Posted by: mikeydude | August 21, 2009

Mulberry Street Cardiff Restaurant Review (6.5/10)

It was a busy Saturday and I had lots of chores to do along with a friend’s leaving do in the evening. The Boss wanted to each lunch out somewhere and so I immediately thought of this small restaurant located effectively down the road from us in the upmarket village of Llandaff. I had been wanting to try this place for a few weeks now because of its ‘tapas’ style small dishes at lunchtimes which were served at a ‘3 for 2’ rate. I had also read a few good reviews speaking of a place that prides itself in serving ‘locally sourced’ produce.

mulberrylogo

Llandaff village itself is very small; the towering presence of Llandaff Cathedral being its center point item. Mulberry St is located just off the main road that runs through Llandaff (Llantrisant Rd) and so is very easy to find. There’s also a free public car park round the corner which is always useful. Being not particularly hungry I was looking for a light lunch, but boy were we in for a feast!!!

To be honest first impressions weren’t great. The interior of the restaurant was nice enough, I reckon it sits around 50 or so. When we arrived there were diners at all the window seats. We received a warm welcome and directed to some seats. Now there were plenty of tables left in the whole restaurant. We were led to a table just outside the lavatory. Now the Mrs is not very keen on these seats and so we were then directed to the back of the restaurant – nice and cosy setting, which was fine. What was noticed subsequently was that other “table for 2” customers were led straight to the more ‘in-house’ seats and some were even sat down on 4 seater tables. Perhaps it’s paranoia, or perhaps it was thought we were students/tourists and so chances of future loyalty were slim (?). Either way just a slightly off first impression.

Right… Food! Drinks wise we ordered a jug of iced tap water and a Peroni for myself (£3).

Menu wise you have 2 options for lunch. Either the 3-for-2 (cheapest dish free) on their small dishes menu which vary in price between £3.50-£6.50, or the lunch set menu at £6.95 for one course and £8.95 for 2 courses. We decided to order 2 courses from the set lunch menu and 3 dishes from the small dishes menu. I might add at this point that I quizzed the waitress on their produce, and she seemed well informed of where everything came from – mostly local. Here’s what we had…

Deep Fried Whitebait with Chive Mayonnaise

White Bait

My my…. these ‘small dishes’ weren’t small. They were huge. I certainly didn’t expect such a generous portion of whitebait that’s for sure. Not that I’m complaining of course! These were lush. Tasted fresh and not tasteless as they tend to be when frozen for too long. The Mayo dip with chives gave it a slightly sour taste which was pleasant. Not much cooking skill demonstrated here, but very nice nonetheless.

Butternut Squash and Sage Risotto

Butternut Sqash Sage Risotto

It’s not easy making a risotto. I know this as I’ve tried a few times. It requires a lot of care and attention. You can’t stop stirring it and the stock used has to be gently ladled into the pan ladle by ladle to prevent sogginess. I was very impressed by this risotto. It had a lovely creamy texture along with the mild taste of butternut squash, and then all brought through by the aroma of the sage. I was surprised to see that there was some dark coloured sauce sitting on top which tasted like soy. Added extra taste to it… just a surprising supplement! The rice was cooked perfectly. Again…. a huge portion.

Lamb Koftas with Mint Yoghurt

Lamb Kofta with Mint Yoghurt

This dish was alright. Minced lamb koftas didn’t really taste much of lamb, although the mint sauce gave it adequate moisture and added depth. Slightly under-seasoned for my liking, but then I’m not fanatical about minced meat anyway.

Local Welsh Liver with Red Onion Jus and Sage Mash Potato

Lamb's Liver and mash potato

This was the dish I was most looking forward to. I’m a huge fan of liver because of it’s rich flavours and smooth texture, and was very keen to try out local liver. This disappointed unfortunately. The liver was terribly overcooked which meant that even though the strong flavours were there, it became chewy. Not pleasant. This was a huge shame I thought because the onion jus complemented the flavour of the liver well. I couldn’t really taste the sage in the mash but then that’s probably because my tongue had just received a hammering from the strong liver flavours. A real shame…. because this dish could have been amazing if cooked better.

Pancetta, Oyster Mushroom, and Sun Blush Tomato Quiche, with Homemade Cooked Vegetable Crisps

Quiche with Veg Crisps

This quiche was very good. The Pancetta and Tomato flavours worked well together with the mushroom and cheese providing a slightly milder combination of tastes. Pastry was the way I like it; not too thick and doughy. Portion size was just right and the vegetable crisps were flavoursome and crispy. Good attempt.

Absolutely stuffed by this lunch. Couldn’t really eat much at the evening party, but I really didn’t regret coming to this place. I think the ideas are great – trying to cook small dishes from local produce to show off as much of the chef’s talent as possible. Sure not everything worked, but this was made up for by the ones that did, and the generosity of the portions. Speaking of the Chef I did enquire about him as I left. Turns out that he was previously from the Connaught in London probably working alongside Angela Hartnett. Hmmmmmm…. although the cooking I tasted today was nowhere near that of Miss Hartnett, I was particularly impressed with his ability to make rissoto, sauces, and quiche. I will definitely return to try out the other dishes and assess consistency. This place has potential….

In total we paid £25 including drinks and service charge. For that amount of food I thought that it was pretty good value for money. Apart from the slight gripe at the beginning, I would recommend this restaurant for lunch for those who like the ‘sharing’ experience.

Contact:

Mulberry Street
48 High St
Llandaff
Cardiff

Tel: 02920 564646

Opening times:
Tues – Sat: 12:00-15:00
18:30-23:00

http://www.mulberrystreetcardiff.com/index.htm

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