Last month saw the introduction of a new feature for 2019 – Krak’en Bites (the Welsh accent being non-mandatory). Much like the legendary cephalopod, the backend of my blog was starting to take on a mythical quality, in that some posts were never going to become a reality.
I’ll therefore be subjecting you to a round-up post each month, allowing me to give a shout out to all the ‘cracking’ dishes I’ve eaten, and the restaurants I have dined in during the previous 28, (29), 30 or 31 days (depending on your ability to remember the rhyme).
Michael’s apple crumble with Welsh honey ice cream | £8.00
Drawing inspiration from the food culture and bold flavours of Australasia and Asia-Pacific, while utilising the best of seasonal Welsh produce – the all day menu at The Admiral in Cardiff Bay offers a good range of dishes from starters/small plates, salads, grills and main courses. A starter of Welsh mussel and clam broth, chilli, garlic, lime leaf with fermented black beans (£8) is a dish to write home about, as is the chicken laksa, while the Thai green vegetable curry (£16) is unfortunately not – pleasantly spiced, yet the inclusion of courgette creates a strange texture and thins the sauce.
But it’s the desserts courtesy of Head pastry chef Michael Coggan and his pastry partner, Rebekah Clash that grab your attention. Former contestants of Bake Off: The Professionals in 2018, there is some serious talent on display; and both Michael’s apple crumble with Welsh honey ice cream (£8) and the spiced pumpkin baked cheesecake (£8) beg to be admired, And then devoured in as many mouthfuls as you can realistically manage.
Currywurst mit pommes frites | €3.40
Located at Mehringdamm 36, Curry 36 is perfect for a cheap, quick bite if you’re exploring the city. There’s a lot of social media hype around it, a similar story for Mustafa’s Gemuese Kebab a little further down the street, so expect ‘a tourist line’ (it was a longer wait for a kebab – if there are two of you, opt for one person in each queue!). Ultimately it’s comforting street food, especially when it’s 1°C outside – perhaps a little too much sauce for my liking, but if you can, finally, locate your currywurst, it’s a pretty damn tasty example of the German sausage.
Pulpo a la Gallega | £8.90
Let’s get the website marketing messaging issue out of the way –
“The only place in Cardiff to experience an authentic Spanish dining experience.” – no it’s not. And if you’re going to make such a bold statement, I would first check the competition within a mile radius. Placing that topic of discussion firmly to one side for now though, Santiago’s have a good choice of classic tapas dishes on offer, and this visit certainly put the menu to the test. I’ll sum up by saying that it is tasty ‘home-cooked’ style Spanish dishes in a relaxed restaurant with a warm welcome. Will I be going back? Now there’s another topic of discussion…
Caws Caws Burger | £9.45
Having been highly-regarded on the street food scene, Bwydiful became the latest vendor to move into a permanent location in December 2018. Now settled in Victoria Park, the restaurant is a relaxed affair in simple surroundings, with quite possibly one of the warmest welcomes you’ll get in the city. Offering eight choices of burger, plus the option to add on extra patties, bacon, halloumi and more cheese (there is a running dairy theme here) – all the street food favourites, plus a few additions, are on the menu. The sides are also not to be missed and more than a little addictive; stand outs being crispy halloumi fries that come drizzled with chimichurri and a pot of thick sweet chilli jam, and mini cubes of hash browns with a chilli mango dipping sauce.
And finally in terms of where I lie in the whole ciabatta bun saga – every food blogger in Cardiff seems to take a different viewpoint. I like them. Soft and beautifully fresh from the local Pettigrew Bakeries, my only personal gripe would be that due to the inadequate size of my mouth, I had to cut it in half – a sharper knife would have been helpful, or a stash of baby wipes!
Cauliflower Pakora, Blood Orange and Cashew Milk | £6.00
Badged as ‘a small plate restaurant that gives vegetables star billing and serves meat on the side’. Root does exactly what it says on the tin, with the added bonus that the meat and fish courses are equally as delicious, and faultless to match. Sitting at the heart of the popular Wapping Wharf in Bristol, and housed in converted shipping containers in Cargo 1, this was my first visit. It won’t be my last. Read the full blog post here.
The Two Anchors – Platter – 4 king prawns with garlic butter on a bed of rosemary sea salt fries, with burnt lemon mayo | £12.00
Aside from its name – I’ve yet to achieve sticky fingers – they’ve been meaty, juicy, garlicky and fishy (don’t judge), but so far significant levels of stickiness have proved elusive; the permanent street food market in Cardiff’s Brewery Quarter is however, becoming one of my ‘go to’ places to grab a quick bite to eat. Or on this occasion, a more leisurely visit accompanied with a couple of pints. Home to five traders – Hoof | Horn to Hind, The Two Anchors, The Original Goodfillas Co, Mr. Croquewich and Makasih Street Food – it’s open from midday Thursday to Sunday and well worth a visit if you haven’t been yet.