Wednesday, 13 June 2012

The Meating Place, Cardiff Restaurant Review - Searching for Cardiff's Best Burger

The Meating Place occupies the former site of Porto’s on St Mary’s Street and they’ve done one hell of job updating the old tatty place. Retaining the dark wood beams and furniture of Porto’s they’ve transformed the restaurant through the use of a few well placed mirrors, a scattering of spotlights, a white washing of the walls and the odd black & white photo.

When I set out for an impromptu weekend lunch with Mrs G, my mind was fixed that I was going to order a burger. One glance of the Express lunch menu later and my resolve was tested. Attention grabbing options included an open sandwich of salt beef, ox tongue, piccalilli and potato salad (£4.90) along with a rather bargainous 8oz rib eye steak with hand cut chips (£7.95).

In the end I successfully stuck to my guns and ordered the burger.

The Burger – The Meating Place, Flame grilled bacon and cheese burger

1. Is it as tasty as a Big Mac? Nearly but not quite.

2. How was the patty? Served medium to well done, the perfectly proportioned patty was well seasoned and still moist. The flame grilling of the patty added a welcome flavour dimension (flame grill is certainly one of the trump cards Burger King holds over McDonalds). However, the level of charring was pushed to the very limit of acceptability.

3. How was the bun? Lightly toasted this beautifully glazed bun looked the part. The very good white roll cosseted the burger perfectly.

4. How was the other stuff in the bun? A generous number of rashers of thick well flavoured bacon, oozing cheddar and a couple of slices of tomato. Conspicuous by its absence was a good smear of ketchup and mayonnaise. I’m of the opinion that if you expect the customer to sauce their own burger then condiments should be brought to the table or offered without prompting.

5. How were the fries? Excellent. Crisp and fluffy. Proper chips.

6. What was the price? £7.50 Very good for the quality of burger especially with the cheese, bacon and chips included in the price

7. How were the sides? 

Onion rings (£2.50) were excellent; crisp, sweet and salty. The extra drop of grease made them a close second best to Mimosa’s.

8. What about the other food?

Mrs G ordered some very good Artisan bread (£2.00) and marinated olives (£2.50).

Her main of Perl Las, pear and endive salad (£4.90) was also enjoyed. The mildly bitter endive leaves were well dressed and balanced perfectly by the sweetness of the shredded pear and salty creaminess of the Perl Las.

The dessert menu read exceptionally well too. My innovative sounding baked hazelnut and muscavardo sponge with dark chocolate sorbet (£4.10) thankfully tasted as well as it read. The nutty and sweet moist sponge was accompanied by a smooth, chocolatey and cleansing sorbet as well as some delicious crumbled caramelised nuts. The little smear of what I think was vanilla flecked cream was slightly overpowered by the other flavours on the plate.

Mrs G ordered a bowl of smooth and just the right side of subtle coconut sorbet (£3.00).

8. How was the service? Good.

9. So what's the verdict? As a sibling establishment to the impressive Potted Pig and North Star, it’s not surprising that The Meating Place is executing interesting food in a stylish atmosphere. The burger is certainly one of the better I’ve eaten in Cardiff but it’s still some way off  the utopian Cardiff burger I have in mind. Most importantly, The Meating Place is another good independent city centre restaurant to add to the short but growing list.

The Details:
Address: The Meating Place, 41 St Mary’s Street, Cardiff, CF10 1AD
Telephone: 02920 224757

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