Saturday, 6 September 2014

Falafel Kitchen, Crwys Road, Cardiff review


After hearing great things about The Falafel Café on Woodville Road, I was gutted when they closed before I ever had a chance to visit.

Thankfully, the closure wasn’t permanent; more of a hiatus.

After 8 months of hunting for new (and improved) premises, the owner has relocated to Crwys Road and renamed the business Falafel Kitchen.

Most importantly, it’s every bit as frigging good as I’d heard the previous incarnation was.


The daytime menu is simple yet focused – falafel, sabich (fried aubergine), chicken schniztel or spicy omelette are all served in either pitta or a baguette with houmous and salad.

In the evening there’s a slightly more involved menu featuring shakshuka, shawarmas and mezze platters.

However, with a name like the Falafel Café there’s only going to be one star of the show…

We both ordered the falafel (£4.50). 


Pitta bread, white for me and wholemeal for Mrs G, were both warm and pillowy.

A huge quantity of salad (which we helped ourselves to from the salad bar) featured a fresh range of shredded carrot and cabbage, finely diced tomato and cucumber, cleansing gherkins and pitted olives.


The main event, a generous handful of falafel, were moulded and fried before our eyes. Golden globes of herby deep fried chickpea goodness, they were epic. 

A good smear of silky smooth houmous and a couple of generous glugs of nutty tahini (it’s in one of the unmarked bottles on the salad bar) completed the masterpiece. 


I washed mine down with a can of pop whilst Mrs ordered an energising pot of cardamom infused Greek coffee.


Ridiculously delicious, excellent value and “healthy” by my standards, Falafel Café is a stellar lunch option.

The Details:
Address - Falafel Kitchen, 76 Crwys Rd, Cardiff CF24 4NP
Telephone - 02920228228

Monday, 1 September 2014

Cwtch, St Davids, Pembrokeshire restaurant review


Situated in the UK’s weeniest city of St Davids on the Pembrokeshire coast, Cwtch has built up a big reputation since opening its doors in 2005.

Named the Good Food Guide’s readers’ restaurant of the year in Wales 2012, they’ve since changed ownership and former sous chef Andy Holcroft has stepped up to the role of head chef.

It’s very much Cwtch by name, cwtch by nature. The dining room is a cosy, warm kind of place furnished with soft cushions, flickering candles, exposed wooden beams and a fireplace waiting to be lit when the chill of winter sets in.

The menu, packed with comfort food made using local produce, sticks to the same theme as well.


Whilst we picked from the evening menu, which offers either 2 courses for £26 or 3 courses for £30, we noshed on a plate of enjoyably spongy olive focaccia. 

 
Starters were successful across the board.

A couple of generous doorstops of tender ham hock terrine, flecked with apricots and pistachios, were served with punchy piccalilli.


It would be a shame to travel all the way to the Pembrokeshire coast and not eat some locally caught fish. Thankfully, the fruits of the sea are well represented on Cwtch’s menu.

Potted Solva crab was laden with tender white meat, earthy brown meat, flecked with fragrant coriander and topped with a good glug of clarified butter. Slathered over toast it was a cracking starter. 


Onto mains, where a couple of glitches slipped in.

A crisp-skinned fillet of sewin was beautifully flavoured but a little overcooked. It was accompanied by soft and sweet confit fennel, salty samphire and a distinctively Welsh take on a sauce vierge packed with Penclawdd cockles, olive oil, diced tomatoes & lemon juice. 


Mrs G Thai-style main was highly rated. A couple of tender sea bass fillets were served with perfectly sticky & fragrant jasmine rice, a delicately fragranced lemongrass and coconut broth and richness busting pickled ginger. 


A bowl of seasonal vegetables however was pretty uninspiring – boiled potatoes, carrots, broccoli and cauliflower needed at least a knob of butter to pep them up a bit. 


For dessert, a crème brulee was well executed; the crisp crust and creamy custard were both present and correct. 


A bara brith sticky toffee pudding meanwhile was a successful mash-up of two classics. A soft, sticky fruit-packed cake was drenched in toffee and chocolate sauce and accompanied by smooth vanilla ice cream. The only problem, it was served an odd lukewarm temperature. 


Dinner at Cwtch was really good but not faultless. It’s somewhere I’ll certainly be heading back to when I’m in Pembrokeshire.


The Details:
Address - Cwtch, 22 High Street, St Davids, Pembrokeshire SA62 6SD
Web - http://cwtchrestaurant.co.uk/
Telephone - 01437 720491

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