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jayrayner

Cardiff

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I have to go there. I have to eat. Does anybody know how I might do this without causing injury to myself? (In other words: any good Tiger Bay tips?)


Jay

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It may possibly be stretching the definition of 'Cardiff' to breaking point but I hear there are some fine restaurants in an area called 'Bristol', barely an hour away from the city centre - just over the national border, across a bloody big bridge over a great fat estuary.

Ludlow is also not too far away if you fancy casting your net a little wider.

Beyond that I hear New York has some good eating; no, I'll stop now...

Cheers

Thom


It's all true... I admit to being the MD of Holden Media, organisers of the Northern Restaurant and Bar exhibition, the Northern Hospitality Awards and other Northern based events too numerous to mention.

I don't post here as frequently as I once did, but to hear me regularly rambling on about bollocks - much of it food and restaurant-related - in a bite-size fashion then add me on twitter as "thomhetheringto".

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Jay

Paul Bell is your man. He has recently moved to Cardiff.

I think he said the MPW place in St David's Bay was fairly hopeless though.

Bapi

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I've been to Izakaya a couple of times and really enjoyed it. It serves pretty authentic Japanese pub-style food, and it's on Mermaid Quay (tel 029 2045 2977) - i.e. close to where St David's Hotel is. It's the sort of place that's possibly better with a big group of people, when you can kick off your shoes and occupy one of the tatami-mat rooms, but even if there are just two of you, I reckon it's still worth a go.

Having said that, it is a while since I was there... I hope it's still going strong.

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I have heard that Le Gallois is very good, but then I would say that wouldn't I?

W. Gallois

P.S. Not actually been there yet.

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Jay

We are going to Cardiff in October for the Wales vs. 'some Eastern European country' footie match, and intend to try Le Gallois, The Armless Dragon (welsh grub, whatever that might be) and hopefully the new 'in' place Union Undeb.

Cardiff has also been discussed here and here


Edited by Mrs Woman (log)

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In the absence of Paul Bell, does anybody happen to be in Cardiff on friday night, have reasonable table manners, and hanker after a free meal in my delicious company at a top Welsh night spot?

Form an ordrely queue now...


Jay

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Have been away, have returned, have volunteered to undertake the burdensome task of eating at someone else's expense.

Paul

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Paul,

Depending on how good your meal with Jay at Burger King is this Friday; I think you may owe me.

B

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I'm off to Cardiff in a couple of weeks and aren't sure that we've got to the bottom of finding a decent place to eat there. Anyone tried Cassoulet - I seem to remember Meades writing a positive review a while back (in as much as he got around to mentioning the food).

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Le Cassoulet has closed.

Best place so far definitely Le Gallois (closed this week and possibly next for summer holidays).

Da Venditto good Italian food, wine list absolute rubbish

Valentino's good 'old style' Italian food

Topo Gigio rubbish 'old style' Italian food

Armless Dragon & Woods Brasserie, good ingredients fairly simply done, both promising.

Tides MPW ha ha

Paul

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I was unfortunate enought to plump for Tides on the way back from a trip to Carmarthen...is there still a connection with MPW? The food was laughable and grossly overpriced. Nice views though....


Gav

"A man tired of London..should move to Essex!"

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Jay and Paul, so where did you go in the end? Our weekend in the Welsh capital looms ever closer and I need to know if there's anything worth booking!

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We went to Union-Undeb so you don't have to. Review appears on Sunday. Paul, I know, would reccomend Le Gallois and will probably be along shortly to do so.

J


Jay

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Sorry for not posting earlier v busy, and in deference to Jay/The Observer won't go into details but:

mm well where to start with Union Undeb, well leaving was good, when we got through the security door, and to be fair the company was very pleasant.

Service was it bad or just really amateurish and under staffed.

Food decidedly average have had worse in Cardiff, but everything heavily oversalted, stuff on the menu that was not on the plate, somethings overcooked, and a very bad dessert which neither of us could finish trifle with Jam anyone!

best avoided

thanks to Jay all the same though

Paul

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You can read Jay's review here. Its not good. Well, the review is good, but the meal wasn't by the sounds of things.

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I have been lecturing in Cardiff, Wales (Cymru, to you - pronounced Come-ree) in preparation for two days in London where I will dine at St. Johns, Gordon Ramsay, and the Fat Duck.

Cardiff is not the best dining city in the best dining country, but I do have two recommendations to make: Patagonia and Le Gallois. Neither qualify as major restaurants, but both have some ambition and some success (both are located a bit away from the downtown/Castle area of Cardiff) in Canton.

At Patagonia I had a superb appetizer of "Sweet Spanish piquillo peppers stuffed with smoked eel, celeriac scented with truffle oil, and sherry reduction." It was both startling and a surprising blend of garden and sea. It has been the single best dish since my arrival. My main course, a duck dish (it was a week ago and I didn't make notes) was good, but a step down from the appetizer. (I learned to my surprise that many Welsh migrants had settled in Patagonia). I don't think that Chef Joaquin Humaran is Welsh, but has made Cardiff home.

Le Gallois reflects a modern French cuisine, but with a preference for local Welsh ingrediants. Chef Padig Jones is Welsh. My main course, "Pot Roasted Pig Cheeks with Truffle Mashed Potatoes, Baby Vegetables, and Clove and Honey Pot Sauce" was excellent - both hearty and surprising (think a well-made pot roast with the exotic backtaste of cloves). My starter, Wild Mushroom and Truffle Risotto was nicely prepared and contained generous pieces of truffle.

Service was superior at Patagonia, but Le Gallois is more stylish.

I do not recommend Laguna in the City Center area.

Patagonia

11 Kings Road

Cardiff

029-2019-0265

Le Gallois

6-10 Romilly Crescent

Cardiff

029-2034-1264


Edited by gaf (log)

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Sitting here at my desk in Cardiff, my head is in my hands in despair.... the words good food and Cardiff do NOT go together. I've lived here for five years and have yet to eat anywhere that I would really rate (especially after having lived in both London and Sydney for 16 years!)

Gaf was right - Le Gallois is good with an emphasis on locally sourced produce but is expensive compared to London restaurants of the same standard. (I know the chef Padraig Jones and have worked for him). BTW, Padge (as he's known locally) worked for MPW at The Canteen before setting up Le Gallois.

The Armless Dragon again is ok but nothing stunning. Woods Brasserie in the Bay - bistro food aimed at the corporate market, Izakaya is long gone and the Old Post Office in St Fagans is a sister restaurant to Woods and also expensive for what you get.

Cardiff's problem is its people - they are unadventurous and unwilling to try new things. It's a generalisation I know but they tend to value price over quality - hence the large number of mediocre to awful Italian trattorias that populate the city. A chef friend of mine has tried for the past year to introduce more interesting dishes to his menu without success. They simply don't sell so he has to remove them and stick to the staid old favourites in the hope of making a profit.

My husband and I simply don't eat out anymore such is our despair :sad:

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The Armless Dragon was a disappointment. Not a failure like Laguna, but a restaurant that considered itself to be an outpost of contemporary Welsh cuisine was not very interesting - I was excited about the possibilities (I did like the Laverbread - a concoction from seaweed was interesting - but my Wood Pigeon was nothing special, and the wild mushrooms were shiitake and enoki). I did appreciate that one received a soup and three appetizers (sea, land, and vegetable - I forget what they called this trio).

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Sitting here at my desk in Cardiff, my head is in my hands in despair.... the words good food and Cardiff do NOT go together.  I've lived here for five years and have yet to eat anywhere that I would really rate (especially after having lived in both London and Sydney for 16 years!)

Gaf was right - Le Gallois is good with an emphasis on locally sourced produce but is expensive compared to London restaurants of the same standard. (I know the chef Padraig Jones and have worked for him). BTW, Padge (as he's known locally) worked for MPW at The Canteen before setting up Le Gallois.

The Armless Dragon again is ok but nothing stunning.  Woods Brasserie in the Bay - bistro food aimed at the corporate market,  Izakaya is long gone and the Old Post Office in St Fagans is a sister restaurant to Woods and also expensive for what you get.

Cardiff's problem is its people - they are unadventurous and unwilling to try new things.  It's a generalisation I know but they tend to value price over quality - hence the large number of mediocre to awful Italian trattorias that populate the city.  A chef friend of mine has tried for the past year to introduce more interesting dishes to his menu without success.  They simply don't sell so he has to remove them and stick to the staid old favourites in the hope of making a profit.

My husband and I simply don't eat out anymore such is our despair  :sad:

The Old Post Office is in new hands, a guy called Simon Kealey who was at the Walnut Tree when Franco was there. Definitely worth a try.

Izakaya has been replaced by a bistro operation called Garcon which has a connection to the aforementioned Gallois.

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Sitting here at my desk in Cardiff, my head is in my hands in despair.... the words good food and Cardiff do NOT go together.  I've lived here for five years and have yet to eat anywhere that I would really rate (especially after having lived in both London and Sydney for 16 years!)

Gaf was right - Le Gallois is good with an emphasis on locally sourced produce but is expensive compared to London restaurants of the same standard. (I know the chef Padraig Jones and have worked for him). BTW, Padge (as he's known locally) worked for MPW at The Canteen before setting up Le Gallois.

The Armless Dragon again is ok but nothing stunning.   Woods Brasserie in the Bay - bistro food aimed at the corporate market,  Izakaya is long gone and the Old Post Office in St Fagans is a sister restaurant to Woods and also expensive for what you get.

Cardiff's problem is its people - they are unadventurous and unwilling to try new things.  It's a generalisation I know but they tend to value price over quality - hence the large number of mediocre to awful Italian trattorias that populate the city.  A chef friend of mine has tried for the past year to introduce more interesting dishes to his menu without success.  They simply don't sell so he has to remove them and stick to the staid old favourites in the hope of making a profit.

My husband and I simply don't eat out anymore such is our despair   :sad:

The Old Post Office is in new hands, a guy called Simon Kealey who was at the Walnut Tree when Franco was there. Definitely worth a try.

Izakaya has been replaced by a bistro operation called Garcon which has a connection to the aforementioned Gallois.

Le Gallois definitely the best place in Cardiff on my view, bistro with a twist and I don't agree its pricier than London equivalents, especially as it has a reasonable wine list. Are you sure Garcon is cnnected, no mention on either website and a cursory glance at wine list didn't look too similar (but it was a cursory glance). Anyone tried it? I'm in the bay in a few weeks and might fancy giving it a go.

NB Am a fan of Ba Orient in the bay, feels like a chain waiting to be rolled out (the bay is pretty souless), but the dim sum is pretty good, ambience is like Ping Pong food is slightly better and cocktails have alcohol in them.

Any other recommendations would be helpful for me and to keep this up to date, would also be nice to think that a slightly better than a chain dim sum place wasn't probably the second best restaurant in Cardiff.

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I have to say that when I last went to Cardiff Bay I had a really bog standard brasserie meal at Woods Brasserie, however the couple next to me, eating the same food were having the meal of the century.....still it beat waiting at the passport office...


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