Saturday, 16 December 2017

Six great places to eat and drink in Cardiff Market

It’s great to see the renaissance of Cardiff Market.

This beautiful Victorian building located in the heart of the city has great produce stalls like E.Ashton fishmongers and JT Morgan butchers. But, it’s increasingly gaining the food stalls that make the central markets in cities like Lisbon and Barcelona such magnets for visitors. It would be great to see communal seating and an on-license booze trader in the market push things on even further.

Here are my picks of the places to visit in Cardiff Market for a tasty bite to eat and a drink.

Milgi Market

The outpost of this highly regarded Roath plant-based restaurant and bar serves vegetarian and vegan salad boxes, hot pots, sandwiches and cakes with globally-inspired flavour combinations.

A Nourish wholefood bowl (£5) comprised of nutty well-herbed pearl barley, a selection of fresh vegetables including steamed kale, garlicky mushrooms, spiced butternut squash and light sauerkraut. Everything was brought together by a savoury, creamy and fragrant miso and ginger dressing and topped with crisp seeds and jewels of refreshing pomegranate.

Hard Lines Coffee

Formerly known as Outpost, Hard Lines serve one of the best cups of coffee in the whole of Cardiff. Expect single origin beans from the best suppliers, flawless latte art and tasty snacks from Alex Gooch and Flapjack Nation.

Thai Asian Delish

For seriously tasty and good value Thai food you can’t go wrong with Thai Asian Delish. Dishes like nutty Massaman curry and chicken pad thai are packed full of flavour.

The Cheese Pantry

The Cheese Pantry, a sister establishment to the excellent Penylan Pantry, have a killer selection of British cheeses that includes Perl Las, Gorwydd Caerphilly, Rollright and Quickes cheddar as well as delicious local chutneys from Penylan Preserves.

B.R.Donnelly Cafe

I love faggots and B.R.Donnelly, an old skool greasy spoon cafe, serves some fine examples. Faggots, peas, chips and bread and butter will set you back a mere £3.80. A rich and offaly faggot comes perched a top a pile of crisp chips and proper marrowfat peas. Thick gravy (I think it may be Bisto but Mrs G thinks it’s a cut above) and a slice of soft pappy white bread complete the dish.

Cardiff Bakestones

The Welshcakes from Cardiff Bakestones are frigging lovely and an absolute bargain too. Ask for what’s fresh off the bakestone as they’re at their very best when they’re still warm.

The Details:

Address - Cardiff Market, St Mary Street, Cardiff CF1 2AU 
Web -
Telephone - 029 2087 1214

Saturday, 9 December 2017

The Angel Hotel, Abergavenny afternoon tea review

I’m all in favour of annual Christmas traditions.

Like putting up the Christmas tree whilst listening to my favourite festive album.

Or watching It’s A Wonderful Life on Christmas Eve whilst chomping on a brick of stilton.

Yesterday, I think I may found a new ritual, Festive High Tea at the Angel Hotel in Abergavenny.

This gorgeous hotel with pretty nooks and roaring fireplaces has won heaps of plaudits for their afternoon teas including the The Tea Guild's most prestigious award, the Top City and Country Hotel Tea Award.

I can understand why.

The Wedgewood Room, where afternoon tea is taken, is a classy affair that balances classic and contemporary design. We had the best seats in the house sat next to the fire.

For £30 a head, the high tea includes three tiers of savouries, sandwiches, scones and patisserie. You also get as many pots of tea or coffee from their extensive selection as you can drink.

Mrs G and her mum both kicked off with a glass of Bollinger (£12) before moving on to excellent loose leaf fruit infusions.

I glugged down a couple of pots of lovely Assam tea.

The cake stands arrived in procession and took over what little space remained on our table. 

Sandwiches were very good but a bit less exciting that what was to follow. First rate egg and cress and poached salmon with dill were the standouts whilst wafer-thin turkey and cranberry and cucumber and cream cheese were a bit more run-of-the-mill. 

Savouries were a bunch of bobbydazzlers - a puff pastry tart filled with apricot flecked coronation chicken; an unctuous ham hock terrine and onion chutney crostini; a filo basket filled with shreds of duck and hoisin sauce; a sweet and savoury devil on horseback; a mustard glazed chipolata; and an enjoyably meaty quiche. 

Pastries were just as good. Highlights included a delicate custard filled choux bun topped with an intense coffee glaze; warm mince pies capped with brandy cream; a crisp strawberry meringue with a floaty light interior. A wobbly custard slice and slice of Christmas cake were tasty but less remarkable. 

A lush pot of trifle contained just the right balance of vanilla-infused custard, toasted almonds, whipped cream, proper sponge and strawberry jelly.

Last but by no means least were warm scones served with thick jam and a choice of clotted cream or whipped cream. I tried both and the clotted cream won hands down.

Whilst I managed to demolish everything put in front of me, Mrs G and her mum boxed up their leftovers for later.

High tea at the Angel is brilliant. If you’re looking for a special treat (or an early Christmas present from your mother-in-law in my case) with great food, service and atmosphere then get involved.

The details:

Address - The Angel Hotel, 15 Cross Street, Abergavenny NP7 5EN
Web -
Telephone - 01873 857121

Saturday, 2 December 2017

da Mara, Penylan Italian restaurant and pizzeria review

da Mara has relocated from Lakeside to Penylan.

Occupying the former site of Il Pastificio, this is great news (for me) as this lovely pizzeria is now just a stone's throw from my doorstep.

I've reviewed da Mara twice before (review 1 & review 2) and both times I've been a big fan of their beautifully speckled wood-fired Neapolitan-style pizzas.

Thankfully, they've brought their Rolls-Royce of a Steffano Ferrara pizza oven with them to their new location. And they’ve got a Neapolitan pizza chef who knows what he’s doing.

Their menu is the same as before with a range of classic Italian starters, pasta, fish and meat dishes in addition to pizzas.

Easy-drinking Peroni red (£3.90) and Sardinian Ichnusa (£3.90) beers kicked us off. 

A pair of decent starters provided the warm-up for the main event.

Whitebait (£4.95) coated in a super-crisp golden crumb were served with a piquant tartare sauce.

Beef polpette (£6.95) and mushrooms were bathed in a tomato sauce with a good wallop of parmesan, garlic and chilli. 

Our pizzas were both stunning. All the elements were on the nail from the beautifully soft, airy and mottled crust to the thin base, light san marzano tomato sauce and seriously creamy mozzarella.

I ordered a margherita (£8.95) with a scattering of fragrant basil.

Mrs G ordered the ‘nduja (£9.95) with little pockets of fiery and unctuous chilli sausage. 

Smooth and creamy pistachio and stracciatella ice cream (£3) completed the meal.

I love the pizzas at da Mara and can’t recommend checking them out highly enough.

It’s also worth noting they do takeaway pizzas with 20% off the main menu prices. And on Mondays you can get a margherita with two toppings and a glass of wine or beer for £10.95.

I suspect I’m going to be eating a lot more of their pizza.

The Details:

Address - da Mara, 2 Penylan Road, Penylan, Cardiff CF24 3PF
Telephone - 02920 482222 / 07956 188595

da Mara Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato