Hello, it’s been a while. What with the weather, spring/summer isn’t the best time to be stuffing yourself full of heavy Sunday roasts. And besides, we’ve been busy/on holiday. But we went out this afternoon—to Tŷ Mawr in Lisvane. What a beautiful setting, especially on a day like today. The views across Cardiff are quite spectacular. It was so clear, we could even see Flat Holm. Anyway. The service was quite slow when we arrived - despite staff clearly seeing us, no one asked us if we had a booking/showed us to a table. We were eventually seated, however, and ordered our food. We were there at 4.30 pm, granted, but they didn’t start serving food until 2 pm, so we were surprised that there was no beef left. I instead opted for pork, while Nick had turkey. When it arrived, I was pleasantly surprised by the tasty-looking roasties, and the rich-looking gravy. In fact, the gravy was quite gloopy, which was a shame. Meat was tender and tasty, which I was happy about. Limited selection of veg—just carrots, broccoli, and cabbage. Fine in themselves, but not particularly inspiring. Yorkshire was big but was crunchy—I’ll forgive them that given the time of day. On to dessert. Rhubarb/ginger/apple crumble for me, and chocolate/almond brownie for Nick. My crumble was quite watery, and the rhubarb could have done with 10 minutes’ more cooking. I even left some, which is highly unusual. Nick devoured his brownie (standard). Altogether, it was alright. Some of the bad points, I’m prepared to forgive given we were a 4.30 pm booking. BUT I’m not sure we’ll be heading back in a hurry. £40 total - including £1 each for the Yorkshire we had to ask for because there was no beef left. That felt a bit... cheap. Anyway, perhaps we’ll try again in the winter when the fire is roaring.
Nick and I went to my parents’ this weekend to see my aunty @elisajones25, who’s on holiday from Dubai. Made a lunch today as per, but this truly was the star of the show. Mrs Jones threw out her muffin tray after the Yorkshires stuck last time, and forgot to buy a new tray. Result: one giant Yorkshire split between the six of us.
I’m away with work this weekend so had the pleasure of the company of @ellenrosejones, @gwynethsw, and @sheribrandy this afternoon. En route from Llandudno to Llandrindod we stopped at The Horseshoe Inn in north eastern Powys. To be honest, we were all so tired, we’d have eaten anything. But this lunch really was not the world’s best, I’m afraid. Microwaved veg, gluey stuffing, packet Yorkshire pudding. @ellenrosejones wasn’t as harsh - “ooh, I like this cabbage.” I had pork - entirely acceptable. No complaints with regard to the gravy. @ellenrosejones and @gwynethsw had beef while @sheribrandy bizarrely opted for fish and chips. A strange choice on a Sunday - and she didn’t even want peas with it. Suspicious. Anyway, despite the unimpressive lunch, the service was good and welcoming. That all said, I’m not too sad about this lunch because we were only after a quick and easy fix. It did the job.
Today Nick and I, together with power couple @foto_claire and @grahamawhenry, went to The Clink at HMP Cardiff. We’ve been here before but not on a Sunday. Now, we had high expectations - this place is #4 in Cardiff on Tripadvisor. I had a shallot tarte tatin to start. It came with crispy leeks, peas and broad beans, and a beetroot purée. I quite enjoyed it - the pastry was very good and the flavours were all lovely. It was very sweet - as you’d expect of a tarte tatin - and I imagine that mightn’t be to everyone’s taste in a starter, but I liked it. Claire and Nick had a guineafowl and ham hock terrine, which they said was nice, although the accompanying veg were vinegary. Graham’s courgette and rosemary soup had “a robust flavour”. On to mains - beef for me and Nick, while Claire and Graham opted for pork. The veg were really very nice, and I was pleased with the mix. My carrot was very peppery but that wasn’t altogether unpleasant. Fresh greens, rich cauliflower and cabbage gratin, partly soft, partly crunchy hasselback potatoes, and a flavoursome, rich gravy. And that Yorkshire pudding! The only disappointment was the meat - we all agreed the meat was very dry. Nick even left some of his because it was so tough. I got through my beef but it wasn’t the best experience. Claire’s pork was also sliced very thickly (very!) so she struggled. It was a real shame, given the rest of it was delicious. Anyway, on to desserts. Because of the massive slab of pork she’d stoicly worked through, Claire was too full for dessert, while Graham took only a coffee - classic. Nick went for a chocolate delice with caramel ice cream and orange. He was practically in heaven. I tasted it too and it was very good - a very light, smooth mousse basically, but with lovely, deep flavours. I went for a rhubarb trifle, which it turns out, was deconstructed. I was a bit disappointed, given how partial I am to a proper trifle. Nevertheless, it was perfectly pleasant. I
Nick and I went home to my parents’ today for Easter Monday lunch. I think it would be a very unwise move to review Mrs Jones’ cooking so let’s just leave it at 😍. (Edit: *obviously* this photo was taken pre-gravy.)
Now that @foto_claire is returned from Japan, we headed to The Conway today, and had the pleasure of @grahamawhenry’s company. Generally, it was pleasant enough, but for what we paid, I have some gripes. Firstly, the service was quite slow. They said they were busy, but given our booking was 3pm and it didn’t seem particularly busy in there, I was slightly disappointed. I had chorizo arancini to start - very nice. Nick’s prawns were delicious, and Claire and Graham’s scotch eggs were good too. Two of us had pork while the other two had beef. The meat was very good - soft and moist. The vegetables, while I’m pleased were not the usual bog standard boiled choices, were a bit disappointing. I know kale is salty anyway, but this was too salty for me, such that it made the otherwise acceptable carrots salty also. Roasties below par, I’d say - not crispy, and just a bit bland. The leeks and cheese were a bit strange - I think they were trying to be a gratin, but didn’t quite make it. A proper gratin would have been much better. Gravy quite thin. Yorkshire puddings were just how I like them, to be fair. Desserts - I had a strawberry arctic roll with chocolate sorbet. Nice, but not especially mindblowing. Maybe I made the wrong choice! Nick’s sticky toffee pudding was good, and Claire’s chocolate and orange tart tasty and rich. Altogether it was perfectly alright - I think maybe I had quite high expectations. For around £120 for 4 people and a bottle of wine, I think it’s fair to expect not to have many gripes. But there you go. Nevertheless, I’d still say it’s worth a try, just don’t expect to be blown away.
We headed home to Cwmgors this weekend for my father’s (60th!) birthday and had a family Sunday roast in the Mount, Gwaun-Cae-Gurwen. Our area didn’t have a local place for a Sunday lunch for most of my childhood so since this place got done out and reopened a few years ago, we’ve been regular visitors. They do a lovely, home-cooked roast. Today I had pork (with crackling). The helping of meat is always generous (a bit too much for me) and their veg is fresh and tasty. I hate when crackling is either two crunchy (my poor teeth!) or too soggy (yuck) - this was just right. They offer a fairly standard variety of veg but it’s all done really well. The cauliflower cheese was especially cheesy today - good! My mash was quite peppery today but otherwise nice. The stuffing ball and roasties weren’t home-made (I don’t think, anyway), but were tasty all the same. The Yorkshire was definitely home-made though and hit a good balance between crunchy and soft. I love that their helpings are so plentiful - no squabbling over who gets the last bit of what! My starter was pâté - probably nicer than the pâté I had last week in Café du Chat Noir, to be fair. We didn’t have dessert - we had birthday cake instead. At just shy of £11 for two courses, it’s definitely worth calling in here if you happen to be in the area.
Today we went to the wonderful Café du Chat Noir. Our starters - I had pâté, Nick had mussels, and @foto_claire had escargots - were lovely, if filling. Nick’s mussels came in a delicious buttery, garlicky soup, and Claire’s escargots led to her announcing “I love garlic”. My pâté was probably the least interesting of the three starters, and I could probably have done without the salad, but it was lovely. On to the main courses: lamb for me, pork for Claire, and beef for Nick. Café du Chat Noir is a firm favourite for me and Nick in particular because of the vegetables - good selection and plenty of it. The gravy is always rich, and there is always a generous helping of meat. My lamb fell from the bone and I saw the whole lot off. One slight disappointment were the Yorkshire puddings, which we don’t think were homemade. I had a delicious pear and raspberry almandine with cream for dessert, while Nick had a cheesecake, and Claire had some fancy tea (I don’t care for such things) and macarons. All round, thoroughly delicious and highly recommended. For £55 for 3 x 3 courses and drinks, you can’t go wrong. It’s quite cramped in there, which means you’re not entirely comfortable once you’ve finished the three courses, but the quaint ambience, friendly service, good value, and tasty food make up for it. Très bien!
Went to Y Ffynnon Wen in Llanishen today with Nick’s family. His father’s words: “cheap and cheerful.” Perhaps I wouldn’t be as generous. Its saving grace was this lamb, which was delicious, tender, and plentiful. (That said, Nick’s beef was unpleasant, he said.) Otherwise, vegetables overdone (although there was a good variety of them), (the carrots had a particularly peculiar texture; sort of leathery on the outside and mushy on the inside), potatoes claggy, Yorkshire pudding worryingly crunchy, and gravy watery. They have a deal where the cheapest of two meals is free, so although this was priced at £15 odd, it was cheaper as an average of mine and Nick’s food. Not altogether inspiring, but there you go.
Visited the Kings Arms in Pentyrch today with Nick and @foto_claire. It’s a lovely setting, and felt really homely (particularly today ☔️). The starter I had - a scotch egg with black pudding and chorizo served on brown sauce - was really lovely. Egg was nice and runny and the other flavours not overpowering. Solid start. The main itself - lamb in my case - was slightly disappointing. The veg was fine but meat quite tough, and rather deflated Yorkshire pudding. Would have been nice to have some other veg too, especially a nice cauliflower cheese. Incidentally, @foto_claire was taken aback by the skin-on roasties; I wasn’t bothered either way. Nick’s meat was a bit dry, and both his (beef) and @foto_claire’s (pork) meat were also tough. Also the pork was advertised as pork belly; it was actually just standard pork. Seeing @foto_claire try and eat her very hard crackling was also quite distressing. My dessert - apple lattice - was quite tasty. I’m not a big fan of cinnamon so it was nice to be able to taste the apple. Also nice to be given the option of cold custard, which I prefer. Overall, not bad, but certainly could have been better. Value was alright - £88 for 2 x 3-course; 1 x 2-course; and a bottle of Malbec.