It’s been a couple of years since my last visit to Pontcanna's Arbennig and the menu is still packed with interesting seasonal dishes including octopus with smoked aubergine and braised blade of Welsh beef with turnips, pickled mushrooms, king cabbage and bone marrow.
This time we visited for the great value set lunch menu that offers 2 courses for £15.95 or 3 courses for £19.95.
To start, a trio of light finely-textured fragrant Thai-style fishcakes were dressed in a sticky, not too sweet and sour glaze scattered with sesame seeds. Crisp leaves, pink pickled onions and sour cream provided balance to the plate.
Golden crumbed pucks of seriously meaty shredded mutton and haggis were served with a creamy root vegetable slaw and smokey slightly acidic walnut puree which cut through the richness of its accompaniments.
A meat-packed main comprised of a pair of plump middlewhite pork sausages and a big porky rissole thwacked with juniper and sage. Glossy caramelised onion gravy, buttery mash and a generous scattering of crisp onions completed the dish.
Mussels weren’t the plumpest of specimens and a few were on the gritty side but they were bathed in a lovely lemony and buttery sauce.
Their accompanying french fries were impeccable.
Truffled mac and cheese was a lovely plate of comfort food. The huge bowl of pasta was coated in a velvety cheese sauce fragranced with just the right amount of truffle and flecked with soft sweet confit onions and pieces of kale. Crispy kale and onions provided welcome crunch.
We had a bit of a wait for dessert but it was worth it. Light vanilla cream, crumbled oat biscuits, golden honeycomb and sweet and sharp lemon curd was a bowl of tasty things.
A dollop of airy and not too sweet chocolate mousse was accompanied by hot and tender caramelised roast pear, warming pieces of stem ginger and a crunchy chocolate crumb.
We had a really tasty and good value lunch at Arbennig. If you haven’t tried their interesting comfort food yet then add it to your list of places to visit.
Address - Arbennig, 6-10 Romilly Crescent, Pontcanna, Cardiff, CF11 9NR
Telephone - 029 2034 1264
Web - http://www.arbennig.co.uk/