Posted by: mikeydude | April 10, 2010

The New Conway Gastropub Review (7/10)

Wow a Cardiff restaurant that can cook steak!!

A decent gastropub is something that Cardiff lacks and badly needs to pick up its rather lacklustre dining options. I tried Y Cadno; that was awful. I tried the New Red Lion in Pendoylan; that was good but a bit far out and the cooking was not without its flaws. It was time to give this sister venue of the much praised Wood’s Brasserie a try in B&B renowned Pontcanna sitting just on the outskirts of the city centre. It’s in the Michelin guide, so it can’t be too bad I thought. Parking was a bit tricky (side streets only), as was getting a seat for 2 which is expected on a Saturday night at a place that doesn’t take bookings for small groups. We were about to leave and try out Jamie’s Italian in town when a seat just became available, and boy am I glad we stayed….

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Posted by: mikeydude | April 2, 2010

Cardamom Restaurant Cardiff Review (5.5/10)

Where’s the flavour?

My relatively few good experiences of good Indian food have always been meals which concentrate on packing in huge amounts of flavour and zing! So when I went to a restaurant in the Canton region of Cardiff that boasted of having won Welsh Curry House of the Year and British Curry Awards in the past I was really expecting them to deliver on that aspect. Anyway on a Saturday night where most restaurants were fully booked and the Mrs had a craving for her favourite Peshwari Naan I thought I’d give this place a try. Here’s my full report.

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Posted by: mikeydude | March 10, 2010

The New Red Lion Gastropub Cardiff Review (6.5/10)

The roar of an uprising from the West!

Interesting how I got about dining here last night in celebration with the wife for passing her GP exams (yipee!). I initially wanted to go to Le Gallois to see how their food is going currently after being disappointed during my last couple of visits. They were fully booked. I then tried calling Woods Brasserie in Cardiff Bay to try their good value for money Pre-theatre menu. They were also pretty booked up. My last attempt was to try out the recently re-opened Bully’s restaurant in Canton to see how well they can fry a piece of fois gras. They were full. Sheesh I thought it was the credit crunch! Anyway my last resort was to try out this highly rated gastropub in the little village of Pendoylan on the Western end of Cardiff. Chef Kami Soroush has been highly praised by Vale Life magazine for his simple down to earth style of rustic cooking. They luckily had room for the two of us and so we embarked on an evening of interesting ambience, pretty good food, and pretty awful service. Here’s my report….

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Posted by: mikeydude | February 25, 2010

Pearl Liang Dim Sum Restaurant Review (7/10)

Learn to compromise – it will always be a customers market

Each time I’ve come here I have not been disappointed (dinner review here). However people seem to rate the dim sum extremely highly at this rapidly ‘popularising’ Chinese. Times critic Giles Coren had recently given it rave reviews which no doubt will increase its loyal followers further. I had to try it out before the inevitable price hike on a cold February afternoon prior to leaving London back for Cardiff. It was also running up to Chinese New Year and so my desire to eat Dim Sum was at its peak! Here is what I thought of what was sampled…

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Posted by: mikeydude | February 14, 2010

L’autre Pied Restaurant Review (8/10)

Impeccable Service!

I love a good deal. In this day and age when restaurants are charging such astronomical prices it’s fantastically satisfying when you find yourself a bargain. The Financial Times had an offer on this month where by buying 2 newspapers I was able to dine at a restaurant with my wife and only be charged the total divided by 2 and plus £5. The restaurants available weren’t bad either. However the catch was that it was only available for lunch; except one… L’autre Pied; sister restaurant to the critically acclaimed Pied A Terre (which incidently, I dined at with my wife and father in law about 2 years ago and had a fantastic meal!). Here are my thoughts on this restaurant which is supposed to be less formal and relaxed.

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Posted by: mikeydude | February 2, 2010

Seafood Paella

I admit a crushing defeat!!

Arggh… for a few months now I have boycotted that fishmongers monopoly Ashtons in Cardiff Central Market. I can’t stand their rude and arrogant staff who think they’re above everyone else just because they sell fresh seafood. The boss himself is an exception; he’s friendly enough, but the rest have some real attitude. And so for the past few months I’ve been trying to entertain myself with the likes of Morrisons (which serve some pretty fresh fish sometimes!) and Waitrose in Pontprennau (which has a reasonable albeit pricey seafood counter). On this occasion I bought my seafood from Waitrose to make myself a seafood paella. Unfortunately it just can’t match Ashtons in terms of freshness and quality of produce… sigh….

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Posted by: mikeydude | January 31, 2010

Creamy Mushroom Risotto & Roast Shoulder of Pork

Simple Rustic Pleasure

As I’ve mentioned before risottos are difficult to get absolutely right, as you can never just leave it on the hob without stirring. It involves a style of cooking rice different to conventional chinese methods as you actively encourage fluid to seep in and cook the rice ladle by ladle. I decided to serve it with a cheap shoulder of pork I bought from Tesco the day before but obviously outdoor reared would have made it much much nicer. However I wasn’t particularly in the mood for splashing out on expensive produce the day after my week long night shifts ended as my peristalsis was pretty much switched off during the day! Anyway here’s what I ended up with…

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Posted by: mikeydude | January 16, 2010

Michelin 2010

CONGRATULATIONS WALES!

Most pleased today after browsing through the leaked Michelin results of this year and noting that Wales has retained its one star and gained 3 more!!!

That’s fantastic news. One new and perhaps expected award goes to the Walnut Tree Inn in Monmouthshire which restores its days of former glory in fantastic style. I’ve never been to this renowned restaurant due to its distance from Cardiff, but will definitely try and make the trip this year.

The other 2 restaurants are in mid-north Wales, so a bit far afield for me… maybe later on.

I think its about time talented chefs showed off some of the fantastic produce we have here in Wales and do it some justice. It’s just a pity that Cardiff itself has yet to even come close to produce such fine food!

Elsewhere… looking at my hometown of Southampton. Nothing there, although Whitley Ridge in Brockenhurst has unsurprisingly lost its one star since the head chef has concentrated on a new hotel in the same village. Hmmmm.. speaking of Hampshire, there’s a restaurant called The Terrace in Beaulieu which is not that far from Southampton. Might give that a shot one day when I go home to visit.

Anyway… EAT ON!

Posted by: mikeydude | January 14, 2010

Pearl Liang Paddington Restaurant Review (7.5/10)

At last… Chinese food to be proud of!

I’ve been to far too many chinese restaurants that serve mediocre food topped with bucketfuls of MSG and yet receiving rave reviews from the public. Over the years it has left a rather sour impression of my country of origin’s style of cooking. I will never claim myself to be an expert of judging chinese cuisine, as I simply don’t eat it often enough nor have I sampled China/SE Asia’s finest. Some people say for instance the roast duck is best in Peking itself, others say HK, whilst some even say Australia. I can only tell you that the best Peking Duck I have ever had was in a hotel in Hong Kong which I tried way back in 1997. I can’t remember the name but my uncle brought me there where they bring the whole roasted duck over to the table, and carve the crispy duck skin in front of you onto a platter. They then wheel away the rest of the duck to make a different dish with. That duck skin was the crispiest and juiciest duck I had ever had in my life. I don’t think any duck I had ever eaten in the UK had even come close, up until I found this little restaurant just located 5 mins walk from Paddington train station…..

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Posted by: mikeydude | January 13, 2010

St John Bar & Restaurant Smithfield Review (7/10)

World Number 14?????? I think not….

I really don’t trust world restaurant rankings these days no matter how unbiased they claim to be. Nevertheless I don’t think I could be blamed for not expecting a less than phenomenal meal at a restaurant ranked at number 14 according to Pelligrino’s rankings? St John’s Restaurant is located in the Northeast part of central London a short walk away from London’s famous Smithfield Market. I decided to bring the Mrs here for dinner on a bitterly cold January night after her day of intense lectures in preparation for a tough exam. The place has just won a Michelin Star this year and I was really looking forward to sampling Fergus Henderson’s ‘Nose to Tail’ cooking after such disappointment at Hereford Road. My rants….

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