioned we had a deal on Travelzoo for 3 courses for £45 but we paid for a few extras such as bread for £3, tripple cooked chips for £3, bottle of Sauvingnon Blanc for £19 and £1 or £2 supplement on our mains as I think we got up to £22 value but ours came in at £23.

Starters come in at around £7, mains £22 and desserts around £7 too as a rough guide and the latest menu can be seen at Jamie will be bringing the Jol’s streetfood trailer to Womamby Street for Feast Fest Cardiff for a month starting last weekend to the end of August both Saturday and Sunday if you want to see what he’s rustling up in the mean time.

Most people have probably heard of the Savoy Hotel on the Strand in London and equally most are probably aware of the Savoy Grill Restaurant at the hotel. It wasn’t exactly on my radar of places to try when in London as I thought it would be a bit over my budget but I was lucky enough to get a Red Letter Day gift for lunch for 2 with a glass of bubbly for Christmas just gone.

What I wasn’t aware about the Savoy became the first luxury hotel in the whole of Britain when it opened in 1889. Built by Richard D’Oyly Carte next to the Savoy Theatre, which opened in 1881 it was the first hotel to be run completely on electricity. Frequented by many a famous patron over the years since then including serving Prime Ministers such as Winston Churchill who often held lunch meetings at the restaurant, Royal Families and musical royalty with the likes of Jimmi Hendrix, The Beatles and Frank Sinatra.

Savoy Grill Restaurant decor

The hotels first manager also happened to be CÈsar Ritz. Don’t know who he is? Neither did I but he went on to open his own hotel some years later, The Ritz.

With the hotel staying in the family until the passing of the final link in the bloodline who failed to bear any children in 1985 nearly 100 years after opening. The Savoy Hotel has changed hands a couple of times since then but has been under the direction of Fairmont Hotels since 2004. Closing in 2007 for a massive refurbishment originally estimated at around £100m, it finally opened back up in 2010 having passed the £200m mark.

This goes some way in evidencing the elegance and grandiuer art Deco styling of the Grade II listed Savoy Hotel and it’s adjoining restaurants and theatre.

The Food

The Savoy Grill serves mainly French affair with several different menus whether dinning for lunch, a la carte, pre theatre, tasting menu and they’ve even recently launched the Escoffier Signature Dishes menu in homage to the original chef in 1889 Auguste Escoffier.

As I was in receipt of a lunch offer our options were limited to the lunch set menu, which included a choice of starter, main, dessert and glass of champagne priced at £100 with Virgin Experience. What they do is take off the price of the lunch fixed menu and the champagne (at a cost of £90 if you just go direct with the restaurant) then you pay for any extras including service charge of 12.5% of the whole bill, this also happens to include the £90 they’ve already wiped out with the voucher.

Champagne and menu at Savoy Grill Restaurant

We were given the most amazing basked of bread to nibble whilst we pondered over the menu and found it very endearing that a waiter pushed a cart showing off the special of the day like a prized possession to each table. The special on the day, which was a Friday was a sort of seafood wellington containing Salmon instead of the usual beef, scallops and all mater of herbs and seasoning that I would of snapped up had it not had Salmon as I’m really not a fan sadly but the rest of the dish sounded amazing.

The lunch menu did seem pretty limited compared to the other menu’s and not exactly something I would of pictured on a Michelin Star restaurant but then it was probably half the price of the other menu’s and it’s more for the experience I told myself.



As always myself and Mwsh deliberated over who would have what so we could do a sharsies so she went for the smoked ham hock. Not one for soup and because I’ve got a slight obsession with goats cheese of late I opted for the goats curd with beetroot, hazelnut, lemon and dill.

Goats curd and beetroot starter at Savoy Grill Restaurant

As expected my starter didn’t have me clutching at my trouser waist band with the portion size with 4 little goblets of goats curd speared with micro dill stalks, dainty beets and little droplets of beetroot puree.

It tasted ok but I wasn’t bowled over really and didn’t leave me overly impressed. The goats curd wasn’t all that flavoursome and could of done with a bit of seasoning. The beets were just beets, you can’t really go too far wrong cooking them but overall I was hoping for something a bit more tantalising on the taste buds.

Mwsh’s ham hock terrine starter was a bit more generous with a healthy slab of meaty goodness to chomp with crispy bread, pickled carrot and extra hit of protein with the quails egg. A lot better seasoning with the terrine and tanginess of the pickles. This was definitely the better dish of the two.


With the limited options for mains and not taking a fancy to the special of the day I opted for the pan fried cod, purple sprouting broccoli, coco bean puree and smoked bacon veloute. Pre-empting the micro portions I thought ahead and decided to pad my dish out with dauphinoise potatoes at £6 and cauliflower cheese gratin for £5.50.

Fish main dauphinois potato and cauliflower cheese gratin at Savoy Grill Restaurant-2

This course definitely made up for the average starter. As expected the portion size of fish was fit for a child although cooked perfectly and flaked under the most gentle of pressure from my fork. The veloute added a nice saltiness to the fish from the bacon too. The coco bean puree just added a bit of substance to the small dish but the saving grace was the dauphinoise and gratin.

The dish had a thumbs up anyway but do not make the mistake of not ordering side dishes because you will be heading for the first burger joint on the way home as you’d be famished soon after. Dauphinoise being my favourite potato dish this did not disappoint. Ample portion between two with it being so rich although I think I might of just held it together to fight through and polish it off on my lonesome. The Cauliflower cheese gratin was made with a good powerful cheese and had me licking the spoon after dolloping each portion on our plates. Both came in their roasting dishes, which I thought was a nice touch too.

With only a veggie pasta dish or having to opt for paying a £12 supplement for a steak the only other option left on the lunch menu was the cottage pie for Mwsh with cheddar mash and horseradish. Also being wise the inevitable portions of the main she also topped it up with roast field mushrooms in garlic butter for an additional £4.50.

I was a bit surprised at the portion size of the cottage pie to be fair. Ok it wasn’t massive and wouldn’t of filled me on it’s own but it was bigger than I though. Then again you are paying £30 for it with a starter and dessert.

Taste wise I knew this wouldn’t be your average Whetherspoon popty ping cottage pie being the Savoy and it was deeply rich with the gravy and meat filling with an equally as moreish potato topping. Mwsh isn’t the biggest fan of horseradish but she was left with little option to go for this on the menu with the small selection of mains but it was faint if not at all made out on it’s own against the other flavours of the dish. Lovely garlicky mushrooms, now who doesn’t like those?


As had been the feeling for the whole menu, the starter really didn’t get me all that excited considering the venue, history and grandeur of the surroundings. They sounded more like pub grub that Michelin Star lunch menu but I had a dessert in with the fixed menu and I was going to eat one.

Having already opted for one course I didn’t fancy another and the buttermilk yogurt, blueberry jam with oat and seed granola sounded a bit like my breakfast overnight oats so those were out. That left just two options so we both took a stab and one each to compare. I went for the old favourite sticky toffee pudding with vanilla ice cream.

Sticky toffee pudding dessert at Savoy Grill Restaurant-2

Moist, sticky, spongy and moreish sponge topped with healthy slathers of toffee you can’t deny it wasn’t a decadent dish and I wolfed every morsel down but you can have sticky toffee pudding anywhere and I wanted something that would wow me on this occasion.

Being the only option left Mwsh went for the chocolate mouse with polenta shortbread. Rich and chocolaty with nice crisp shortbread. Again it tasted fine just nothing to write home about or put a big massive smile on my face after discovering something new.

We also got the softest most intense chocolate truffle and a meringue after we had finished our 3 courses on the house too.

Chocolate Truffle and meringe at Savoy Grill Restaurant

The Verdict

Apart from my beet and goats curd starter everything oozed flavour and richness but there was nothing in the dish I couldn’t have knocked up at home. You’re paying for the experience of dinning in such an historic hotel in a stones throw from Trafalgar Square.

Ok it is a lunch menu and it is cheaper than the a la carte but don’t be fooled by the original price of the set menu if you’ve had it as a gift. We had the 3 courses and glass of champagne at a cost of £100 but going direct with the restaurant you would have saved £10 costing £90 instead.

That champagne isn’t going to last you 1 hour 30 minutes to 2 hours so you’re going to order a bottle of something else too. We opted for a Marlborough Sauv Blanc around £43 and the enthusiasm of the waiters that won’t sit long in the ice bucket before they keep topping up the glass. We opted for 3 sides, which I’d thoroughly recommend because what comes with the menu will not fill you up unless you stock up on bread at the start and the waiter was happy enough to ask us if we required more after the first basket. We had a 2nd and they would of given us a third but we kindly declined. It was a bloody good selection of bread mind.

Savoy Grill lunch menu bill

So the sides added another £16 to the bill making it about £60 on top so far and then when you get the bill don’t be surprised to have 12.5% of the whole bill added to the cost of the gift voucher. So what started as a gift voucher for a free 3 courses and glass of champagne came to a total of £167, subtract the voucher value of £90 and we had to stump up nearly £80 extra. I don’t know about you, but that’s a pretty expensive lunch.

So would I recommend the Savoy Grill? Just to say you’ve tried the first luxury hotel in Britain’s restaurant and the chance to sample a restaurant under the guidance of love or hate him Gordon Ramsey then yes I would. I can’t see me rushing back for lunch there but I’m glad I tried it and would say the same to anyone else thinking about it but just bear in mind of the extra or other hidden costs you might encounter if you see a 3 course lunch for £30 that’s all.

The lunch will set you back £30 direct and the glass of bubbly was about £15 making it £45 each but we had it for £100 for two with Virgin Experience. Even though it’s £10 more than direct it does make a good present for a foodie lover as it lasts between 6-12 months and can be booked as and when they wish to dine there. I had mine for Christmas but waited till just after my birthday in May so they can keep it for a more suitable time rather than just booking the restaurant and offering to pay.

The dishes although most of them full of flavour I think they could come up with a few new and more exciting dishes if I’m being honest.

Having tried the best Pizza in Rome and wandering around St Peter’s Basillica with a blistered and beetroot red scalp for a while with no hope of beating the qeueues into the Vatican before close there was only one thing left to do…rehydrate with a cocktail of course!

A quick scout online for the best places for a gin in Rome brought back some good results with a few hidden bars and speakeasy places coming out on top such as Jerry Thomas Speakeasy, Club Derriere and Spirito but none of them opened till around 10pm and it was just pushing 4pm.

One other place that kept coming up was the Stravinskij Bar at the 5* Rocco Forte Hotel de Russie. Aparently they do the best Martini in town and seeing that that’s my tipple of choice we were sold.

Roads were basically at a standstill at this time around the Vatican and google maps reconed it would only take an extra 2 minutes to walk the 1.3 miles from our location so thought this would be a good time to burn off the 3 million calories I’d consumed in the past 48 hours and seeing there was treasure at the finish line we set out on foot armed with my ever frustrating google maps on my phone.

The Bar

We arrived at the hotel after more than a handful of pit stops to browse at bloody crockery as usual. We walked through reception and headed to the back of the hotel where we guessed the bar might be. There were garden chairs and sofas nestled amongst heaters and unopened parisolls on a patio area in a courtyard between the hotel buildings but thought it looked a bit low key considering the reviews we had heard online.

I wandered over to one of the waiters to ask where the bar is and he said you’re in it to my slight dissapointment as we could see terraces overlooking the courtyard embellished in sunlight. Apparently that was the restaurant but the view looked so much better than the patio courtyard below and come on I’m from Wales who knowns when i’m going to actually see the sun again this year.

I wish i’d just ordered a plate of chips looking back now to sit up there with a dirnk but I was parched and needed to rest my little trotters. We pondered over the drinks menu whilst the waitress tempted us with an array of complimentary snacks from mixed olives, a variety of crisps and honey baked almonds. These got me pining for my first Martini of the trip with the tray loaded full of salty favourites and there were more concoctions on the menu than i’ve ever seen.

The Drinks

After some deliberating I opted for the Gold Bond Martini with both gin and vodka with a glimmering display of gold flakes swirling round in the martini glass. Pointing out the obvious it was a potent mix of alcohol, mixed with alcohol watered down with yet more slightly weaker alcohol pimped up with a healthy portion of gold flakes to jazz it up and lemon twist for extra zing.

There were a few others I was torn between but this was a good choice. It was a good job were were just sampling the one (at 22 euros a pop) we just thought we would see what the bar was like but I wouldn’t be steady on my feet after many that’s for sure.

Mwsh opted for a prosecco based fruity number although not of the martini variety. That was ok, had a slight Pimm’s feel to me and at that price I wanted a that hit of alcohol to headbut me in the face but it was a bit to reserved for my liking.

The Verdict

After being a bit disheartened at first not having a seat up on the sun laced terraces I did enjoy the relaxing ambience of the terrace down below (after about 15 minutes of some devil child bawling uncontrollably till the Russain looking child bride and Oil Oliagarch handed over said child to the stone faced nanny who soon got it to sleep).

It was a far cry from the tidal wave of tourists within the Vatican, noisy car and motobikes weaving in and out of traffic and the relentless assault of sales pitches from street reps trying to sell you JUMP THE QEUEUE tickets for the Sistine Chapel.

Ok so 22 euros a pop for cocktails isn’t cheap but this was a 5* hotel and one of the best in Rome at that plus the snacks we got probably would of cost us around 15 euros in any other bar no doubt. If we weren’t so pushed for time and was celebrating a birthday or something I’d definitely stayed to tick off a few more of the Martini’s on the list and would encourage anyone to swing by if you’re in Rome even if it’s just for one.

Me being me, we didn’t do any prior planning for Rome on where to go, what to see and where to eat so after a bit of wandering around the streets of Rome after a bit of sightseeing down at the Coloseum we stumbled on a building that looked so out of place amongst the weathered, ornamental and dust clad structures with it’s grass coat and illuminous fairy lights drawing our gaze across the city.

I was hungry but fancied a pint whilst we gathered our thoughts and pinpointed our next culinary target to feast upon during our gargantuan expedition to feed our ever gluttonous bellies.

The place was empty but had a ground floor open window with seats that promised views out onto the Roman streets, whilst sipping a beer and eagerly swipping pottential eatteries within walking distance.

By now I was appetite for the only beer I seemed to find Moretti was waivering and luckily for me they had a few craft beers in the fridge. Mine was a Brooklyn IPA pushing 7%.

As the old saying goes “when in Rome…”, we thought we would stay true to the saynig and question the guys working in the bar / coffee shop to find out where the locals hang out and the best place to go for one of Rome’s most famous exports after their love of murder, pillaging, roads, pillars, bridges, auqauducts, arches, statues of micro penises and my favourite pasta dish “Spagetti Carbonara”.

Luckily for us they pointed out a little traditional Italian restaurant on the same street not even 100 yards away called Taverna Romana. A quick gander on Google to check some reviews and we were sold. We finished off the beers and took a walk down using my ever so annoying google maps app, which if you’ve attempted to use whilst walking you would realise my frustrations but luckily for us it was on the same road so even when the app did tell us we were walking in the wrong direction several times we found it quite easily.

We thought we just arrived after a guided tour had been dropped off outside the restaurant as there was a small gathering outside the door so after a few minutes I politely asked one of two of the bystanders if they were qeueing to get in for food. It seems that even though there were a number of other restaurants within spitting distance this is the place everyone wanted to go and as it was quite a small place they fill up quickly and then work on a table out a table in system.

Luckily for us a group of 4 or 5 decided to walk off and 10 minutes later the waitress came out to usher the ones at the front who had made an earlier reservation to their seats. We then asked could we get a table for 2 and she obliged and said thank you and closed the door to a bewildered look from both of us. How long would we have to wait? Who knows but seeing as this was the only place we’d passed gaining an ever expanding qeueue we wanted to see what the fuss was all about.

It was probably only another 10 minutes and the waitress called us in for a table next to the glass fridge.

We had had a browse on the menu whilst waiting outside and were trying to stare each other out to win the decider on who would get to order the Carbonara and to my good fortune I’d come out on top.

The Food

After the previous 24 hours scouring the streets of Venice looking for a proper Italian experience and a menu that epitomised Italian cooking I think we had come out trumps with this little finding.

The Italians don’t seem to do starters as we would know them in the UK and from what we could see just consisted of a charcuterie board and at nearly 15 euros seemed to be more expensive than the mains but they were probably for sharing.

By looking at a selection of menu’s on our travels we realised they tend to opt for a pasta dish for first coars then a meat or fish dish for 2nd course then a dessert if you’re feeling brave.

First thing was first and we sat down with a good bottle of Italian red wine to ponder some more over the menu.

traditional spaghetti carbonara at Romana Taverna in Rome

I opted for the eagerly awaited Carbonara for first coarst and Mwsh opted for the a tomato based Roman inspired pasta dish the Fettuccine alla Romana consisting of veal meat in a rich mushroom and tomato red sauce.

To be fair the front of house and guys hidden behind the wall in the kitchen worked like a well oiled machine from first impressions turning over tables, taking orders and delivering the fresh perfumed scent of ladened pasta dishes to hungry diners.

We didn’t wait long for my first experience of a pasta dish for starter and my first encounter of the Roman born real Carbonara dish. Who ever was on the Pecorino Romano/ Parmigiano Reggiano duties was feeling generous and the spagetti seemed so creamy it looked like they had strayed from the traditional Absolutely No Cream!

The pasta was cooked how it’s supposed to be with a good bite, plenty of cheese on top and the Romans don’t use Pancetta as I once thought, they use Guanciale. This is from the cheeks of fatty pigs unlike Pancetta that comes from the belly. I could tell the difference as there was very little meat on the nuggets of of pork rinds it was predominantly fat with the tinniest of layers of pink meat running through it. Slightly crisp, this gives the meaty flavour and the emulsion of oil to help bind the egg yolks too.

Unlike my bastardised version of the Carbonara featuring half a kilo of garlic per kilo of bodyweight of the peson I’m cooking for some recipes do without any at all using just the cheese, egg yolk, Guanciale and splashes of cooking liquor.

I’m all about flavour so mine combines shallots, shit loads of garlic, mushrooms and a bit of oil or butter to help gloss the mushrooms too. I’m glad I tried this traditional Carbonara but I think my interpretation of the dish was a bit more tasty and packs a bigger punch. I had a fork full of the veal and red sauce dish from Mwsh and that was also good but think I prefered my plate I was chomping on.

Secondi or second course I chose the Polpette or meatballs in red sauce to non locals. not knowing to me but they came just as described on the menu with meat balls and red sauce…and nothing else. It was a good job we ordered some bread and potatoes on the side as these added to a bit of stodge to the plate not that I needed it after a first course of pasta. Mwsh went for the Involtini dish with tender slices of rolled beef in a tomato based sauce and cheese.

Two giant meatballs swamped in a generous helping of red sauce took centre stage on my plate. I gentley crushed my fork into the meaty balls expecting a bit of give with course chunks coming off but but they were so tender and just crumbled under the pressure of my fork. When i’ve cooked meatballs in the past i’ve fried them in the pan or baked them on 200c in the oven usually turning them into something that resembled the conkers in colour and hardness.

Due to the sheer size of these meatballs they must of been baked low and slow in the sauce so they cooked through gently and melted in the mouth. We had to ask this time for some Parmagianno / Pecorino but it balanced the dish perfectly so it wasn’t overly tomato based anymore.

I wasn’t overly fussed on dessert and didn’t have much space for it.

Things started to wind down and I think they waiter and waitresses seemed to take their foot off the gas from being worn out form the converyor of punters through the door that evening as we did ask for the bill but had to wait about 20 minutes for it after asking twice.

Romana Taverna bill and review

The Verdict

I’m glad we found this little gem of a place because the Taverna Romana really did ooze traditional Italian charm. It was so cosy inside with us parked up next to the large glass fridge there was no pretence and you could tell people were just there for the food and on our 3 day trek across Italy we never saw anywhere quite like this place with qeues waiting outside to be seated with a mixture of locals and those who had been lucky enough to stumble upon such a great eatery too.

I did enjoy the Carbonara and they stay true to the authentic recipe without any of the essential items i’ve got in mine although I couldn’t tell if they had a little drop of cream to the mixture as they couldn’t get it that creamy from just cheese, cooking liquor and egg if i’m honest but it was good to try with the Guanciale instead of my Pancetta flavoured back bacon from Cure and Simple to compare.

One of you needs to order the meatballs if you’re going in a pair but make sure you order some carbs or side to go with it as it comes with just the meatballs and sauce. We ordered bread and the delicious roasted and percectly seasoned potatoes. It was a struggle to get the two plates down and I did sit there and have a breather till I had a second wind but I wasn’t leaving till i’d consumed both including the bread and potatoes.

I couldn’t comment on the desserts as I didn’t sample one but what I would suggest is you visit the restaurant earlier in the afternoon or evening to book a table as it was a normal Monday night and they were one in one out waiting for a table. We asked the waitress too and she confirmed it was like that every night, which also goes to show how much in demand a spot is valued by locals and visitors to the Italian City.

I’ll be honest I’d not heard of Amesoeur until this week and me being me i’m always keen to try something knew so was more than happy to attend to sample some items on the new menu.

Located at 98 Crwys Road, opposite Shaws it was easy to find although I always dread going anywhere for food along City Road, Crwys Road or anywhere in Pontcanna usually but 2 attempts up the side streets and we happily found a small space to squeeze the Abarth into.

Based on the name Amesoeur Bistro I was expecting some french flair in the food menu but was suprised to see a more tapas style offering. Not that that’s a bad thing as I tend to prefer to order a selection of small plates to share as opposed to a mound of the same thing especially if it’s not quite to your taste if you’re being adventurous as you’ve still got 5 or 6 more that make up for it.

The menu is broken up into 3 sections with those from the farm featuring mainly meaty plates, then there was the sea with you guessed it seafood and then those from the field so more of your veggy side dishes.

We were given a brief overview of the menu by the owner who was very friendly and happy to help with any questions and recommended dinners usually go for around 3 dishes each. I’m always worried when I go for tapas style food or mezze as you never know what the portion size is going to be like and being left hungry with no option to grab a bag of chips on the way home.


We were both drawn to the seafood section and the trust favourites of prawns, muscles and squid so went for the garlic king prawns, cayenne and parsley butter (£4), salt and chilli squid rings in lemon and coriander dip (£4), steamed muscles in garlic and cream sauce (£4).

Although the options on the meat section sounded good I wasnít in the mood for most of them but the sautéed potatoes with crispy cured beef sausage, coriander, chilli, garlic and ginger (£3.50) sounded too delicious to skip over.

No meal is complete without some form of melted cheese and another fav added to the list lately is goats cheese especially after my eggy crumped, goats cheese and bacon brekkie I did last weekend. We opted for the deep fried goats cheese with honey dip (£3.50) and thought we might have to have at least one veggie dish so the butter beans in paprika and bbq glaze was an obvious choice.


I decided to sample the one cocktail as it was my last day in my job the day after and celebrating the new job but didnít want to overdo it so stuck to the one and a beer. There cocktail list wasnít overly expansive but thatís not what they specialist but what was on there did look inviting. Iím always weary with cocktails of late since switching over to the dark side with my gin or whiskies with little or no mixer so I find cocktails and even my previous fav spiced rum and coke way too sweet. Most of them had the inclusion of sugar syrup and based on other more well known places in Cardiff who rely on ready made syrups they leave me feeling a bit sickly so I opted for the Earl Grey containing Earl Grey surprise surprise, double measure of Gin, honey and lemon.


I didn’t know what to expect again before it came especially as the menu seemed to display the measures of the mixers as well including 50ml of lemon, which I was hoping wasnít going to be too sour but the drink was so refreshing and perfect balance of gin and mixer. Mwsh opted for another gin cocktail with the Elderflower, Cucumber Collins and that was equally as fresh and moreish. I could easily have sunk another few and not felt the sugar eating away at the insides of my stomach like they do in some places.

Partial to a good beer I thought I’d see what was on offer, sadly there were no draughts on tap but they had Brooklyn, Corona, a cider I believe but I opted for a Samuel Adams as I’d not tried that before.

The Verdict

I was very suprised by the food as I really didn’t know what to expect with the suprise tapas style as opposed to what I was expecting in the way of French Bistro esque menu items. We couldn’t fault anything on our plates and everything was so tasty and just so inviting to eat with it glistening in flavour and seasoning. It was a welcome change from the bland, microwaved plates I’d become used to with tapas from La Tasca over the years. You could see the chef put love into each little plate, which was validated when our food came out and they opologised that we would have to wait for the goats cheese as he had another batch on as he wasn’t happy plating up the first one so that just goes to show he’s proud of every dish that leaves the kitchen doors.

I was apprehensive when I saw the extent of items on the menu as I wondered how fresh the food would be or how long we would be waiting to put together the vast amount of items on the list as it was probably bigger than any tapas menu i’d seen previously but I was pleasantly surprised how fresh and tasty each dish was. The only thing and this is clutching at straws that I could give in terms of constructive feedback is the bread and oils starter we ordered was difficult to soak up any of the balsamic with the oil and we came to the conclusion this was because the bread was toasted. Tasted find but I do like a good evenly proportion of oil to balsamic on my ciabatta but being toasted none of the vinegar seemed to stick.

We were looking for flaws but couldn’t really find any to be honest each dish was equally as delicious. I was expecting onion ring style squid but it was more like fresh chunks without the usual overbearing stodgy batter. The surprise dish was the butter beans in paprika and bbq glaze that packed a such a flavour punch and we were discussing recreating them even as we ate with a recently purchased jar of Gran Luchito chilli honey and even bought a tin of butter beans from Tesco on the way home to try this weekend.

We couldn’t see a dessert menu anywhere to hand or blackboard as you sometimes get so on asking if they did any there was a carrot cake or strawberry cheese cake to choose from. Sold! One each to share and sample it was and both priced at £4.

I did see a cheese sharing platter on the main menu so there was always that option too I guess. Anyway the cakes came out and both in mammoth portions. I was expecting the carrot cake to be a bit dry as I think it might have been from the bar under a glass cover and Iím always conscious of how long theyíve been festering there sometimes but it was perfectly moist with just the right proportion of buttercream sandwiched in the middle and on top. The cheese cake came in a ceramic taps style dish and had a surprisingly uncompressed biscuity base under the strawberry cheesecake top but didnít detract from the moreishly addiction Iíd just acquired from both desserts whilst taking a stab at each on in turn with my fork.


After doing a bit of searching for Amesoeur online I noticed they were on Wriggle back last week with 6 plates and 2 desserts for £19.95 with a value of £33 so keep an eye on Wriggle Cardiff to see if they pop back up on there. If you use the discount code AUHPSS at the checkout on the Wriggle Website or going to refer a friend and add a code you get £3 discount off your order and get it for £16.95 for an even better discount.

They also did 3 courses and a glass of wine for £10 for black Friday so I’d keep an eye on their social media for the latest deals too.


Amesoeur Bistro
98 Crwys Road
CF24 4NQ

Tel: 029 2022 8808

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.


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.


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


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.


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


After a bit of over indulgence the night before and stocking up on every item on the menu for breakfast at the Queens Hotel in Chester in the morning I wanted to go easy for lunch especially as we were booked in at The Lobster Pot for tea.

We decided after I’d regained vision from being speared in the eye from a room diffuser stick in the shop next door that we would share a light lunch just to tie us over till tea later on. We were ushered to a table out the back near the windows to where the Menai met the sea but held off on ordering till the front table and stools were vacant so we could enjoy lunch with a view.


The Food

Skinny Fries – £3

Slaw – £3

Goats cheese, parma ham, rocket, fig pizza – £10.95

I was fancying the pepperoni, lamb mince and chilli pizza but got my arm twisted to go for the goats cheese, prosciutto, fig and rocket pizza after the tantalising good one of the same name in the Eisteddfod in Abergavenny the previous week so thought it would be good to see how they compared.

The pizza was noticeably larger and thicker than the wood fired counterpart at the Eisteddfod but lacked the flavour, crisp and smokiness only achievable on a wood fired oven. I had to double check they hadn’t forgotten the prosciutto on top at first as it wasn’t exactly dripping with it or tasting of it to be honest. What it made up in dough volume it lacked in topping density and flavour compared to the one from Anna’s Wood Fired Pizzas as that had bit chunks of caramelised goats cheese, mounds of crisped stringy prosciutto and tender figs. Also what I wasn’t overly keen on was the overcompensation of flavour using way too much honey on top too it did nothing for me and spoilt it to be honest although I was appreciative of the bit of flavour it added to an otherwise unappealing plate of dough and cheese. Ok maybe that was a bit harsh as I did eat it all but i wasn’t bowled over with what I was served for £11. The skinny fries delivered what they said on the tin, with a good coating of the table Halen Mon salt tub on show and a good dollop of creamy slaw to offer some low carb alternative to what was already on my plate.

I’d try the place again for sure maybe some of the tapas or fish but wouldn’t rush back for a pizza.

We did take some of the shortbread biscuits, which on tasting with a cuppa back at the house must of contained 98% butter (not that i’m complaining) but were bloody good. The piccalilli tub we bought also came in handy for the following evenings BBQ and had a good spice to vinegar ratio with good crunch on the veg too.

It’s always the case when you visit somewhere new, when you haven’t got the foggiest idea where to go for food or a drink. It’s not so bad in a city as you can go for a mini adventure on foot as the streets tend to be straight and easily navigable but on an island attached to the mainland by two bridges and with little pockets of settlement and housing dotted around the island it sometimes becomes a little harder.

You can try the trip adviser method but sometimes you just end up with the Janes butty hut serving lunchtime sandwiches instead of a decent restaurant for tea. Luckily for me I was in the company of Ynys Mon born and bred Llio Angharad, so we had to dine where the locals dine at her favourite and by the sounds of it everyone elses favourite place to eat on Anglesey, the Lobster Pot. Seems it was a family tradition working at the Lobster as that was her first ever job so brought back some fond memories.

The Lobster Pot in Anglesey seems to be the islands worst kept secret with mostly only locals knowing about the quint little restaurant located in Church Bay about 25 miles or 30 minutes from Menai Bridge.

The Food

Starter : Anglesey Mussels – £7.50

Main : Lobster Surf and Turf 1/2 lobster thermidor and 8oz Fillet Steak – £29.95

Dessert: Sticky Toffe Pudding and Ice Cream – £5.25

The Lobster Pot had been feeding the local Anglesey residents lobster, crab and oysters since 1946 and when dinning at a fish restaurant with so much experience and their speciality in the name of the business there wasn’t much that was going to stop me having lobster.




I had opted to give mussels a miss for lunch at Dylan’s in Menai Bridge a few hours before knowing I was coming to The Lobster Pot so thought I’d go the full sea food hog for tea. I opted for the Anglesey Mussels steamed with garlic, onions, cream & white wine with a chunk of bread drowned in real butter to mop up the hearty broth. I’ll be honest I could probably have smashed a whole boule of sourdough to soak up every last drop of the sea kissed juices eagerly staring at me from the bottom of the pot but i didn’t want to crash and burn too early.

I managed to sample a little nugget of scallops from Llio’s starter of Scallops Mornay, which were basked in Welsh Cheese sauce, reminding me of my favourite starter ever the St Jacques Coquilles sauce minus the crispy pipped potato. My buttered bread chunk gliding over the plate like a stealth bomber stealing a dollop of sauce to sample the flavours of the other starter on the table.

Main course I was looking to the most. I’ve had lobster quite a few times but it’s just been grilled with a bit of garlic butter and a few herbs liberally sprinkled like confetti on top but i’ve always fancied the lobster thermidor after watching a programme on BBC of them painstakingly preparing them for dinners on the Belmond British Pullman. Unless I was going to fork out for a 5kg beast I knew a £25 lobster wasn’t going to fill me up so I opted to sample some of the finest Anglesey fillet steak cooked medium rare to compliment the fish course.

I couldn’t decide where to stab my fork first the succulent, blood licked fillet or the white flakes of lobster submerged in the creamy, blistered cheese sauce but it had to be the lobster i’d been dying to try for so long. The sauce was something else it truly was and didn’t want it to end scraping every last morsel from the lobster shell and the steak was so tender, with a perfectly seared crust yet melted in the mouth and knife glided through it like butter. The steak wasn’t complete without a good dusting of Anglesey’s finest export with the white tub of Halen Mon taking centre stage on the table.

lobster at the lobster pot Anglesey


I was torn on the desserts hoping for a cheese board to share but with none on the menu I set up on a trust favourite the sticky toffee pudding and ice cream. A perfect ending to the 5* previous two courses, the portions were just right with a warm, moist sponge, buttery toffee drizzled on top with ample scoops of good vanilla ice cream. No Walls shit here that’s for sure.

sticky toffee pudding at Lobster Pot Anglesey

If you are on Anglesey and looking for some of the finest sea food the island has to offer then make sure you pencil in The Lobster Pot because it truly was the best lobster dish and one of the best cuts of fillet i’ve tasted. Everyone we spoke to about our booking for tea were in no denial we would enjoy the meal, which goes to show the quality is something they pride themselves on in the old cottage restaurant.

Contact Details

Church Bay, Anglesey, LL654EU.
01407 730 241

So last week I decided to explore a bit more of North Wales considering i’ve probably visited more of England than my home country. I flew to Anglesey from Cardiff and not sure where to visit at first and it still being quite early I decided on a drive to Colwyn Bay to sample breakfast at Bryn Williams at Port Eirias.

It took a bit a while to get to the promenade as there were signs up saying road closed yet no other road to get to Bryn Williams restaurant on the front so we took life in our own hands and sped past the signs and parked up outside.

The place seemed to be nestled inside a visitor centre on the front of Colwyn Bay and looked like a collaboration between the local council and the well known Welsh Chef no doubt taking on local food college student’s to teach them a trade by dishing out well presented plates to visitors of the beach front location.


I loved the decor inside although it did look like it was built then dropped in the middle of a community centre and didn’t quite blend in to the rest of the building but then that’s not their problem as the rest of the building seemed to be council run with a lot smaller budget. There were plenty of Bryn William’s latest books scattered around on the book shelves for you to take a look at and add to your order and if the weather wasn’t like a monsoon outside it would of been an amazing view with breakfast or lunch. I wouldn’t be surprised if they let you take the food outside if the sun was out but it was just my luck it was grey, wet and miserable out there.


I’ve been on a mission of late to sample as many breakfasts as possible in hope that it will spurn me on to keep this blog up to date and keeping in with my usual full breakfast and to compare it to last week’s one at the Angel Hotel in Abergavenny I settled for the same.

The Food

So on expecting the menu and browsing the Facebook page the smashed avocado and runny poached egg did start me salivating but for a fair comparison to the Angel full breakfast it was only right I ordered the same here although I skipped on the Bloody Mary seeing that I had to drive to Chester for the night after i’d finished my food.

The full breakfast contained the following:

  • Sausage wheel
  • Poached egg
  • 2 rashers of bacon
  • Gilled Tomato
  • Flat mushroom

I was asked if I wanted toast, which I quite rightly agreed to with no mention of the extra £1.50 charge on top of the £8.50 I wasn’t impressed when this showed up on the bill.

Instead of the Bloody Mary like last week I opted for a blend of breakfast teas in a pot for £3 and had enough for just over 2 cups and was a good brew to be fair but I was a bit disappointed with the breakfast. The black pudding, which I’ve been a recent convert after only knowing charcoal briquette like examples from a burger van I was put off for years was the saving grace on the plate and was the best i’ve tried yet. The breakfast was ok and i’ve probably had worse but it just didn’t fill me with excitement especially with the name of the chef above the door.

My fellow guest had the Eggs Royale again for a fair comparison to the ones ordered at the Angel the week before. I have to admit if I wasn’t so petrified of the sight and smell of avocado I would of been all over this as the portions were very generous and the oozing egg yolks paired with the creamy hollandaise did make me drool a little.

The verdict was very good for the Eggs Royale and i’d be tempted to try my favourite hangover cure Eggs Benedict a try or the avocado and eggs toast but I wouldn’t be in a hurry to go back from the full breakfast especially at £10 after the stealth tax on the toast added to the £8.50 cost. The Eggs Royale came in at the same price too but looked a lot more filling.

Total cost came in around £25 for the full breakfast, toast, eggs royale, coffee and tea.