Saturday, 24 March 2018

Lanelay Hall, Talbot Green, South Wales restaurant review

Located just a short pootle down the M4 from Cardiff, the stylish Lanelay Hall hotel is the result of an extensive restoration of the old Glamorgan Fire Service headquarters in Talbot Green.

The hotel’s decor is flamboyant yet tasteful with opulent wallpaper, wood panelling and velvet curtains all putting in an appearance.

The menu features bistro style cooking with interesting twists - a pan roasted halibut steak is served with red wine braised oxtail, chermoula and coriander oil (£20.95) whilst a trio of pork includes fillet, confit breast and braised cheek rissole (£17.95). Starters weigh in around £7, mains £20 and desserts £6.50.

A complimentary snack was more addictive than a bag of chilli heatwave Doritos. Warm and crunchy crackers were served with a light whipped mayonnaise dip with a good whack of garlic. 

I kicked off with a dainty mountain of meat (£8.20) - a bisected pigeon breast and slices of earthy black pudding and offaly faggot were interleaved with buttery spinach and coated in a sticky red wine jus. It was a lovely plate of food, let down marginally by one of the pigeon pieces being a touch overcooked. 

A thick crab bisque (£5.50) had a good shellfish hit. In it bobbed a trio of golden crab dumplings that also delivered a good hit of crustacean but were a little bouncy in texture. 

Mrs G’s main (£19.95) included slices of pink duck breast, a mound of shredded duck and new potato hash, and a meaty asian-spiced sauce that reminded me of hoisin. Tempura greens added crunch to the plate whilst segments of orange cut through the dish’s richness. 

A roast “carri” of lamb (£19.95) was a new one on me and Google doesn’t shed any further light. Perhaps Lanelay Hall coined the term? Two flavoursome medium-cooked lamb cutlets were served with a stack of finely sliced and buttery boulangere potatoes, roasted cherry tomatoes and a bold port and rosemary sauce. 

A panache of seasonal vegetables arrived with panache halfway through our main course. The nicely cooked mangetout, french beans, carrots, courgette, baby corn and cauliflower were coated in a liberal amount of melted butter. 

Onto dessert and whilst Lanelay Hall’s chocolate fondant (£6.25) didn’t have a liquid interior, it retained a pleasing gooeyness. The tasty pud was served with a scoop of creamy vanilla ice cream.

If a dessert has cake twice in its name then it’s a must order, right? Baked carrot cake cheesecake (£6) saw a moist carrot cake base topped with a smooth baked cheesecake. The dessert was infused with the warmth of cinnamon and nutmeg, crunch was provided by a vivid green mint tuille and extra depth supplied by mint leaves and a spiced carrot puree. 

We had a really enjoyable evening at Lanelay Hall - the solid but not faultless cooking, warm surroundings and friendly service all make for a winning combination. If you want a short hop out of Cardiff for the night then it’s worth checking out.

The Details:

Address - Lanelay Hall, Lanelay Road, Talbot Green, Pontyclun  CF72 9LA
Web -
Telephone - 01443 558 309

Sunday, 18 March 2018

Mirchi, Roath, Cardiff Indo-Pakistani restaurant review

Mirchi, an Indo-Pakistani restaurant on City Road, polarises opinion.

On Tripadvisor, reviews swing between love letters to their mixed grills and karahi chicken and criticism of their poor service and flavourless food.

My review of a takeaway a few years ago was a mixed bag.

But, Mrs G’s work colleagues have recommended the place on countless occasions and Cardiff blogger Tummy Says Yum and Waterloo Tea’s Kasim Ali are fans.

Mrs G and I decided it was time to give Mirchi’s dining-in experience a go.

Mirchi’s interior is simple, with an almost work canteen-like vibe. A tandoor oven and charcoal grill at the restaurant’s entrance tells you that Mirchi are serious about grilling meat.

As they don’t serve alcohol it was great to see that a jug of tap water was brought to the table without prompting. Mrs G ordered a mango lassi (£2) that was full of flavour but could have been cooler. 

Mirchi’s menu comprises familiar curries as well as more interesting vegetarian dishes and specials such as karela (bitter gourd) and nehari (leg of lamb). However, most people seem to come to Mirchi for their barbecue, with a multitude of mixed grills processing out of the kitchen on our visit.

We had a hefty wait for our starters and mains but complimentary poppadoms and chutneys put us in a happy place. The standout was a tangy tamarind number with a good whack of chilli. 

Lamb seekh kebabs were excellent - loaded with coriander and a good hum of chilli, they were licked with char and sat on top of crisp and tender onions. And at £4.90 for four, this was a great value dish - a theme that continued throughout the meal. 

A chicken tikka biryani (£8) would have fed a family of four (we took half of it home). The huge mound of seriously buttery and delicately spiced rice was flecked with pieces of tender meat. We chose a creamy mint raitha as the complimentary accompaniment but there’s also a curry option. 

Karahi chicken (£7.50) was packed with yielding flesh and a well spiced gravy but it was a little heavy on the ghee.

Finally, a roghni nan (£2.50) was exemplary. Crisp, pillowy soft, scattered with toasty sesame seeds and a brush of butter, it was the perfect mop for the curry sauce. 

We had a very tasty meal at Mirchi and I can now see why people rate it highly as we had a feast for £25 with leftovers to take home. However, please be aware of the slow service and basic decor.

The Details:

Address - Mirchi, 90-94 City Road, Cardiff CF24 3BN
Web -
Telephone - 02920 492344