Thursday, 21 May 2015

Porro, Llandaff, Cardiff Italian restaurant review

Porro is the brand new restaurant from the team behind the excellent Potted Pig.

Located in the affluent suburb of Llandaff (an area short of decent restaurants), it’s a canny destination for their second venture. And with a menu of fairly priced, modern Italian food served in a classy dining space, all of the building blocks are in place for another success. 

However, before I move onto the food, it would be remiss of me not to mention the howling service issues we experienced on our visit. I’ll put these down to teething troubles two weeks after opening.

The problems were as follows - two tables that arrived after our group had their orders taken before us and then received their starters and mains before we had eaten even a single mouthful of food. It was a 1 hour and 35 minute wait until we finally received our starters and 2 hours and 20 minutes before we finally received our mains. By the time we left the restaurant, we were in Lord of the Rings Extended Edition territory.

Thankfully, the issue was resolved by a highly apologetic manageress who deducted the starters and main courses from our bill. And I’m 100% sure she had no idea who I was and that I’d be writing a review of my meal.

Rant over, let’s look at the food.

To start a giant meatball of tender Abergavenny beef and Hereford pork (£8) was delightfully fragranced with fennel and served in a rich tomato sauce topped with melted parmesan. 

Toast was topped with a generous mound of soft buttered leeks and oozy taleggio (£7).

Finally, a very good selection of cured meats (£9) included pigs cheek, wild boar speck, fennel salami and home cured belly pork. However, the portion was a touch on the dinky side and at nine quid a couple of slices of bread wouldn’t have gone amiss. 

Mains also largely hit the mark.

A crisp-skinned and juicy fillet of sea bream (£16) sat atop a vibrant mix of tender octopus, al dente asparagus, tomatoes, fennel and peas. 

Unfeasibly tender slices of porchetta (£14) contained a citrus-twanged stuffing. Accompanying crackling crunched perfectly and a refreshing salad of orange, fennel and sweet roast carrots balanced the richness of the meat nicely. A jug of light pork jus seemed unnecessary – the meat was soft enough already and it was too thin for dipping. 

House fries (£4) dusted in rosemary were brilliant. 

Finally, pappardelle with ox cheek (£16) combined silky pasta with yielding pieces of meat and a good background note of wine. The dish however was crying out for some salt and pepper… which was requested and not received until around ten minutes later (sorry, I said I’d stop moaning about the service).

Desserts were both splendid.

Moist almond, lemon and orange sponge (£6) nicely juggled sweet and citrus whilst a large dollop of mascarpone added an element of luxury. 

A lemon tart (£6) combined shortish pastry and a sharp filling studded with blobs of tangy ricotta. It was accompanied by vanilla fragranced rhubarb compote, the pieces of fruit still holding their shape well. 

The food we ate at Porro was mostly excellent and it's a restaurant which is definitely bringing something new to the city. 

I'd just put a couple of digestive biscuits in your pocket when you visit in case your meal takes longer than expected.

The Details:

Address - Porro, 22 High Street, Llandaff, Cardiff, CF5 2DZ
Telephone - (029) 2056 5502


  1. Oddly I visited the Potted pig for lunch yesterday , Fri 22/5 , reasonably busy , five front of house staff on , one certainly new , similarly others who were seated after were served before , no vast delay and we were not in a hurry , but others may be . The set menu was very good value and all very tasty , the cockles and lava bread with crispy bacon were considered the best encountered from someone who has them rather a lot , I digress.

    Point only being , and having read some other reviews, that they need some tweaking on the training , the food though you will enjoy.

    1. @Anonymous - Cheers for sharing your thoughts. I've always rated the food at Potted Pig and service has been great whenever I've visited - interesting to hear you had a few issues. The laverbread and bacon sounds lush!