Vegetarians nightmare

Why do us cats eat meat? Why not is my answer? Greenery was always something I was brought up to look out of the window at. A vegetarian’s dream dish of fennel and kale resembles nothing more than lush coloured tumbleweed, and certainly doesn’t satisfy the same sense of achievement in knowing that my meal once had a name and roamed the prairies, or whatever.

So, I was very keen to send my apprentice carnivores off to test out a place in St Mary’s Street in Cardiff, somewhere with a name that instantly struck a chord with my culinary sensibilities…

The Meating Place [1]This is a small but very cozy restaurant in a busy part of town for socialising and entertainment, with an atmosphere that invites visiting cats to relax and focus on the food…

The Meating Place [4]

The Meating Place [6]

For the discerning vegetarian the darkness might be a little foreboding, with delicate shades of pink light illuminating members of the animal kingdom. Even some of the wall decoration has been chosen to remind dining cats of their priorities!

The Meating Place [5]

However, a quick glance at the menu takes away any of that decision-making anxiety for vegetarian diners, who may need to conserve all of their energy for lifting knives and forks. With a bunch of appetisers, a couple of starters and one main dish, all thought processes can be reserved for managing the sensual and moral assault from the whisker preening carnivorous majority.

The Meating Place food [4]Any lapsed vegetarians will no doubt be more than grateful for their change in culinary fortunes. A starter of duck and cranberry sauce was presented in a very different format from the aromatic crispy variety so beloved by this cat’s apprentice. Don’t search the menu for this one, as they do like to present a few specials on the day…

The meating Place food [1]Then there is the historical reference of this restaurant, with a previous incarnation of Portuguese cuisine. The hanging skewers have been retained so you can have some of your dishes suspended above the table. In this visit the lamb sewer was particularly delicate and tasty…

The Meating Place food [2]I am reliably informed that carnivore junior also enjoyed the sirloin steak. And why should vegetarians feel left out when the home made chunky chips were cooked to perfection!?

The Meating PLace food [3]Call this food!Reports suggest that scavenging cats need not assemble out the back of this particular restaurant, as plates tend to be returned empty! Until we speak again this Bella would like to extend a special thanks to all the Daisy’s, Dolly’s and Donald’s who graze our green and lush countryside in order to grace the plate so extravagantly.

As a responsible cat it is also important that I state no vegetarians were harmed during the staging of this event!

A ray of sunshine

What do you think when I suggest ‘Portugal‘ to you? Sunshine, Atlantic breezes, seafood, Lisbon, Porto, fine wines and ports? Am I the only one that thinks ‘Cardiff‘? A bit of lateral thinking maybe, but come on people, get with the programme. I might have travelled here at the behest of my resident fur-ball from my familiar home in London, but at least I am making an effort to acclimatise to their triumphant homecoming. Azure blue skies, white walls bathed in sunshine, and the prospect of mouth-watering Portuguese dining… it can only be Cardiff.

Madiera [1]

 

Here is a pub quiz question for you… where is Madeira? An archipelago located off the Portuguese Atlantic coast you geographical geniuses recite, with the confidence of the world traveller informing the majority of Americans who are busy searching their world atlases that only stretch from Washington State to Florida, and Maine to California. Well, my eccentric informant tells me it is to be found on Guildford Crescent¬†in downtown Cardiff¬†somewhere close to the archaeological site of a local swimming pool best known for its indoor version of lido style changing rooms facing directly onto the poolside.

In the case of the Madiera Ristorante, the adjacent Masonic Hall and Thai House provide the wider urban vista in place of the more usually expected Atlantic panorama. But don’t simply turn up at this place. Since 1998 it has built a reputation for a relaxing atmosphere, fine dining, and the sight of your food dripping from the ceiling! This is somewhere that definitely needs a booking, and it is popular for all sorts of groupings. If you are an intimate pair of cats with designs on mutual purring over dinner be prepared to unashamedly shout your sweet nothings back and forth… as you could easily find yourself located in a darkly lit corner only to be joined by large and small groups of contestants practicing for a foghorn blowing competition…

Madiera [2]The menu reads like your holiday memories from those lovingly remembered trips to the Algarve… plenty of the swimmy flappy things that us cats so love to play with eat raw (a bit like the Japanese in that sense). Caranguejo (crab), lulas (squid) and Gambas (prawns) are to be found in shoals. But, if you like to put plenty of meat on to your fury rump there is no shortage of Carne dishes, both of the conventional (steaks) and adventurous (portuguese twists to familiar favourites). Then there is the creative use of space… why have your skewered delights laid out across your plate when you can simply hang it from the ceiling over your table?

Madiera [3]Espetadas are a Madeira speciality that come in pork, beef, lamb, chicken, monkfish or combinations; and are simply deliciously cooked kebabs hung from hooks above your table, with the option of garlic dripping down through the whole skewer. However, if you are a vegetarian, try being one of the fish eating variety, or else your range will be limited to what you normally buy in the supermarket!

Once again, I have had to stay at home Olive branchguarding the ancestral pile, while those who don’t know how to wrestle a fish around the floor, pawing its head against a handy skirting board, are enjoying gastronomic delicacies and delights. Until we speak again this Juno will be planning to hideout in the bin store behind the Madeira Ristorante… just perfecting the right pose to catch any falling fish.