Unless you’re staying at the hotel and travelling on business expenses, there’s often very little to convince you to cross the threshold.
So, The Admiral St David at the 5-star St David’s Hotel in Cardiff Bay is a welcome change from the above.
Recently rebranded from Tempus at Tides, the restaurant has had a bright Antipodean makeover with white wood panelling, eclectic furniture and funky detailing.
Even more interesting is the Australasian and Asia-Pacific influenced menu which includes dishes like Welsh mussels with salted black beans and chilli as well as pan-fried sea bream with Malaysian spiced vegetable rice and lime butter. The pricing is fair too with starters averaging £7, mains £18 and desserts £7.
To start, six uber-fresh meaty sardine fillets (£8) were coated in a crisp bubbly batter. The richness of the fish was balanced nicely by a yoghurt dip that was fragranced with mint and lemon.
Across the table a tender beef carpaccio (£9) was served with a Korean-spiced shredded beef bon bon, fresh tomato salsa and a fine dice of onion and peppers. It was a tasty dish but the beef in the bon bon was a touch dry.
Both mains were packed with flavour.
A pink rump of Welsh lamb (£20) was delicately flavoured with fragrant lemongrass. Couscous studded with coriander, peppers and pomegranate seeds, al dente tenderstem broccoli and a well-spiced but not-overly sweet mango sauce completed the lovely dish.
I’m not sure what an authentic laksa (£15) tastes like but the Admiral St David’s version is cracking. A pair of tender chicken thighs, egg noodles and fried peppers, onions and carrots were coated in a velvety coconut sauce with a big hit of spice. A runny fried egg and a good scattering of crispy fried shallots dialled up the luxury levels.
A side of seasonal greens (£4) included runner beans, pak choi and broccoli coated in nutty sesame oil with a hint of lemon.
Onto dessert and a crisp-crusted, smooth and creamy lemon tart (£6) was served with tart raspberry coulis and whipped cream.
A dark chocolate cremeux (£7) is one of the best puds I’ve had in yonks. Blobs of rich but not too sweet chocolate cream were balanced by fragrant mango sorbet, coulis and diced fruit flecked with passionfruit. Texture contrast came in the form of roasted coconut slices, crunchy grated coconut, chocolate crumb and a sesame tuille.
We had a delicious meal at the Admiral St David. There’s a heap of tasty stuff on the menu, it’s a stylish dining space and the serving team are lovely. There’s no doubt it’s an interesting addition to Cardiff’s dining scene.
Address - The Admiral St David, St David's Hotel, Havannah St, Cardiff, CF10 5SD
Telephone - 029 2045 4045