Saturday, 19 November 2016

Zi's Cafe, Cardiff Chinese restaurant review

It’s taken me far longer to get around to visiting Zi’s Café on Woodville Road than I would have liked.

The reason being, Mrs G is hardly ever in the mood for a Chinese.

So, on a dismal November night, I rounded up some mates to help me eat as much of Zi’s menu as is humanly possible.

The restaurant’s décor is enjoyably basic; metal chairs are clad in velour whilst paper lanterns hang from the ceiling.

The menu is an interesting beast too – there’s a load of familiar Cantonese classics as well as a clutch of more exciting dishes including hor fun noodles, congee and fried dumplings.

Prawn crackers (£1.20) were light and grease free. 

Tsingtao beers (£3) were ice cold. A good start. 

Curls of salt and chilli squid (£5.90) were the first standout of the night. Delightfully tender and crisp, the squid was fragranced with a big whallop of garlic, chilli and sautéed spring onion. 

A mixed starter (£12.80) comprised of filling-packed spring rolls, good prawn toast and crispy seaweed. Sticky ribs were the best thing on the plate – crisp and yielding they were seasoned with a savoury thwack of Worcestershire sauce. A bowl of lurid sweet and sour sauce was a curious addition. 

Empress duck cakes (£5.90) were so wrong but almost right. Deep fried prawn toast were filled with shredded duck. They were rich as heck but a bowl of sweet and tangy plum sauce went some way to balancing the dish. 

A half aromatic crispy duck (£14.90) was everything it should be – crisp and tender with soft pancakes, rich hoisin sauce and finely chopped spring onion and cucumber. 

Things stepped up a gear with mains.

Chicken with dried chilli and spring onion (£6.20) saw golden battered chicken pieces bathed in a sweet and spicy sauce flecked with onions and a ludicrous mound of dried chillies.

Stir fried lamb with cumin (£7.20) was arguably the dish of the night. Uber tender lamb in an Indo-Chinese-esque cumin and chilli rich sauce was accompanied by heaps of dried chillies, julienne carrot and onion. 

Beef with ginger and spring onion (£6.50) was good but the most run of the mill of our mains. Tender meat and spring onions were served in a well-balanced ginger-spiced sauce. 

Last up were stonkingly good cubes of crisp yet soft deep fried aubergine (£5.90) spiced with a shed load of salt, ginger and chilli.

A bowl of egg fried rice (£3.50) was generously portioned. 

Dinner at Zi’s Café was cracking. And, our bill for 4 including 10 beers came to £104. A bit of a bargain.

Now I just need to get Mrs G along on a Wednesday when they do a roast duck special.

The Details:

Address - Zi's Cafe, 94-96 Woodville Road, Cathays, Cardiff CF24 4ED
Telephone - 02920 216 294

Zi's Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


  1. I seriously can't wait to visit.. I'm drooling at that lamb dish!

    1. @Andy - Enjoy! I'm still craving that lamb dish too.

  2. And you didn't even order the best things! Deep fried squid with chilli, double cooked pork, deep fried bean curd with chilli and garlic (the most scrummy cubes of goodness on planet earth!)

    1. @Nammers689 - These dishes sound epic! I'll check them out next time I visit. Cheers for the tips.