Having immigrated to Wales 4 years ago, I know very little about the history of dining out in Cardiff. I’ve gleaned the following sketchy, uncorroborated pieces of information from Mrs G:
- The subterranean Pillar’s on Queen Street used to be insanely popular. Perhaps it still is but Mrs G hasn’t been in the last 10 years.
- Picking your own meat / fish to be cooked from the chiller counter at Le Brasserie or Le Monde on St Mary’s Street was once the height of sophistication.
- Bully’s was located in Llandaff, in a tiny, quirky space which was essentially someone’s front room. Their French cooking made it one of Cardiff’s first serious foodie destinations and it took weeks to get a reservation. .
Whilst Bully’s has since relocated to a larger venue in Pontcanna, there’s still an aura about the place. Its eclectic décor makes it one of the nicest dining rooms in Cardiff, front of house is run by the genial and knowledgeable Russell Bullimore, and it’s not every day Charlotte Church pops in to book a table whilst you’re having your lunch.
We visited Bully’s on a Saturday lunchtime. Their express lunch menu is a very good value 2 courses for £14 or 3 courses for £17.50 including a glass house wine - I had a glass of highly neckable chardonnay.
It’s worth mentioning how accommodating Bully’s were of the 2 rugrats who formed part of our group. Colouring pencils were supplied and the place mats made ideal colouring-in sheets. Also, an off-menu vanilla ice cream cone with sprinkles was conjured from nowhere for dessert.
Organic white bread with unsalted butter garnished with tea smoked sea salt was a demonstration of how seriously Bully’s take their food.
Mrs G ordered the soup de jour. Smooth, earthy sweet potato soup had great background notes of coconut and chilli.
My crayfish tail and sunblushed tomato tian was packed full of plump crustaceans. The crisp, refreshing apple pieces and punchy balsamic dressing balanced the dish nicely.
My light main comprised of crisp skinned, moist hake, precisely cooked runner beans and new potatoes. Some delicately flavoured red pepper oil added lubrication to the dish but a little extra saucing wouldn’t have gone amiss.
Mrs G’s loin of pork was a triumph of richness. Tender meat, crushed potatoes, French beans and a seriously creamy and earthy wild mushroom sauce combined to make the ideal dish for a crisp Autumnal day.
For dessert I had a spot on pineapple and vanilla crème brulee. Crisp caramel gave way to smooth vanilla flecked custard with just the right hit of pineapple. An average almond shortbread was served on the side.
Mrs G’s cheeseboard included some interesting and delicious socky, salty, creamy and goaty numbers.
Lunch at Bully’s was excellent and I can understand how they’ve established such a formidable reputation. I’m looking forward to sampling some of the more complex sounding dishes on their a la carte.
Address - 5 Romilly Crescent, Cardiff, CF11 9NP
Telephone - 02920 22 1905
Web - http://www.bullysrestaurant.co.uk/