Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Burger & Lobster, Cardiff restaurant review - menu revamp

It’s finally happened, Burger & Lobster Cardiff is the first in the chain to break away from their restricted menu of three items which all cost £20.

The writing has been on the wall for a while - I’ve had umpteen outraged comments about their awesome yet eye-wateringly expensive burger and when I visited on a bank holiday recently the restaurant was only a third full.

The £8 British beef burger
Now, it looks like Burger & Lobster have found the recipe for success with an expanded menu of lobster and beef dishes and far more accessible price points (including an £8 burger - that's more like it!).

Interestingly, the original burger, lobster & lobster roll all remain on the menu. But, the lobster and lobster roll have increased in price to £24 and £23 respectively whilst the burger has decreased to £15 - proof if ever it was needed that burger eaters were previously subsidising the lobster munchers.

On my visit I managed to put a good range of the new menu through its paces.

A B&L Iced Tea (£3) was an awesomely refreshing combination of Earl Grey, watermelon and lemon.

Onto the food and a trio of staggeringly good dishes stood out from the rest.

The smack brisket roll (£8) saw a delightfully crisp and sweet toasted brioche roll stuffed with shreds of tender 12-hour smoked brisket, lightly picked onions and gherkins (which deftly balanced the richness of the beef), and burger sauce.

The British beef burger (£8) is cracking value for money and arguably Cardiff’s finest (that is if you don’t want to pay £15 for B&L's Nebraskan beef burger). A perfectly medium-cooked juicy patty was served in a first-rate toasted brioche roll and joined by oozing savoury blue cheese, crisp bacon, pickles, salad and a slightly unnecessary sweet tomato relish.

Lobster Mac n Cheese (£5) is the kind of dish I’d happily mainline into one of my veins. The comforting pasta was bathed in a cream sauce heady with shellfish intensity and flecked with lobster meat. A layer of molten cheese completed the picture.

A seven samurai brioche lobster roll (£15) was filled with a generous quantity of lobster meat in a light wasabi mayo alongside cleansing white cabbage and cucumber. It was lush, but give me the £8 burger or brisket roll anytime.

Chunky chips with strings of melty cheese (£4) were crisp and fluffy - a decent example of their type.

Finally, a crazy blooming onion (£4) saw a lightly-battered whole onion with a potent garlic mayo.

Dessert was always Burger & Lobster’s weakest suit so thankfully they’ve revamped the offer here too. Arguably, the puddings still don’t match the very high standard of the mains.

A good almond-rich warm Bakewell tart (£5) was served with raspberry coulis and a vanilla-rich creme anglaise. However, the sponge was a touch heavy and the custard a touch too thin.

A sharing meringue (£8) was not for the faint-hearted. The ginormous meringue was served with a historically good combination of soft-serve vanilla ice cream, fragrant mint and fresh raspberries. The dessert would have been improved further with a lighter and chewier meringue.

I loved Burger and Lobster before their revamp but couldn’t justify visiting regularly to eat their £20 burger. Now, I think they’re going to have to reserve a regular table just for me.

Disclosure - I was invited as a guest of Burger & Lobster, all food and drink was complimentary

The Details:
Address -
Burger and Lobster Cardiff, Unit 29-11 The Hayes Cardiff CF10 1AH
Web -
Telephone - 02920224044

Saturday, 21 May 2016

Roti King, London Malaysian restaurant review

Barbecue ribs, warm madeleines, gong bao chicken, bacon cheeseburgers, roast leg of lamb, mutton kothu parotta, reuben sandwiches, sticky toffee pudding and jamon croquetas.

Everyone’s got a bucket list of dishes. These are a few of mine.

Another dish which I’d call for on my death bed is Roti Canai - the Malaysian flatbread which is traditionally served with a little pot of curry on the side. It’s just so compellingly addictive - crispy on the outside, soft and a little bit elastic and so rich with butter.

Whilst en route to meet friends in London I made a pit stop at Roti King, an unassuming basement restaurant in a side street near Euston, and managed to eat the best roti canai of my life.

The signs were good when the restaurant was already packed to the gills at 12.20pm and by the time I left around 1pm there was a queue of around 15 people snaking up the steps. Furthermore, the roti chef stands on view inside the entrance of the restaurant displaying his skilful folding, tossing and stretching of the roti dough - a notoriously difficult skill.

As I shared a bench with a couple of annoyimg Londoners berating the Welsh rugby team and lack of things to do in Wales (I feel increasingly Welsh day by day), I necked a lovely mug of teh tarik.

Then the main events arrived.

Two stonkingly good roti canai were served with a mega-deeply flavoured on the bone lamb curry. At £5.50 it’s a great value lunch and a generous portion. Even more impressively, if you have dhal instead of lamb then it’s a mere £4 - one of the best value lunches in the capital.

As I had to line my stomach before a heavy session on the booze, I of course ordered another dish.

Roti Telur (£3), was another stonkingly good flatbread made from the same dough as the roti canai, I think. This time it was stuffed with a golden fried egg and served with a beautifully flavoured pot of dhal on the side.

Roti King is the king. If you’re looking a for a roti canai love-in, then this is the place to have it.

The Details:

Address - Roti King, 40 Doric Way, London NW1 1LH
Web -
Telephone - 020 7387 2518

Roti King Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Saturday, 14 May 2016

Pettigrew Bakeries, Cardiff review

Despite the unrelenting invasion of Geordie chain bakery Greggs and their disturbingly addictive sausage cylinders, things are looking up for baked goods in Cardiff.

In the last few years purveyors of banging bread and kick ass pastries One Mile Bakery, Nata & Co, Cocorico, Brod, Cup & Cake Bakery and The Early Bird Bakery have all opened their doors. Furthermore, Alex Gooch’s multi-award winning bread is readily available from retailers including Bean Freaks and Penylan Pantry.

Now, the team from the lovely Pettigrew Tea Rooms have tastefully transformed an old hardware shop near Victoria Park into Pettigrew Bakeries.

When I visited first thing on a Sunday morning, a multitude of baked goods were still being unloaded from the ovens. I stocked up on the below (the bill came to around £10.50), dashed home and snaffled the lot immediately. The concept of delayed gratification has always been alien to me. 

A salted caramel tart was a thing of wonder and joy. A molten slick of well balanced sweet and salty caramel was cradled by a perfectly short pastry case.

A sourdough loaf was full of complexity with a cracking crumb and golden crust. 

Surprisingly, Pettigrew’s sausage rolls aren’t made in house but are supplied by Coopers of Shrewsbury. A pork, Shropshire blue and caramelised onion roll was still rather lush - the bulging bronzed pastry cocooning a generous amount of flavour-packed sausage meat. 

I wasn’t entirely sold on a piece of bread pudding - whilst it was well flavoured with cinnamon and raisins, it was slightly dense and claggy. 

But, a chocolate brownie was a stunning example of its type - all goo and crunch of nut.

Pettigrew Bakeries is a lovely addition to the Victoria Park area of Cardiff. Viva la pastry revoluciĆ³n.

The Details:

Address - Pettigrew Bakeries, 595 Cowbridge Rd E, Cardiff, South Glamorgan CF5 1BE
Telephone - 02921 321270

Pettigrew Bakeries Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Saturday, 7 May 2016

Fairyhill, Gower restaurant review

Situated in the heart of the Gower Peninsula, Fairyhill is a restaurant with rooms set in 24 acres of lush woodland and greenery. We visited as part of a weekend break to the local area.

Cooking combines classical technique with local Welsh produce and their wine list has previously picked up the AA award for best in Wales.

Dinner costs £49.50 for three courses and late availability dinner, bed and breakfast packages begin from around £195 for two people.

We kicked off with drinks and canapes in the bar; a mini salmon fishcake sat atop a blob of sharp lemon butter, a cylinder of light chicken mousse was wrapped in crisp pancetta and a handful of light pork crackling was as moreish as expected. 

Appetites whetted, we meandered through to the dining room. Bread was on the nail - intensely flavoured cheese bread and wholemeal bread were both soft and crisp crusted.

Mrs G’s starter was a proper looker and tasted just as good. Delicately pickled mackerel pieces, a lightly charred mackerel fillet, crisp Valencia almonds, cleansing cucumber and creamy buttermilk were a delicious flavour match. 

For me al dente linguini was bathed in a creamy sauce heady with earthy brown crabmeat, sweet white flesh and chive. I’d have happily buried my face in a bowl of the stuff and called it a day. 

Onto the mains, and Mrs G is still banging on about her dish. A perfectly pink Pembrokeshire duck breast with golden and crisp skin was served with cubes of sweet beetroot, a drizzle of light apple sauce, buttered greens and a gourmet rissole containing an addictive mix of mashed potato and confit duck.

My main was also rather good. Blushing pink Gower lamb rump was full of flavour and joined by sweet charred leeks, an offaly good cube of faggot, red wine jus and a stellar root vegetable gratin with buttery and tender wafer thin layers and a super crisp top. Arguably, the lamb could have been a touch more tender. 

For dessert, a moist pistachio sponge was joined by a super smooth, fragrant rhubarb sorbet, sweet strawberry coulis and fresh strawberry pieces. 

Mrs G meanwhile made quick work of a cracking Welsh cheese selection including creamy Caerfai Caerphilly, nutty Hafod cheddar and cider washed Saval. 

A pot of restorative peppermint tea was joined by mini Welsh cakes, buttery white chocolate fudge and chocolate and coconut truffles. 

Dinner at Fairyhill was excellent. If you’re visiting the Gower then I highly recommend a visit.

Disclosure - I was invited to Fairyhill, all food and drink was complimentary.

The Details:

Address - Fairyhill, Reynoldston, Gower, Swansea SA3 1BS
Telephone - 01792 390139