Under the radar cuisine

Sometimes it’s the quieter places that can occasionally provide the big surprises. Take Whitchurch in Cardiff… as a teenager I would frequently be saying, yes, just take it; but then I escaped only to re-visit over many years to find that it has a quaintly interesting aura about it.

Never a place to appear in any gastronomic lists, but somewhere that domestic pets needn’t live in the fear of abduction with designs on being turned into heavily disguised nouvelle cuisine! It seems that one quiet little corner is bucking the trend of many years, as The Brook Bistro has had many failed previous incarnations but now seems to be thriving…

Brook Bistro

Well, thriving may not be what comes to mind on entry, but we were visiting very early evening and it was a fully booked little establishment later that same evening…

Restaurant

But, then again, unlike some of the bigger more ferocious members of the cat family, we weren’t here to eat the locals. When it comes to what’s on the plate, this place served up some delightful surprises; with a mushrooms, chorizo and stilton starter leading the tastebud assault…

Mushrooms Chorizo and Stilton

Then it was time for the main event, and a combination of Slow Roasted Rack of Lamb and a Grilled Tuna Steak Salad were delightful sights and mouth-watering tastes…

Slow Roasted Rack of Lamb and Grilled Tuna Steak Salad mains

Until we speak again, discerning cats are currently licking their lips over tasty Argentinian Malbecs!

Cardiff: Old & New

It’s a city felt by many local critics to have neglected so much of its history… bulldoze and re-build anew seems to be the fashion. Maybe the priorities of a few fat cats prevail, but Cardiff is Europe’s youngest capital city, and young needs to look shiny and new… doesn’t it?

Well, the city certainly needs to answer some questionable decisions regarding design and building priorities, and we can start by checking out the very locations where some of those answers may come from. Take the contrast between the domineering sight in the centre of the city located near to the castle, City Hall… Edwardian Baroque architecture opened in 1906, built of Portland Stone…

preferred post [4]

preferred post [3]

Meanwhile, languishing on the banks of the elegantly ignored Bute East Dock lies a compressed pagoda of a structure in the form of the more modern County Hall… opened in 1988 it represents a less imposing style of civic building…

county hall

Until we speak again, Cardiff may be littered with bog-standard corporate design choices, but look a little closer and the gems can still be found amongst the guano!

Booze-free eating?

What… dining out without alcohol? Whatever next?

Take a stroll through Bold Street in Liverpool and you might just happen upon a Lebanese Carrot Juice, with a Grilled Halloumi Salad on the side (at Bakchich Restaurant), where pomegranate seeds make for a great accompaniment to the grilled halloumi…

Then again, walking 10 yards further along the same street you just might find a refreshing Moroccan Lemonade, Fresh Mint & Lime, ideally complemented by a Lamb Tagine (at Kasbah Cafe), where the lamb just falls off the bone…

Meanwhile, across the street, a breakfast cup of Lemongrass and Ginger Rooibos must surely be accompanied by a taster of Asparagus and Poached Egg but don’t forget to add the Bacon and Halloumi options; don’t worry, a smidgen of greenery and tomato provides an illusion of healthy eating (at Leaf Cafe)…

Back in Cardiff, the alcohol-deprived extravaganza may be continued with an Indian Salted Lassi amply supported by Chilli Mushrooms, Channa Batura, and Almond, Jeera & Cinamon Rice (at Vegetarian Food Studio)…

Salted Lassi

With a stroll from Penarth Road to City Road enabling a Lebanese/Turkish combo Mango Lassi to be deliciously interrupted by a Mixed Shish or Chicken Shawarma (at La Shish)…

And, if you are in the mood to search for Persia, return back along City Road, take a left into Newport Road, and a couple hundred yards on the right just off Newport Road you will find Mowlana. Here you must try the house speciality Lemon and Mint Juice… it certainly helps meet the challenge of the shared platter of a Mixed Kebab!

Until we speak again, booze-free eating is just a fabulous reason for going on tour, just so long as Juno was selecting a fine bottle of wine for the return home!

Wine stocks

Fireworks and handbags

History is waiting to be made… can Welsh rugby achieve its long overdue clean sweep of autumn international victories? South Africa have other intentions. Cue fireworks for the customary gladiatorial entrance under a closed roof…

A few tetchy individuals seemed to bring their handbags onto the pitch with them, as a few minor skirmishes threaten to interrupt a rugby match. But, was there ever going to be any doubt about the outcome as Wales move to a 14-0 lead at an early stage of the match…

There was a brief moment in the second half when South Africa reduce the lead to 14-11, and it seemed as if the handbag-inducing tension was going to subdue home supporters thoughts about any celebratory fireworks.

Until we speak again, a final score of Wales 20 South Africa 11 secures a deserved victory. With 2019 being World Cup year, stow the handbags and light the blue touchpaper!

Fearsome sights in Liverpool

It’s a chilly evening… Friday, or maybe a Saturday. You see three young Liverpool lasses coming towards you. The Man From Del Monte may be saying ‘Yes‘ to the vision of an all too familiar hue, but… you might just be witnessing the staggering largesse of ‘The Terracotta Army in Stiletto’s‘!

Then again, an autumn afternoon vista at the Museum of Liverpool captures the threefold beauty of the locally known Three Graces

Meanwhile an evening stroll around the Albert Dock illuminates a colourful side of the wider picture…

The Cunard Building sits centrally in the ranks of the Three Graces, and presents a solid facade, but sits between more dramatic neighbours… The Port of Liverpool building presents stunning detail…

But, to the majority of us who know, or even think we know, Liverpool, it is The Liver Building that sparks the imagination…

Until we speak again, raise a rooftop garden cup of mulled wine to some fearsome Liverpool sights…

Premier League unplugged [7]

On this special anniversary, the centenary of the First World War armistice, the most important message is “Lest we forget…”

The Field [5]

And, in the current context of the Cardiff City Stadium this may well be a reference to “… football used to be played here!” 

Until we speak again, for the record Cardiff City FC won 2-1, only just, in the last few minutes, having struggled against a reduced 10-man Brighton for over an hour!