The reason being, Mrs G is hardly ever in the mood for a Chinese.
So, on a dismal November night, I rounded up some mates to help me eat as much of Zi’s menu as is humanly possible.
The restaurant’s décor is enjoyably basic; metal chairs are clad in velour whilst paper lanterns hang from the ceiling.
The menu is an interesting beast too – there’s a load of familiar Cantonese classics as well as a clutch of more exciting dishes including hor fun noodles, congee and fried dumplings.
Prawn crackers (£1.20) were light and grease free.
Tsingtao beers (£3) were ice cold. A good start.
Curls of salt and chilli squid (£5.90) were the first standout of the night. Delightfully tender and crisp, the squid was fragranced with a big whallop of garlic, chilli and sautéed spring onion.
A mixed starter (£12.80) comprised of filling-packed spring rolls, good prawn toast and crispy seaweed. Sticky ribs were the best thing on the plate – crisp and yielding they were seasoned with a savoury thwack of Worcestershire sauce. A bowl of lurid sweet and sour sauce was a curious addition.
Empress duck cakes (£5.90) were so wrong but almost right. Deep fried prawn toast were filled with shredded duck. They were rich as heck but a bowl of sweet and tangy plum sauce went some way to balancing the dish.
A half aromatic crispy duck (£14.90) was everything it should be – crisp and tender with soft pancakes, rich hoisin sauce and finely chopped spring onion and cucumber.
Things stepped up a gear with mains.
Chicken with dried chilli and spring onion (£6.20) saw golden battered chicken pieces bathed in a sweet and spicy sauce flecked with onions and a ludicrous mound of dried chillies.
Stir fried lamb with cumin (£7.20) was arguably the dish of the night. Uber tender lamb in an Indo-Chinese-esque cumin and chilli rich sauce was accompanied by heaps of dried chillies, julienne carrot and onion.
Beef with ginger and spring onion (£6.50) was good but the most run of the mill of our mains. Tender meat and spring onions were served in a well-balanced ginger-spiced sauce.
Last up were stonkingly good cubes of crisp yet soft deep fried aubergine (£5.90) spiced with a shed load of salt, ginger and chilli.
A bowl of egg fried rice (£3.50) was generously portioned.
Dinner at Zi’s Café was cracking. And, our bill for 4 including 10 beers came to £104. A bit of a bargain.
Now I just need to get Mrs G along on a Wednesday when they do a roast duck special.
Address - Zi's Cafe, 94-96 Woodville Road, Cathays, Cardiff CF24 4ED
Telephone - 02920 216 294