Saturday, 16 June 2018

Herbivore at The Embassy Cafe, Cardiff vegan and vegetarian brunch review

Herbivore is the creation of Simon Matthew.

A chef and vegetarian, his globally influenced cooking makes use of seasonal Welsh produce.

As well as hosting monthly supper clubs at venues such as Kemi’s in Pontcanna and The Fig Tree in Penarth, Herbivore also has a permanent residency at The Embassy Cafe at Cathays Community Centre on Saturdays and Sundays from 11am - 5pm.

The short but well formed menu is predominantly vegan with a couple of veggie options. It’s the kind of food which ticks my boxes - there are no faux meat substitutes, just herb and seasoning-laden dishes that make sense with no meat or dairy. 

A big flavoured, coconut-twanged Caribbean-inspired curry (£7) of tender blackeye beans was served with fluffy cardamom-fragranced rice, sweet charred plantain and roast sweet potatoes (of which a couple of bits were still a touch firm). Freshness was brought to the plate by a cleansing and chilli-laced watermelon salsa. 

Super crisp yet moist fritters of shredded beetroot (£6.50) and dill were flecked with earthy cumin seeds. They were accompanied by a thick chickpea and chive puree, pieces of tender charred aubergine topped with creamy and nutty tahini, couscous-like grated cauliflower punctuated by pearls of pomegranate, and charred flatbread. 

A green shakshuka (£6.50) was a big comforting plate of eggs baked together with soft aubergines, sweet peppers and paprika-spiked potatoes. The dish was lifted by a handful of fragrant coriander and a dollop of nigella seed dotted yoghurt. On the side was an elastic and puffy flatbread. This dish would have been improved even further by the ooze of runny egg yolks and a touch of chilli heat. 

Having shared three generous dishes between the two of us, we valiantly ploughed onto dessert. Just as much thought has gone into Herbivore’s sweets as their savouries.

A piece of orange, almond and strawberry cake (£2.50) was packed with citrus and sweet berries and moist with a polenta cake style texture. 

A big, crisp and chewy cookie (£1.50) was infused with peanut butter throughout and dotted with crunchy peanuts and nuggets of dark chocolate. 

Alongside our food I enjoyed a floral, citrusy and not too sweet homemade elderflower fizz (£1.80) whilst Mrs G had a good mug of filter coffee (£1.80).

Brunch at Herbivore was delicious. It’s great value and is definitely bringing something different to Cardiff’s brunch and cafe scene. I'd recommend a visit.

The Details:

Address - Herbivore at The Embassy Cafe, Cathays Community Centre, 36 Cathays Terrace, Cardiff CF24 4HX
Web -

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