Friday, 29 May 2020

Tŷ Melin, Cardiff bakery delivery review

Cardiff has a new bakery with serious pedigree.

Tŷ Melin is owned by Lance Gardner and Angharad Conway whose CVs read like an A-list of some of Britain’s best bakeries.

Lance started his training under Richard Bertinet in Bath before heading up Harts Bakery in Bristol and Harrods Bakery in London. He’s also taught at Bread Ahead in Borough Market (the place which kicked off the trend for luxury doughnuts).

Wales-born Angharad started her career with Rick Stein before working for Hobbs House Bakery in the Cotswolds, in France as a pastry chef in a 4* hotel and has helped set up a number of UK artisan bakeries.

Most recently the couple ran Pavilion Bakery in Hackney before moving to Cardiff to set up Tŷ Melin Bakery in Splott.

Tŷ Melin sell exclusively through a once weekly delivery and have already outgrown their small manufacturing unit. They plan to find a bigger space in Cardiff where they can offer counter takeaways as well as continue to focus on deliveries across the city.

With a minimum spend of £15 including £3 delivery, we ordered a selection of goods on a Saturday and received a stylishly bundled socially-distanced delivery the following Friday. 

A beautifully bronzed beast of a sourdough (£3.50) was thin and crisp of crust with a light and airy crumb with a delicate tang.

It was lovely toasted and made into pan con tomate accompanied by Curado Bar olives and serrano ham.

A snow dusted craggy almond croissant (£2.80) was well-laminated and stuffed with a not too sweet, fragrant almond paste. With sugar syrup soaked into the bottom, it gave the pastry a compelling baklava effect.

Egg rich challah (£3.50) was soft and sweet of crumb. Best toasted in my book, I enjoyed it slathered with butter and Marmite. 

A whopper of a chocolate chip cookie (£2) was more chocolate chip than cookie. Crisp and squidgy it was jam-packed with rich chocolate pieces.

A cinnamon bun (£2.50) was all crisp whorls of croissant style pastry with a light and soft interior interlaced with seriously addictive sugar cinnamon mix. We warmed it up in the oven the day after it was delivered and it was still a first class piece of patisserie.

Lastly, a mountainous meringue was crisp on the outside and cloud-like fluff on the inside. White chocolate chips, some caramelised some not, added extra fun to proceedings. 

We were seriously impressed by everything we ate from Tŷ Melin. With this new opening, Cardiff has bagged itself another first-class bakery.

Update - 15/08/2020

Tŷ Melin have subsequently launched their signature croissant bomb™ (it’s got a trademark so you know it must be proper).

With a changing roster of flavours, they’re seriously bloody good. So good in fact, Tŷ Melin now offer weekly nationwide deliveries of them. 

A crisp sugary exterior with a good bit of chew surrounds light laminated pastry layers stuffed to the brim with filling. On paper it sounds like a cronut but they’re a lot lighter with more crunch. 

A thick vanilla-fragranced custard variety (£3.50) was superb.

Even better was a lemon meringue one (£3.50). Stuffed with tart and fragrant lemon curd and topped with a quiff of fluffy meringue, it was a compelling proposition.

If you didn’t already have reason enough to set your alarm for 9am on Saturday for a Tŷ Melin order, this should persuade you.

The Details:

Telephone - 07714896367

Saturday, 23 May 2020

Waroeng Nona and Sueperlicious Bakery, Indo-Malay street food delivery Cardiff

Waroeng Nona launched in Cardiff last weekend.

This Indonesian and Malaysian food delivery business is named after a Waroeng, a small family owned Indonesian restaurant or cafe. Nona is the name of the owner. So, Waroeng Nona.

Nona Sindy moved to Cardiff from Indonesia in 2011 and has since worked as a chef in restaurants, hotels and street food stalls.

With Waroeng Nona she’s aiming to share her passion for Indo-Malay cooking using local produce.

Now, I’m incredibly ignorant when it comes to Indonesian cuisine and an ignorant enthusiast with regards to Malaysian cuisine. So, the arrival of Waroeng Nona gave me the opportunity to learn something new by eating lots of food; my kind of education.

An additional bonus is that Waroeng Nona are collaborating with Sueperlicious Bakery, a Cardiff-based Malaysian bakery who regularly appear at Riverside Market. So, you get two food vendors for the price of one - Indo-Malay street food and Malaysian sweet treats.

Much like other lockdown delivery companies, you pre-order via a form during the week (before 3pm on a Wednesday) with deliveries taking place on Fridays through to Sunday. There are three choices for starter, main and dessert and the option of a feast allowing you to choose any two of each course for £28. 

We opted for the latter and so managed to put two thirds of the menu through its paces. First, it’s worth noting how everything tastes properly homemade - from the use of whole spices which can be found scattered throughout the dishes to meat which tastes as though it’s been cooked with its sauce rather than added at the last minute. 

Golden, crisp and flaky Malaysian curry puffs were filled with a comforting, slightly sweet and well-spiced potato curry. I’m a big fan of curry puffs and these were crackers. 

Indonesian lumpia semarang resembled spring rolls but were stuffed with a lemongrass fragranced mix of minced beef, carrot and potato. The pastry didn’t stay quite as crisp on its journey as the curry puffs but they were still delicious. 

They were accompanied by a mix of lightly pickled crunchy vegetables and a dinky pot of tangy but not too sweet tamarind dip.

Both mains needed a quick blast in the microwave to bring them back up to temperature. But, I can’t fault the delivery time as our meal arrived bang on the start of our specified one hour delivery slot.

For main, Mama Jane’s chicken rendang was lush. Complex and earthy spiced with a compelling coconut twang, the well-reduced sauce was littered with tender dark flesh and potatoes with a bit of bite. 

Firecracker meatballs (bakso balado) also had a lovely depth of flavour - the coarse tomato-based sauce had a really nice level of chilli heat and the aroma of lemongrass and coriander. Beef and chicken meatballs were well-flavoured and tender but had a homogenous texture which may not be everyones’ cup of tea.

Two portions of fluffy rice were the ideal vehicle for the curries. 

Both of Suerperlicious’ vibrant pandan green desserts were pretty as a picture and well-fragranced with the sweet and floral tropical leaf.

The star of the two puds was a squidgy and chewy pandan blondie which was dotted with chunks of white chocolate and an ooze of indulgently salty caramel.

A crème brûlée tartlet saw silky coconut, citrus and pandan custard topped with a thin layer of caramelised sugar stuffed into a crisp shortcrust pastry case. It was lovely but would work even better as a bigger tart to increase the ratio of custard to pastry. 

We really enjoyed our dinner from Waroeng Nona and Sueperlicious Bakery. It's a well-priced delivery option which is distinctly different. If you’re craving spice-laden street food and lovely patisserie then it’s well worth an order.

The Details:

Web - 

Email - 

Saturday, 16 May 2020

Cook with Leyli Joon & Co, Cardiff delivery review

The thing that always strikes me about Leyli Joon’s food is its complexity of seasoning, texture and spice.

Whether it’s their crisp, spicy and sticky Korean fried chicken kebab topped with green chilli zhoug, garlic sauce, sriracha mayo, pickles and 'slaw at Bab Haus at Sticky Fingers, or a Persian supper club dish of Welsh burrata with samphire, cherry tomatoes, chilli, kataifi pastry and vivid herb oil; you can never accuse a Leyli Joon dish of being one dimensional.

Since lockdown, Leyli has started delivering Cook with Leyli Joon meal kits and ready-cooked feasts to Cardiff and beyond. There's normally something different to order online every week with delivery taking place on Saturdays. We were gutted to miss out on a cook-a-long Korean fried chicken with bibimbap and Persian saffron chicken with jewelled rice as Mrs G (aka Dr H) has understandably been working a lot more weekends lately.

So, the prospect of an early May bank holiday Persian BBQ feast was a dead cert. At £55, the feast was advertised as serving four people or two people with leftovers. It more than lived up to its billing as we had six hearty portions over a couple of days. 

Unlike some of the other Cook with Leyli Joon kits, the Persian BBQ was thankfully low intervention. All the salads and dips were pre-prepared so we only needed to cook the marinated meats, halloumi, green peppers and flatbread. The entire prep and cook time was around twenty minutes; my kind of cooking. And the clear instructions were 100% idiot (me) proof.

Everything we ate was absolutely belting. 

Lightly charred beef and lamb koobideh kebabs were super juicy.

Gorgeously tender chicken joojeh kebabs were fragrant with citrus, saffron and interlaced with a fine dice of caramelised onion and garlic. There was enough for at least four kebabs’ worth.

Golden halloumi was drizzled with a potent and vibrantly herby green chilli zhoug and a dusting of tangy and earthy za’atar. 

A groaning bowlful of bulgar wheat and chickpea tabbouleh was slightly sweet and warming spiced. 

Having rolled out the flatbread dough, we dry-fried them in five minutes. Crisp, bubbly and soft, they were a lovely mop for the excellent dips; 

silky hummus fragranced with sweet and earthy beetroot; 

creamy and tangy yoghurt flecked with mint and cucumber;

and the star of the show, a compellingly smoky aubergine dip (mirza ghasemi) topped with crispy onions. 

Even a crisp pickled cabbage salad and carrot slaw had extra dimensions from fennel and mustard seeds.  

Blistered green peppers were delicately bitter with a nice lick of char.

Mrs G and I were blown away by Leyli Joon’s Persian BBQ feast. It puts every other kebab delivery I’ve ever had to shame and you get a serious bang for your buck. I can’t wait to give another of their meal kits a go, even if I'll need to demonstrate more skill in the kitchen next time.

*Update* - Leyli Joon's Persian BBQ feast is back on Friday 22 and Saturday 23 May. You can order it over here:

The Details:

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Saturday, 9 May 2020

Kapow Ribs, Cardiff street food delivery review

Crash, bang, wallop, Kapow Ribs is the latest venture from John and Ceri Cook to smash its way onto Cardiff's street food scene.

Cardiff's culinary equivalent of Batman and Robin have added another piece of kit to their entrepreneurial utility belt which already includes Nook, Hoof and Ember.

Ok, now I'll stop over-stretching this metaphor.

Originally teased as a street food stall back in March, recent events unfortunately kiboshed those plans and Kapow has instead launched this week as a delivery service. It's literally street food as the food is brought to your street.

With a concise menu of half racks of bbq ribs (£8), full racks (£14), wedges (£3) and 'slaw (£2), each week's rib drop goes on sale on a Monday evening at 7pm with delivery the following Friday. It's a case of fastest fingers first as I got through on around my tenth attempt. 

Kapow are currently delivering across Cardiff with free delivery on minimum orders of £15. The ribs are delivered cold and packaged up with clear reheating guidelines. We followed the instructions to the letter and everything turned out bang on.

A whopping full rack of ribs was an ideal quantity for two people. You could tell this was quality pork - loaded with meat, gorgeously tender of flesh, full of flavour, gristle free and with just the right amount of fat, they were coated in a sticky, warming and not too sweet barbecue glaze. All that was left when we were finished was a mound of clean bones.

Spiced skin on wedges were golden and properly crisp with a fluffy interior. Half a portion worked well for us but those with larger appetites may prefer not to share.

Creamy and crisp coleslaw had a richness-balancing acidic note which cut through the ribs nicely. I tend to prefer lighter non-creamy 'slaws but it was still very tasty.

We really really enjoyed Kapow. Their food is delicious, the instructions are easy to follow and it's good value too; our dinner for two came to only £19. I'm looking forward to trying their more innovative rib flavours when they're launched in the future. That's if I can ever get through on the phone.

Update - 17 August 2020 - Kapow now has their own website, through which you can buy your ribs and sides. They still go on sale at 7pm on Monday evenings and sell out pretty quickly. 

The Details:

Saturday, 2 May 2020

Ji the Chicken Shop, Taiwanese fried chicken, Cardiff review

Good Friend chicken in London’s Chinatown has always caught my eye.

Serving unfeasibly large schniztel like chicken breasts, their Taiwanese fried chicken has been acclaimed by some of London’s top food bloggers and made it into Eater London’s list of best fried chicken places.

So, when a branch opened on Cardiff’s Cowbridge Road East, it was an exciting day.

Known as Ji, instead of Good Friend (I’m not sure why), it’s one of five UK branches with two in London and one in York and Cambridge.

Unsurprisingly, the menu focuses on fried chicken with options including crispy chicken skin, volcanic cheesy chicken and popcorn chicken alongside crispy king prawns, crispy octopus and crispy squid as well as bubble teas and fries. 

What sets Ji apart from other fried chicken shops is their cornucopia of seasoning powders which you can choose from including plum, cheese, lemon, cumin, paprika, garlic and numbing chilli.

On the recommendation of a well-informed Twitterer we ordered a boneless chicken thigh (£5.50) with seaweed, plum and chilli. A whopper of a flattened piece of meat was enjoyably tender and coated in golden grease-free crumbs topped with a savoury, sweet and delicately mouth-tingling seasoning. Some parts of the crumb appeared to just contain crispy skin instead of meat; I’m not complaining. 

Even better was the crispy chicken breast (£6) which was so large it was cut into two pieces. More plentiful than the thigh and yet still very juicy, we opted for curry seasoning which delivered a proper good hit of chip shop style curry. 

A generously filled bag of popcorn chicken (£3.50) was also excellent and cracking value. Nuggets of tender brown flesh were coated in the bubbly, crisp and golden breadcrumb which was seasoned with more of that compelling curry powder.

A massive bag of crunchy and fluffy chips (£2) were dusted with sweet plum powder and mild yet mouth numbing chilli powder.

Ji is a fun and tasty addition to Cowbridge Road East. If you’re looking for delicious yet different fried chicken then it’s definitely worth checking out.

The Details:

Address - Ji the Chicken Shop, 231 Cowbridge Rd E, Cardiff CF11 9AL
Web -
Telephone - 029 2037 6289