Asador 44, Sopra 73, Milkwood, North Star, Heaney’s, Uisce, Thomas by Tom Simmons and Nook.
When Jay Rayner recently wrote a well-deserving glowing review of the Heathcock, he name checked a few "interesting-looking" new restaurants which had opened in Cardiff since his previous review in the city in 2016.
However, one of them stood out to me as a bit of an anomaly as the North Star actually opened well before then and the last time I visited in 2012 was when I rather foolishly completed a Man v Food challenge.
Relaunched in August 2020 under a new team, I haven’t heard too much on the grapevine about the place other than that they serve a rather good Sunday roast and there used to be some rather filthy-delicious looking deep-fried lasagne sticks on the menu.
Mrs G and I decided to visit the bright and airy venue on a week day lunchtime.
The North Star’s well-priced menu includes a good representation of pub classics such as scampi and chips (£9.50) and chicken tikka masala (£9.50) as well as more contemporary dishes such as beer battered banana blossom and chips (£9) and halloumi fries with chipotle jam (£4.50).
Mrs G worked her way through a glass of highly chuggable sauvignon blanc whilst I opted for an alcohol free Peroni.
Nuggets of tender squid (£5) were coated in a golden crumb with a delicate nudge of salt and pepper and accompanied by a pot of sweet chilli sauce. It was a tasty dish it but I'd have liked a bigger hit of the billed seasoning.
The weakest of our dishes was a plate of rather run of the mill nachos accompanied by house guacamole (£3.50) which was perfectly enjoyable but lacked vibrancy.
Generously proportioned cauliflower wings (£4) had just the right amount of bite and golden roasty edges with a light batter coating. Dipped in a pot of Frank’s hot sauce and creamy ranch dressing it was a lovely piece of veggie junk food.
A halloumi burger (£9.50), made with a big slab of caramelised salty cheese, a dusting of crispy onions, sweet and smoky chipotle chilli jam and plenty of fresh salad stuffed into a soft seeded bun, was the highlight of the meal.
Excellent chips were impeccably crunchy and fluffy but a minuscule pot of under-seasoned red cabbage slaw wasn’t worth bothering with.
We rounded off the meal with a rather pretty slice of cheesecake (£4.50) with a crisp buttery base and a reassuringly sturdy and creamy top. The main interest came in the form of a thin layer of salted caramel, banana slices and the crunch of pecan. If it wasn’t already decadent enough then a pot of pouring cream was more than welcome.
We had a very enjoyable and good value pub lunch with friendly service at the North Star. I don't think it sits among the other places in Jay Rayner’s list but it’s somewhere I’d gladly return for a burger or a Sunday roast.
Address - 131 North Rd, Maindy, Cardiff CF14 3AE
Telephone - 029 2061 9191