Who needs William anyway?

When you can have Bill’s!

Outside [2]

So, what to do when you find your ship has run aground down the Bay?

Ship on roof

When you wish to play the welcoming host with a promise of a trusted restaurant, only to find your number one choice (Bayside Brasserie) has closed down and deserted you? And just when you’re on a mission to satisfy that late Sunday afternoon hunger? Bill’s comes to the rescue.

For starters we both settled on the Crispy Calamari with Red Chilli and Lime Aioli. What is it with this fashion for serving food straight from the cooking utensils? Saving on the washing up, maybe. But hang on, it could just be that my delightful company has seen the red chilli’s lurking with intent, and is grabbing her bag to make a quick getaway…

As for the main event, my thoughtful companion surveyed the menu for interesting tastes, opting for a healthy sounding Warm Chicken, Avocado and Parmesan Salad. As for me, well another cow just had to lose some weight in the Sirloin region, and a side of foliage will surely temper the overall threat of arterial assault…

Until we speak again, if your looking for posh and formal this is not the place. But for serviceable food in a relaxed setting it fits the Bill (yes, I hear the groans at that one). And the staff will simply be queuing up to serve you… possibly!

20180819_1719088065294201661373079.jpg

What’s in a name?

Strolling down Cardiff’s infamous Caroline Street (aka chip alley) it is easy to see how we can become accustomed to a familiar name when treating ourselves to that special dining out experience. Tony’s may have been around for some time, but for truly satisfying ‘chips and chicken curry off the bone‘ then it has to be Dorothy’s, serving Cardiff’s late night inebriates since 1953.

Caroline Street at night

With many other neighbouring establishments churning out British and faux Mediterranean nosh at speed, there is clearly no room here for Marco and his comfortably relaxed approach to cuisine. No, for Marco Pierre White another run down part of the city centre would need to upgrade in order to accommodate an altogether different way of dining.

The once dilapidated Dominions Arcade has had a makeover, with Dominions House recently accommodating the Indigo Hotel

On entering the old entrance to the arcade bypass the hotel reception and take the lift to the 6th Floor, because you don’t have to be a hotel resident to partake of the roof terrace restaurant that landed in November 2017…

Indigo Hotel entrance

Checking out the menu provides plenty of good reasons for making the elevated journey, with Rillettes of Pork and Armangnac Soaked Prunes providing a starter never to be found on Caroline Street! They only provided two of the prunes over a pate of pork, as no doubt a bowl full of the devils would seriously impede your subsequent ability to walk (though it would be a delightful anatomical challenge!)…

Prunes starter

As this was an occasion for two guys to celebrate Christmas 2017 in August 2018 (if you don’t understand that one, don’t ask), the interesting vegetarian options on the menu were comfortably placed in the ‘not to be disturbed’ section of the culinary brain. Tempting as the steaks were we were both a bit filleted out of late. So, it was time to distribute patronage more liberally around the animal kingdom… sheep and pigs were put on high alert to do what they do best!

For me the temptation of Roast Rump of Lamb A La Dijonnaise was irresistible. And a side of French Beans with Toasted Almonds was a personal nod to the possible delights that the world of vegetables can offer to us dedicated carnivores…

Rump of Lamb

As for my visiting companion, only a porcine assault in the form of The Pig Mixed Grill with Triple Cooked Chips would satisfy… something that the sausage and chips down Caroline Street would never be able to compete with!

Pig feast

Until we speak again, Juno would only have agreed to put her name to this blog if it was going to be a true reflection of her views and experiences of Cardiff and elsewhere. As for Marco Pierre White, it seems he is so confident in his name he even includes it on a specially created bottle of wine (though the water was pure Welsh!).

Wine and Water

 

Culinary Brexit, anyone?

Okay, so it’s time for us self-respecting Brits to take back control of our cuisine. Who would really vote for mandatory imposed quantities of Brussel Sprouts anyway? As for Frankfurters and Sauerkraut flooding our customs union…well!

Whatever happened to the sublimely sweet Marie Rose Prawn Cocktail of 1970’s Britain? Would you seriously prefer French Asperges (Steamed Asparagus with a soft Poached Egg and Hollandaise Sauce)? Well, judging by the following example, that would be a definite ‘yes’…

Asperges starter

So, for the sake of dear old Blighty, let’s just say that was a one-off fluke occurrence.

Who is going to deny themselves the sovereignty of choosing Boiled Beef and Carrots, with a side of tripe? Would you seriously prefer to keep open our borders, so that we may be subject to the invasion of Entrecôte (9oz rib-eye steak) with a side of French Beans and Coated Almond Flakes? Well, perhaps the answer to that one is a resounding ‘yes’ again…

Entrecote rib-eye

There is one consolation to this culinary xenophobia… we do know how to make the best chips! Pomme Frites can happily be repatriated back to their place of origin, once and for all.

In the continuing negotiations, stand firm and say ‘no’ to all of this fanciful European cuisine. We are on the threshold of making a whole new nosh exchange with the world… open up your collective oesophagi to Chicken Kiev… to Chicken Korma… and even to Monkey Brains

On the other hand… seriously people! What do you think you have voted for? I, for one, can definitely recommend an indefinite extension of a customs union with Pierre Le Bistrot in Cardiff’s Brewery Quarter… and, if I’m not mistaken, the following picture suggests by way of Spice Quarter that we might just already have access to worldwide cuisine.

Outside [2]

Until we speak again, why exactly do we need Brexit? [Answers on a postcard… address withheld!]

Salt Beef Mountain

New York, Cardiff. So good they named it… no, that doesn’t work. But, if you happen upon the High Street Arcade in Cardiff you’ll find more than just an appealing facade…

High St Arcade entrance 2018

But do remember to afford much more than just a New York Minute” for the New York Deli

Arcade view

For here you find that little piece of New York right in the heart of Cardiff City Centre, complete with a mouth-watering menu…

Menu

Take your time, because the choices are amazing. For me on this first visit it had to be The Ritchie Parks with a cup of cwarfee (that’s New York for coffee to the uninitiated!).

Hoaggie and Coffee

I advise that you don’t have a hearty breakfast before planning on visiting this deli, as the salt beef is both fresh and mountainous, topped with Swiss cheese and garnished with gherkin…

The Ritchie Parks

If you don’t feel like walking afterwards you might even be surprised by the arrival of the next subway train…

Mural

Until we speak again, I guess Juno and Bella would have been more interested in that eagle guarding the stairway…

Downstairs view [2]

Milgi: a vegetarians dream

Rear viewCarnivorous cats have had plenty to salivate over through several posts in this blog. But the vegetarian proclivity is not one often pandered to. So, with a dearth of cat-like influences at present, and a visit from a friend of the veggie-persuasion, it was an apt time to transgress (as Juno and Bella would no doubt see it).

What can Cardiff possibly offer that could satisfy a committed carnivore in the meat-deficiency sector?

Milgi [2]

 

 

 

An award recognised establishment would be a good starting place, particularly in the atmospheric Roath area of the city. City Road is the location and Milgi is the destination.

Milgi [3]

If you are a young bicycle riding vegetarian student type, step in, as this is a place with a welcome for you. If you are an older hunter-gatherer type with a liking for your meal to have had legs and a quaint name in a recent incarnation, step in, as this place will have more than a few surprises for you.The cafe style of decor provides a very informal atmosphere…

Milgi [4]The anxiety-ridden carnivore (as if such a beast exists) need not worry about needing a translator for the menu. It may vary occasionally, but this is a place that wants to provide  small range of high quality options. The three starters are platters of Moroccan, Peruvian and Indian origin. On this occasion we chose the Moroccan & Peruvian to share between us. Beetroot humous, harissa roasted parsnips, hangout chickpeas, cauliflower cos cos, avocado tartare, red quinoa & kale pattie, wheatgrass vinaigrette and omega 3 toasted seeds provided a positive plethora of tastes…

Milgi [5]5 main dishes presented the nicest of problems, choice. On the evidence of the starters this carnivore fancies more of a meze of all 5 options. Previous reports of the excellent chips (thats UK chips not US chips!) influences the final choice, as we both go for the ‘beer battered haloumi, chips and minted garden peas’. These are minted peas, not to mixed up with the carnivores bent for mushy peas. The chips lived up to the reputation, and again the contrasts of tastes complemented each other, taking away any potential drifting of the concentration to visions of animals in search of a grill.

Milgi [6]34660_dia_1425_950_don_julio_mojito_37_$$069A0000001gyNVIAYThe pinot grigio complemented the meal, and not being a dessert fancier, there was a wonderful Mojito to finish off the whole occasion. As so many of the published reviews begin with “I’m not a vegetarian but…” I can add to the list. Rest assured Milgi will not turn you into a vegetarian ion you’re not one already! But, this is a place you will want to come back to.

Until we speak again, may all of your vegetables satisfy.

My Thai

Is it a religion? Is it a form of martial arts? Or is it a flippant reference to the other half? No, it’s time to satisfy that hunger with some exotic cuisine. When you’ve exhausted your mental and physical faculties sitting down and watching a couple of rugby matches in the Millennium Stadium you can really work up an appetite. So, the question is whether you follow the neanderthal hordes to the nearest burger van, or maybe hit Cardiff’s infamous chip alley down Caroline Street?

Those of us with an ounce of forward planning capability realise that restaurants will be full, unless that is you book in advance. And if you book in advance why not go that exotic extra taste bud or two. The Thai House is a well established Cardiff institution, conveniently located close to a range of other unique eating establishments that eschew (that’s a nice word borrowed from the TLF blog!) the chain mentality. If you like your eatery to have a Portuguese flavour then you will have to walk a whole 3 yards to that place below draped with a Welsh flag. If you like your nosh with a touch of the art insulation, or even a religious backdrop, then you will have to muster up the energy to walk a further 20 yards (all of which are reviewed in other posts on this site).

Strangely, this is a Thai restaurant that boasts a Rugby addition to the menu, but this is no time for a theme park trough. Dynamic flowing rugby needs to be followed by something a little more exquisite.

Thai House [1]

The Thai House menu is a navigational challenge in its own right. But after you have spent 10 minutes with the verbal gymnastics, guzzling a Singa Beer for inspiration, you pluck up the courage to order using the Thai wording; only for your ethnic waitress to look at the menu and ask if you mean 4, 9, 21, 22, 51 and 54! The Sate (tender pork and chicken) and Tord Mun (Spicy Thai Fish Medallions) both offer delicately spiced and succulent starters…

Thai House [2]

Then it’s time for something that no burger van or famous fish and chip shop in the world is likely to serve up. The crispy duck comes with an even more crispy kale, to offer contrasting assaults on the taste buds. Then the Emperor prawns deliver an unexpected undressing challenge, to remove the hard shell in order to reveal a juicy sacrifice within; made all the more rewarding when enveloped in a spicy coconut sauce, with lime and mushroom additional flavours…

Thai House [3]

Don’t go here on a busy day expecting rapid service. This is a place you come to to absorb the culinary offerings in a more relaxed mode. Neither Juno or Bella were enamoured with my liking for the prawn. But I’m sure that duck and the earlier fish and meat combinations would have taken some swiping off unguarded plates.

Until we speak again I will be taking a tour of fields way beyond Cardiff, sharing some Cardiff Cool Cat reflections on ‘elsewhere’.

 

Smoky Days

Pretty girl [1]A smoke and fire combination doesn’t have to spell disaster. Though when my ‘resident gastronome’ started eulogising about the taste of smoke I was beginning to contemplate instant evacuation from the joint! Rather than a fire-induced emergency, it seems the reference was more to a recently established addition to an over-full American burger type of market. The smoke in question turns out to be a Kansas influenced method of cooking that uses the b-b-q smoky style that brings out the best of taste in good meats.

The Smoke Haus [1]

Being American in origin, The Smoke Haus leaves little space on the plate. Ramping up the numbers of the obese population doesn’t seem to be a primary concern. Health hazards are just collateral damage when it comes to the pursuit of gastronomic pleasures. On the occasion of this particular visit a New orleans Burger, Kansas Chicken, and Veggie Chilli were complemented with house fries, rice, Guinness, and Anchor Steam beer. These were the relatively small portions, but for those who could eat a horse, or another more likely complete animal for that matter, The Smoke Haus is waiting to prepare the challenge for you!

Smoke Haus [2]

Whatever level of challenge you take on, there is the universal message to all diners… We Salute You! Well, they do get to pocket your hard earned cash, and this isn’t cheap by average burger joint standards…

Smoke Haus [3]

… The old adage is that you get what you pay for, and my ‘surrogate tastebud‘ tells me it is worth paying the upsell for a whole different quality of taste.

X-ray eyesUntil we speak again this Bella recommends the influence of smoke on you palate. A Smoky Day should not just be a melodic tune from Colin Blunstone! What next… how about sampling some fire-eating.