Having studied in Cardiff, and subsequently worked on Park Place, No. 29 has long been one of my regular hangouts; albeit in many different guises from Incognito, to the Cardiff Arts Institute and then Bacchus Bar and Lounge in 2012. However, in 2015 it reverted to its namesake of 29 Park Place after being taken over by Jon Saunders, the former owner of 10 Mill Lane.
Up until now, I have to say I have only ventured to 29 Park Place to sample the array of cocktails that are on offer – which happen to be extremely good. However, not having had a decent meal in its predecessors since the days of Incognito, I had been a little reluctant to return to eat, even if it had changed hands.
As explained on their website, “29 Park Place is not just the run of the mill restaurant, it offers a dining and drinking experience with a unique atmosphere of quirks to entertain friends and family. It’s all about feeling the comfort of home. The place, the people, the experience.” I like this, as to be honest it pretty much sums up the atmosphere. While the walls are battleship grey, there are hints of colour throughout, in the form of orange lampshades, yellow picture frames, a red bicycle and multi-coloured metal chairs (which were a little uncomfortable if you sat on them for any period of time!). More random items included antlers and skis and amazing retro style mirrors, which warmly reminded me of those that used to hang over my Nan’s fireplace. I also loved that they have old school games consoles and a selection of board games including Cluedo, Connect 4 and my favourite – Guess Who (my fave).
Service is a mixture of bar and table, where drinks and food are ordered at the bar and food is brought to the table. While I will say the table service was quite slick (food was brought out relatively quickly) the bar service was a little on the slow side. I think the ‘not to be missed’ offer of 2 cocktails for £10, was proving a little popular on the evening! However, I will say that my chilled glass of ‘Te Awa Left Field’ (not one I had come across before) New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc was stunning.
Anyway onto the food…main dishes range from £9 for a burger, up to £13 for aged sirloin steak. They also have house pasta dishes and a selection of small plates probably not the best value for money at £4.50 each, but they certainly caught my eye. I opted for the duck rolls and pork belly bites along with (in my mind) an evidently necessary portion of skinny fries! Yum!
We also opted for one of the 29S burgers – a beef burger using aged chuck, brisket and Celtic pride mince beef to create a 7oz patty, 29 burger sauce, burger cheese, burger bacon and buttery brioche. Flame grilled, the burger was smoky, meaty and delicious, and while as dishes go it wasn’t the most spectacular looking (mainly due to the open burger displaying its square of melting Kraft cheese!), at £10 I personally considered it to be good value for money.
While I felt the small plates were a little expensive (one plate wouldn’t have filled you, for example as a lunch alternative to a sandwich), I can honestly say both were very tasty. I loved the crispy duck spring rolls, and while I would have been happy without the leaves and spring onion, the plum dipping sauce, as expected was a welcome accompaniment. The small mountain of pork belly bites glazed in a sticky soy and honey dressing, were well cooked and fell apart in my fingers.
- I like the quirkiness of 29 Park Place, and while I am pretty sure I wouldn’t mount a pair of skis and a bicycle on the walls of my own home (it’s enough effort hanging a picture frame), it’s unique randomness appealed to my equally random nature.
- It is family friendly and they do have a kids menu including burgers, fish bites, mac n’ cheese and salad (not quite sure how many of them they sell – ha ha)
- They run Cocktail Masterclasses..need I say more…woo hoo!
- The ethos behind 29 Park Place is great, and having read some of the online responses to reviews on Tripadvisor, it’s fantastic to see a team that clearly care about their customers and the experience they receive.
Would I go again?
I would go again but more than likely to drink rather than eat. The food was good and I did enjoy the small dishes. However, I personally think they are dishes that I would eat in a bar after a couple of drinks, rather than specifically going to dine out there. Nevertheless, they do also offer a full Welsh brekkie, and naughty and behaved pancakes (love it!), so I may well pop in for a brunchy experience soon.
Would I recommend 29 Park Place?
As long as you are under no illusion that it is more bar dining than restaurant dining, I would certainly recommend 29 Park Place. The dishes were tasty and the overall ambiance while quirky and a little ‘student orientated’ (ok…you’re in the heartland of Cardiff University), is homely and welcoming.
Address | 29 Park Place, Cardiff, CF10 3BA
Web | www.29parkplace.com
BLOG UPDATE – JANUARY 2018 | 29 Park Place has now unfortunately closed.