Confused cat

A thought came to mind some time ago: ‘If you try to be good at everything, you will never be great at anything’. It came as I was sitting in the Seasons cafe/restaurant/bar/delivery joint in the Castle Arcade facing across to Cardiff Castle.

Strolling the arcades is always nothing less than a delight, and you will not be short of places to partake in a cats favourite pastime… okay, maybe eating comes a distant second to sleeping. I had often passed Seasons without really knowing what it was meant to be. But the sight of a full Welsh breakfast as I looked through the window on a particular lunchtime was a major draw.

So, what is so Welsh about it? The local references on the specials board try to give the game away…

Welsh specials board

The addition of the braised leeks helped…

Full Welsh Breakfast

But, perhaps it was the strange accoutrement that really gave the game away…

Strange teapot

The application of sheep to just about everything is probably meant to be a draw to any full-blooded Welsh cat. So, I guess, is the juxtaposition of breakfast with beers, wines and cocktails!?

Inside

So that is where the confusion really set in… is this place supposed to be a cafe, a bar, or what? We all know we can experience all four seasons in one day here in the UK, so why not experience all parts of the culinary/alcoholic day in one go?

Until we speak again, I recently realised that maybe I was not the only confused one… as, unlike this present winter, the Seasons has in fact gone!

Seasons gone!

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Surfing the turf

So there I was, in this crazy cats kind of world, suddenly finding myself back in Llanelli. Now, for those of you who haven’t been, you might just be wondering why go in the first place? And, for those who have been to this run down post-industrial area of south-west Wales, the source of wonderment is… why go back a second time? Well, we can’t always choose where the work is going to take us, is the plain simple answer to that conundrum.

However, once drawn into its web of intrigue, don’t expect things to be as they usually are! For a start there are the Castle Buildings as a prime place to stay… but it’s not the traditional Welsh castle that you might have been led to expect?

Vista Hotel

The hotel occupying this so-called castle site is the Vista Hotel… but I suggest you revise your expectations of vista’s before you arrive!

Church from hotel window

However, there is one thing that should cause most unsuspecting cats to pause (or is that paws?) before they pounce… it’s always interesting when your meal looks you in the eye and says ‘Your move!’

Surf and Turf [2]

The thing is… where to get the energy to launch an escape beyond the orbit of Llanelli’s gravitational pull? Rest assured, cats wishing to get out of the bag can take on an early morning full (Welsh/English) breakfast…

All Day Breakfast

Though be warned… the food in this place might just be enough to tempt you stay… at least until the next meal, if for no other exciting reason!

Until we speak again, Juno will display the level of industriousness now associated with the former powerhouses of Welsh industry…

Armadillo pose

 

 

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!

Culinary adornment

Stay out [4]

So, that’s where the ancestors went wrong… a 25 foot high solid wall clearly wasn’t enough to keep the historic hordes of marauding cats out, particularly at banqueting time. Cardiff discovers that every good castle needs the unfathomable wisdom of an ugly Health & Safety intervention. Just add a 10 foot high steel fence, and you too can commune with your local population, delivering a message that something special is happening here, but you’re not invited!

Stay out [5]

Clearly somebody forgot to tell Batman… a fence and a high visibility cone threat will do nothing to deter a super hero with a skateboard. As for the subtle human addition to the high-vis security… just set your egg-timer to suss out the frequency of patrols by plods-on-wheels cycling the whole perimeter of the prolateriat-diner-exclusion-zone…

Stay out [6]

So, what is all the fuss about, you ask? NATO are holding a summit… somewhere else!!! Yes, the summit is in Newport, about 15 miles away. Maybe, my reader, you have been to Newport, in which case you know it doesn’t need anything added in order to be twinned with cold war Berlin, or the present day West Bank or Gazza Strip! Cardiff largely ignores its scruffier little neighbour, and instead casts its ambitions wider by adapting the model of the Green Line in Nicosia, Cyprus, with a contemporary version of their no-man’s land.

Stay out [3]

It seems that dining out just got very expensive for all the residents of Cardiff, even though they will not be invited to the table themselves. The grandest nosh on the planet takes place in the setting of Cardiff Castle, providing the main distraction for world leaders desperate to get together to say nothing of any significance about a whole load of very significant world issues. As an exclusive meal it takes some beating, with a leeked preview (is that the Welsh version of ‘leaked’?) of the indigenous menu of laver bread starter…

    … cawl main, and Welsh cakes for pudding…

 

20120110-112246.jpg

… all washed down with a pint of Brains finest SA.

4. Brains journey [1]

The unanswered conundrum is why a meal that lasts no more than a few hours requires a month of security measures? Until we speak again send you answers nailed to the forehead of a peaceful protester to a somewhat disillusioned Juno.

funny cats   [Thanks to http://www.sodahead.com as the source of this image, and gypsy-willow.com for the previous food images].