Saturday, 22 June 2019

Uisce by Heaney's, Pontcanna, Cardiff cafe and wine bar review


Uisce (pronunciation: Ishka, meaning: water in Irish) is Tommy Heaney’s new no-reservations cafe and wine bar located next door to his eponymous restaurant in Pontcanna.

The name may be hard to get your mouth around but their food certainly isn’t.


Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, their evening menu consists of a mix of charcuterie and small plates. Whilst some plates have traditional Spanish influences, other modern British dishes wouldn’t feel out of place next door at Heaney’s. 

 
We did some damage to an extensive list of nearly 40 wines by the glass. 


I knocked back glasses of dry and oxidative Manzanilla Barbiana (£4.50) and lightly effervescent Vinho Verde (£4.80). Mrs G meanwhile necked multiple glasses including a fresh and fruity Argentinian Gruner Veltliner (£6) and a decadent Monteagudo Pedro Ximinez (£5.60). 


Up first was Galician beef cecina (£5) of supreme tenderness and intense beefiness with complex savoury notes from its ageing. 


A Kick in the Head was literally that (£4). All manner of pig's head meat included tender flesh, soft fat and melting jelly with a massive hit of warming black pepper. 


Tomato sourdough aka pan con tomate (£3) was a textbook example. Crusty toast was topped with a fresh, light and sweet tomato pulp with a good honk of garlic and a generous drizzle of grassy olive oil. 


Croquetas (£5), silky of bechamel and crisp of crumb, were studded with smoky duck ham and topped with a sweet and raisiny Pedro Ximinez puree. 


Fabada (£6), a hearty Spanish stew, combined wobbly-fatted pancetta, spoonably soft black pudding, smoky chorizo and white beans (with just the right amount of bite) bathed in a broth which had taken on the character of its meaty occupants. 


A textbook tortilla (£6) featured soft potatoes, golden sweet onions, a rich gooey ooze of egg and a blob of potent aioli. 


A brilliant duck crumpet (£8) was the first stand out of the night. The squidgiest of crumpets was heaped with a mountain of long cooked yielding duck, light and crunchy kimchi, a savoury and silky miso emulsion and a glossy meat sauce flecked with the herby complexity of salsa verde. I’d gladly eat this seven days a week, 365 days a year. 

 
The other star of the show was a fish pie (£6) like no other. Flaky white fish, sweet giant prawns, smoked salmon and sweet peas were bound together in a herby and ridiculously buttery sauce. A potato espuma topping kept dish the light but also very much in fish pie territory.

 
When dishes say they taste of something I want them to do just that. A creamy espresso panna cotta (£5) was heady with intense coffee. Chocolate crumb and gooey nut studded brownies ensured there were all kinds of textures and flavours going on this dessert. 


We had an awesome meal at Uisce. Their food is great and well-priced, the atmosphere is chilled, there's a ton of interesting wine, and the service is excellent. Tommy Heaney has hit the mark once again yet it feels distinctly different from his restaurant next door.

The Details:

Telephone - 029 2034 1264 (no reservations)
Address - Uisce by Heaney's, 4 Romilly Crescent, Pontcanna CF11 9NR

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