One of my earliest memories as a wee nipper was visiting the local Toby whenever I stayed with my grandparents in Essex. The groaning plates of meat, the whopping Yorkshire puddings and the posh carrot batons all hold a special place in my heart.
However, when I last visited a Toby a couple of years ago it wasn’t as good as I remembered it. The meat was wafer thin, the potatoes weren't crisp and the gravy was as thick as treacle.
So the fact that Amser, the restaurant at Yr Hen Lyfrgell / The Old Library (the Welsh cultural centre in the city centre), do a banging Sunday carvery that lives up to my nostalgic memories is a very good thing.
Behind the stoves at Amser is the well-regarded Paj Jones; rumour has it his tenure at the long gone Le Gallois was the closest Cardiff has ever been to gaining a Michelin Star.
A single course will set you back £9.95 and you can add on a pud for £3 extra. There’s also a couple of cracking Pipes beers on tap if you want to make a day of it.
I ordered the pork loin and belly which were sourced from the Vale of Glamorgan and Abergavenny. This was first rate meat and there was an added bonus of crisp crackling on the belly.
Mrs G ordered the lamb, sourced from a few miles away in Rudry. Also super tender and well-flavoured Mrs G could perhaps have benefited from an additional slice.
A roast dinner is only as good as its trimmings and Amser’s are pretty fine and rather plentiful.
Crisp and fluffy Yorkshire puddings were the size of a grapefruit. Golden roast spuds were all crunch and fluff whilst the cauliflower cheese had a potent honk of cheese.
Buttery carrots, well-seasoned swede and carrot mash, creamed leeks, savoy cabbage flecked with bacon, flavoursome gravy and new potatoes completed the heaving plates of food.
Whilst Mrs G and I were both pretty stuffed I’ve come to terms with the grim reality that I don’t know how to say no to dessert.
Apple crumble comprised of soft cinnamon spiked fruit with a proper thick crumble top and a good ladle of vanilla fragranced custard.
Meanwhile a good sticky toffee pudding was cannily flecked with nuts and sultanas but was a touch too cakey rather than sticky.
Sunday roast at Amser is lovely. One of the most frequent questions I get asked is “where’s good for a roast dinner in Cardiff?” No doubt I’ll be adding Amser to my list of recommendations.
Address - Amser, Yr Hen Lyfrgell / The Old Library, The Hayes, Cardiff CF10 1BH
Telephone - 07342354356