Saturday, 20 July 2019

Ten lovely places where I've eaten in Cardiff recently

Shock horror, scandal…I haven’t eaten anywhere new in the last week to review.

So, here are ten lovely places in Cardiff where I’ve eaten in the last month or so.

Some are new joints where I only had a dish or two and some are old favourites which I was glad to revisit. All are worth checking out.

KBS, Roath

KBS is my go to place for a weeknight kebab takeaway. When they closed for a couple of months for refurbishment I was barely consolable.

But they’re now back open with a spanking new interior; a charcoal grill; an extended menu featuring sharing platters, starters and lamb shawarma; and the same great kebabs.   


I’m all about the small mixed kebab (£4.90). It’s not fancy, but the salad, homemade naan and meat are all commendably fresh. 

 
Hanoi 1991, City Centre

Hanoi 1991 is a recently opened Vietnamese cafe located in the Royal Arcade. Whilst I’ve heard good things about their decadent egg coffee, we were there to eat their Banh My. 


A traditional pork cake and roll sandwich (£5.45) was tasty (if a little mystery meat-esque) but a roast pork special (£5.95) was the standout. The enjoyably light and crisp warm baguette was filled with well marinated meat, zingy pickles, spicy chilli sauce, crispy onions and fragrant coriander. 


Curado Bar, City Centre

Curado Bar is a great place for fooding and boozing. So, it's where Mrs G chose to celebrate the day she passed her PhD viva.

Highlights of our latest visit included pan fried mushrooms (£7) in a rich and super savoury sherry cream sauce, which was more than a bit reminiscent of the retro Diane sauce. 


Wobbly-interiored jamon croquetas (£7) were served with a compellingly fiery brava aioli.  And let’s not forget the awesome value fino on draught; £3.50 will buy you a 150ml glass of the good stuff. 


The Four Elms, Roath

The Four Elms in Roath was the winner of the UK’s inaugural Parliamentary Pub of the Year Award 2019. Now, that’s one cool sounding accolade.

They also have one of the best beer gardens in the city and often serve local craft brews from Pipes and Crafty Devil. 


Whilst their black and blue burger was serviceable, their double-cooked chips were magnificent. Golden, crisp and tender, I’ll be heading back to guzzle them more often. 

 
Pieporium, Pontcanna and Canton

Pieporium sell their homemade pies from Oriel Jones butchers in Canton and Pontcanna. 


I’ve only had the chance to try their stilton and pork pie which combined hella good crisp pastry with well-seasoned meat and umami-rich cheese. But, their coq au vin pies and cherry and vanilla pies are also on my ‘to snaffle list’. 


Ponnuswamy, Roath

The spice-packed Southern Indian food at Ponnuswamy on City Road is some of my favourite in the city. Yes, the service is often very very slow, but their delicious food and BYOB policy more than make up for it.

Cauliflower manchurian (£3.95) delivered cauli, onions and peppers with just the right amount of bite in a sweet, sour, fiery and soy-twanged sauce.


Their egg kothu parotta (£5.80) is proper comfort food. Diced and well-spiced soft parotta was flecked with egg, tomato, onions, spices and fragrant curry leaf whilst a pot of curry sauce and tangy raitha provided welcome lubrication. 


Hoof, City Centre

Hoof’s burgers are the work of Cardiff culinary polymaths Phill Lewis (Dusty Knuckle, Nook, Bite) and John Cook (Ember, Lamb & Flag Wick, Nook).

Based at Sticky Fingers in the Brewery Quarter, their burgers utilise top notch Welsh produce including robust yet soft Alex Gooch buns and dry-aged Welsh beef patties.

The standout on our visit was the Dirty Hoof (£9), topped with a smashed hash brown, cheese and a seriously beefy ragu. 


Milkwood, Pontcanna

Milkwood’s modern Welsh cooking is unpretentious, technically accomplished and full of flavour. It’s some of the best in Cardiff.

On our most recent visit with Mrs G’s work colleagues, 50 day aged beef dripping and anchovy on sourdough toast was so far up my street it could move into our spare bedroom. 


Lamb loin with crispy belly, borlotti bean ragu and salsa verde was a cracking take on a classic flavour combination. 


Uisce, Pontcanna

Tommy Heaney’s second Cardiff restaurant is just as good as his first i.e. it’s absolutely brilliant.

On our second visit in the space of a month, I adored a squidgy crumpet (£8) topped with tender shreds of lamb in a glossy gravy with a herb-packed salsa verde. 


Three behemothic king prawns (£7) were served with an intensely savoury XO sauce. All that flavour must be due to the sauce's constituent scallop roes, dried shrimp, pancetta, chilli and garlic. Woof. 


A quintet of light and squidgy cinnamon dusted churros (£6) were perfect paired with a dark and bitter chocolate mousse. 


Porro, Llandaff

I recently enjoyed a bargainous three course lunch (£15.95) at this Llandaff Italian restaurant. Crisp arancini were stuffed with well-textured risotto flecked with a herby ooze of mozzarella, and garnished with a breath-ruining garlic aioli. 




Their ox cheek pappardelle was just as good as ever - the slippery pasta coated in a thick, rich and seriously meaty sauce topped with even more meat for good measure.


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