Saturday, 21 May 2022

Bully's, Pontcanna, Cardiff restaurant review 2022

With their charmingly eclectic decor, laid back atmosphere, friendly front of house team, delicious wines and big flavoured French cooking, Bully’s in Pontcanna has been onto a winning formula for over 25 years.

Having had a great night there just under twelve months ago, another visit was on cards because there’s a new head chef in place, Simmie Vedi, a cook whose beautifully curated Instagram account features intricate dishes which blur the lines between food and art.

Bully’s menu, which includes dishes such as welsh beef tartare with rhubarb and soy-cured yolk and pork three ways with apricot and cavolo nero, is at the pricier end of the Cardiff spectrum with starters averaging £11, mains £26 and desserts £7.50.

I’m always a fan of a complimentary snack and a dinky bowl of smooth carrot and coriander soup was pleasingly buttery and spiked with pepper.

Piping hot mini rolls were fragranced with the sweet tang of tomato. Crisp of crust and soft of crumb, a couple however were teetering on the edge of being burnt.

The first of two starters (£11) saw thick tranches of meaty cured salmon elevated by their accompaniments of piquant bloody Mary and rich avocado purees and intense salmon roe.

A bowl of well-made tagliatelle (£12) looked diminutive in size but its coating of funky truffle, a flurry of parmesan and a runny yolk combined to make a deliciously decadent dish.

I rarely order steak when I visit a restaurant as it’s one of the *very few* things I can make a decent attempt at home. But, I had no regrets ordering a rare fillet steak (£32), which was well-crusted and flavoured. A slab of panko-crumbed mashed potato was dressed with purple sprouting broccoli and zippy pickled onions whilst a pot of silky beef fat-enriched bearnaise had a good tarragon intensity.

Another dainty yet big-flavoured dish combined disks of herb crusted lamb loin (£25), a buttery sweetbread, wild garlic scented mashed potato and a vibrant salsa verde.

Delicious sides all provided welcome bulk.

Crisp skin-on chips (£7) were seasoned with the funky duo of truffle and parmesan.

An excellent selection of spring greens (£5.50) including sweet leeks, hispi cabbage and chicory.

Salty gruyere-twanged potato puree (£5) was topped with nuggets of crispy bacon.

For dessert, a tarte tatin (£7.50) looked a little anaemic but it very much hit the mark with its crisp and flaky buttery pastry, soft and sweet apple, light and toasty caramel and good dollop of clotted cream.

A dense, smooth and rich brick of Valhrona chocolate cremeux (£8) was bang up my street. Accompanied by blobs of pithy marmalade puree, sponge pieces and a scoop of vanilla ice cream it was a top notch pud.

A cheese selection (£20) was one of the most creative I’ve encountered in the city, with each piece accompanied by a bespoke garnish. The standouts were a slice of socky Golden Cenarth which stood up well against a wild garlic shortbread and carrot chutney and truffled cheddar with fragrant apricot puree and toasted brioche.

Not everything quite hit the mark as a piece of fresh goats cheese was a bit recessive compared to pieces of beetroot and laverbread biscuit whilst a honey cake, which was matched with intense pickled walnut puree and funky Perl Las, was a little bit dry.

With the arrival their new head chef we were all in agreement that the cooking at Bully’s has moved up a notch or two. If it’s been a while since you’ve visited then now is a great time.

The Details:

Address - Bully's, 5 Romilly Crescent, Pontcanna, Cardiff CF11 9NP
Web -
Telephone - 029 2022 1905

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