Saturday, 19 July 2014

The Bombay - Hunt for Cardiff's Best Breakfast

When The Bombay first opened on West Bute Street in Cardiff Bay in 1953 it was Wales’s first Indian restaurant. Having closed in the 1980s, it was reopened this year by the grandchildren of the original owner.

The Bombay’s characterful café interior is the home to a menu familiar from the cafés of Mumbai – breakfasts include bun maska (a toasted bun with butter, traditionally dipped in chai) and naan rolls, whilst lunchtime and evening curries are authentically cooked on the bone.

It was a dish recognisable from the menu of Covent Garden’s much-lauded Dishoom which immediately grabbed my attention.

The breakfast – Bacon naan roll

The price - £2.95

Pros – A crisp, nigella seed-laced naan cradled 3 rashers of crisp and salty halal beef bacon, a light smear of cream cheese and a scattering of fragrant coriander. A pot of fiery and sweet tomato jam on the side completed the picture.

Cons – There’s no hiding from the fact that beef bacon isn’t quite as good as the porky real deal. Also, a bigger smear of cream cheese wouldn’t have gone amiss.

Beverages - Sweet, milky, warmly spiced Bombay chai (£2).

The Bombay’s iteration of the bacon naan is lush (if not quite up to the faultless level of Dishoom’s) and very good value. Based on this breakfast, I’m looking forward to checking out the rest of the menu.

The details:

Address - The Bombay, West Bute Street, Cardiff Bay, CF10 5LJ
Web –
Tel – 029 2048 1148

Saturday, 12 July 2014

Cafe Citta, Cardiff food blog, Italian restaurant review

Cafe Citta’s reputation for good food is almost as well known as Sam Warburton’s egg-chasing talents. It’s a little ridiculous that’s it’s taken me so long to visit.

Such is the fan-base of this diminutively sized, city centre Italian restaurant that snagging a weekday booking required planning a good week in advance. However, it’s worth noting that there were a few successful walk-ins when we visited - the uber-friendly and efficient front of house team successfully managing to play table Tetris.

Cafe Citta’s menu isn’t gimmicky, it’s a hit parade of Italian classics. Furthermore, a specials board presented to the table on arrival provides greater choice for the regulars who’ve probably worked their way through the entire menu.

A Moretti (£3.60) served in a frosted glass straight from the freezer, immediately put me in a good mood. Mrs G meanwhile worked her way through a couple of glasses of seriously drinkable Sicilian house red (£3.50).

To start, Mrs G ordered gamberoni saltati (£7.50). A handful of whopping, juicy shell-on prawns were served in a broth rich with garlic, parsley and wine. Slices of tomato and shavings of carrot provided added substance whilst tranches of toasted bread were an ideal mop.

I ordered the bruschetta fave (£6.50) from the specials board. A doorstep of toasted bread was topped with a mountain of al dente broad beans and salty pancetta in a cream sauce, and shaving after shaving of Parmesan. If I’m being critical then the broad beans would have benefited from being double-podded - but who the heck has the time for that?

For mains, I couldn’t resist the draw of Cafe Citta’s wood-burning pizza oven; the pizzaiolo effortlessly tossing fresh dough at the back of the restaurant sealing the deal. 

My pizza con funghi selvatici e salsicce (£11) from the specials board was top-notch. A thin and crisp base with a good chew was topped with a light tomato sauce, gooey mozzarella, wild mushrooms and hearty chunks of Italian sausage. 

The other main, pasta con spezzatino (£11), was also on the specials. Al dente penne were topped with a light ragu of tender slow-cooked beef, carrots, peas and celery. It was a lovely summer alternative to the ubiquitous Bolognese but I reckon the sauce would have benefitted from a bit more body.

A side salad (£3.50) of sweet tomatoes, red onion, mixed herbs, olive oil and balsamic was impeccably fresh. 

Dessert, a light and zesty lemon and orange cheesecake (£4.30), was magnificent. The mascarpone and cream-rich top was reminiscent of a lemon posset whilst a crushed amaretti base and a syrup-poached orange zest garnish provided extra complexity.

A strong cappuccino (£2) was accompanied by praline filled wafers – a nice touch to round of the meal.

Cafe Citta is ace - don't wait as long as I have to check it out.

The Details:

Address - Cafe Citta, 4 Church Street, Cardiff CF10 1BG
Telephone - 029 2022 4040