Saturday, 25 July 2015

The Pickled Radish @ The Laleston Inn, Bridgend restaurant review

The Laleston Inn is a slightly tired, quiet, gloomy and dated 700 year old pub in the village of Laleston near Bridgend. So far so unexciting.

However, around the back of the building there’s something far more interesting happening - The Pickled Radish has taken over.

Enter through the kitchen (and give the chefs a wave) and you arrive in a cosy dining room where the gloom has been lifted with a lick of paint and the addition of spot-lighting.

The Pickled Radish’s creative take on crowd pleasing dishes has perked things up even more.

Chicken liver parfait (£6.50) was described by Mrs G as the best she had ever tasted. Smooth, light and with just the right amount of richness, the jarful of pate was served with an ace Welsh ale and shallot chutney, well-dressed leaves and toasted brioche. 

Cheeky Fish ’n’ Chips (£9.80) was a beautiful looking and tasting plate - perfectly caramelised scallops, crisp battered cod cheek, a whopping chip, lightly pickled fennel and text book tartare sauce all combined brilliantly. However, the dish’s name should be banished to Room 101 immediately. 

DIY soup was a bit gimmicky but very tasty (£5.70). A pestle and mortar containing herbs, crispy onions and edible flowers was presented at the table. Once I’d bashed up the contents, a milk bottle of super fresh-tasting pea soup was poured over the top. 

However, the herbs didn’t deliver as much flavour as expected and the onions lost their crispness after a good grinding… in fact it would probably have tasted even better if had just been prepared like a normal soup. 

Peculiarly, pre-dinner snacks arrived after the starters; they were both lush. 

Mini honey & Welsh mustard sausages (£4) were not as described - they were in fact pieces of deeply spiced, tightly packed merguez sausage. Black olives (£2.50) served over ice were also of a high standard. 

Onto mains.

A tender fillet of hake (£17.50) was served with white bean stew made with a potent stock, buttered samphire, small pieces of that merguez and a butternut squash puree. The only criticism, the fish skin could have been crisper. 

A 56-day aged sirloin steak from Rosedew Farm (£20), Llantwit, was intense in flavour and super tender. In fact, it was so tender that no steak knife was required. It was served with a buttery, fragrant béarnaise sauce, and chips. 

A plank of pork lived up to its plankful billing (£18). A heap of blushing pink pork loin, crisp curls of crackling, buttered spinach, sweet corn puree, crisp & smooth polenta chips and smoked paprika mayonnaise were all on the nail. A cube of belly pork was good but could have been juicier. 

For dessert, a gooey as heck salted caramel brownie, studded with bits of honeycomb, (£6.50) balanced salt and sweet perfectly. It was served with an ice-cold raspberry milkshake and light caramel ice cream. 

Another chocolate-based pudding (£7) dialled the richness up to 11. A light pistachio-coated chocolate marquise was joined by tangy raspberry sorbet. An accompanying slab of fudge was too sweet for Mrs G so I courageously stepped into the breach. 

Lastly, a flowerpot of creamy coconut cheesecake (£6.50) was crisp of base and topped with desiccated coconut and a scoop of ice cream. A handful of frozen grapes were a revelation - sweet yet refreshing. 

Dinner at The Pickled Radish was excellent. Interesting, big-flavoured and generously portioned, they serve my kind of food. And with the super-friendly service and well-priced booze from the pub (a bottle of house pinotage cost £11), I’d highly recommend a visit.

The Details

Address - The Pickled Radish, The Laleston Inn, Wind St, Laleston CF32 0HS
Telephone - 01656 652946
Web -

Saturday, 18 July 2015

Sunflower & I, Florist / Cafe / Bar, Cardiff Bay review

My first date with Mrs G wasn’t much cop.

Sorry, let me clarify, the company was amazing but the food was pretty pants.

We were supposed to be going to Tayyabs for the best lamb chops in the whole of London but couldn’t be arsed to queue. Instead we ended up at one of Brick Lane’s identikit restaurants. Fortunately, Mrs G didn’t judge me on my choice of limp naan and watery passanda and agreed to go on a second date…

If I had my time again, I’d probably take Mrs G to Sunflower & I in Cardiff Bay.

This hidden gem is arguably the most beautiful cafe/bar/florist in the whole of Cardiff. Oh wait, it’s the only cafe/bar/florist.

The high-ceilinged space is furnished with a cornucopia of flowers, nik naks, a twig tree, eclectic furniture and a baby grand piano.

It’s owned by a Polish couple, a musician and a florist, so there’s often live music on Sundays. When we visited one of the owners was practicing an Italian opera accompanied by an impressively long-necked lute.

Cakes are bought in from a Polish bakery in London. Choux buns, cream and fruit-stuffed pancakes and apple pie all looked delicious.

I opted for a lovely combination of chocolate, cream and coconut with a hint of vodka (£2.50).

Beers are Polish too. A Żywiec pilsner and a Perla honey beer (both £3.90) were both very drinkable. A packet of mushroom and cream flavoured bruschetta (£2.50) channeled the intensity of Campbell’s cream of mushroom soup - addictive.

Sunflower & I is a hidden Cardiff gem. Here's the opening times - go.

The Details

Address - Sunflower & I, 1 Mount Stuart Square, Cardiff CF10 5EE
Web -
Telephone - 029 2048 4211