You would think I’d have learned from past experience that a) if I ask my kids do you want to go out for dinner – the answer is always a resounding yes (says a lot for my cooking); and b) if I ask them where they would like to eat – the answer is always pizza or ‘The Moon Place’ – a local Premier Inn (hence the moon) Beefeater, not appearing on this blog for obvious reasons! So naturally when I mentioned that I was contemplating going out for a meal on Father’s Day and made a general enquiry as to where they would like to go, I was a little despondent (but not entirely surprised) that their response was…Domino’s. Yay! A big thumbs up and way to go on educating your children on dining out! To be fair it was 4pm on a Monday afternoon, and they were more concerned with the goings-on in the World of Lego Chima…but still… (actually just ‘googled’ this, and it sounds quite interesting. Mental note – I really should pay more attention to what my kids are watching…argh)
Needless to say it was left to me to make a decision, and with Domino’s clearly a blip on the radar, I instead opted for a restaurant that had very much been a prime target for a while…
Opened in 2015, I have no idea why it has taken me so long to get to Porro (Italian for ‘leek’), especially with one of the two sites in Cardiff, on my doorstep in Llandaff. However with a menu of modern British food with Italian influences, and a clear desire for pizza coming from the little people in my life, it seemed a great shout for satisfying everyone’s dining requirements.
As ‘child friendly’ restaurants go, I have to say I was immediately impressed by Porro. A well thought out dining space, there was ample room if you had a pushchair in tow and plenty of the more sensible plastic highchairs, where you are less likely to see your smaller members of the family disappearing into a crumpled heap as the meal goes on! My two are both thankfully well past this age now, and are more interested in the colouring material and the quality of crayons available (we try to enforce a no tablet rule in restaurants, just in case you think I haven’t embraced the 21st Century!). Needless to say Porro’s colouring activity sheet of choice is a very informative read on Italian history and its language. More ‘spot the difference’ may be required – ha ha!
On the said activity sheet, they also have the Bambino Menu, which at £5 for a main meal, home-made ice cream and squash or milk is excellent value for money. Including a range of dishes such as breaded fish and chips; sausage, beans and chips and beans on toast – aside from cheese and tomato pizza and pasta, I will say that conceptually wise we were missing the Italian aspect a little. Naturally, my ‘pizza obsessed’ two also went for the breaded chicken – and while a touch sparse in the pea offering, both thoroughly enjoyed their lunches.
For those of you with an adult sized appetite, Porro have a range of menus including breakfast, a set lunch menu of 2 courses for £12 or 3 courses for £16, à la carte and a Sunday set menu of 2 courses for £15 and 3 courses for £20. And even though we were in the middle of a mini Welsh heatwave, on this occasion it was the Porro Sunday Roast that caught my eye…
Bypassing the starters, primarily because of the kid’s persistent whining of “I’m huuungryyy”, I opted for the leg of Welsh lamb. Served off the bone, the meat was beautifully slow-cooked and fell apart. With all the trimmings and accompanying bowls of carrots and kale and cauliflower cheese, I have to say as Sunday roasts go it was very good. Nevertheless, it was all brought together by the stand out ‘star of the show’ – rich, smooth and full of flavour, I think it was by far the best gravy I have ever had while dining out.
Porro Sunday Roast | Roasted Pork Loin
With a choice of three desserts on the Sunday set menu, and following my previous experience of Affogato (not sooo keen), we instead opted for the vanilla panna cotta with sorbet and honeycomb, and boozy almond and orange trifle with berries and mascarpone.
As readers of this blog know, I am not a massive dessert fan; however stick a crème brûlée or panna cotta on a menu and you probably won’t need to twist my arm too much. While I have experienced dire versions of both in the past, I have to say Porro’s panna cotta was very good. Some how light in texture but luxuriantly creamy, and with a good wobble (slant) on it – I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed it. Served instead with honeycomb and a delicious sorbet rather than the usual berries or fruit compote, it made for an interesting and refreshing alternative. That is, if I didn’t have a little spoon continually invading my personal plate space, stealing it!
Our other dessert option, was a boozy trifle of almond and orange with berries and mascarpone – funnily enough I didn’t manage to get a spoon to this either! I am informed it was pretty damn tasty (it certainly looks good), although apparently a larger scoop of the mascarpone would be a welcome addition next time.
- I love that Porro embraces the Italian philosophy of using simple and quality ingredients. Menus are seasonal, and much of their produce is sourced from local and independent suppliers.
- Porro carry a good range of independently sourced wines and bottled lagers, ales and ciders. It was a lovely touch that all Dads received a complimentary bottle of Peroni on Father’s Day.
- Great customer service; a welcoming and polite front of house team, who on a busy Father’s Day continued to keep smiling.
- There are two restaurants in Cardiff, one in Llandaff and the other on Wellfield Road in Roath – it’s nice that they have chosen to spread the love across the city! Having lived in Roath for many years, the only downside may be the ‘fun’ parking, where as Llandaff has a well positioned car park at the top of the High Street. However, if you are dining out with the kids both are perfectly positioned with Roath Park and Pontcanna Fields for burning off that excess energy afterwards (the kids that is…a large Sunday lunch and a glass of wine and I was ready for an afternoon nap!)
Would I go again?
I’ll definitely be going back in the future, and have already raved about the Sunday roast to a number of people. Taking a look at their à la carte offering, I personally quite fancy a go at their pizzas (naturally without the gannets in tow!) However in the meantime Porro, if you ever decide to run a cookery school and teach people how to make your gravy, you can sign me up now!
More importantly though…the kid’s verdict
Me : Did you like Porro?
Child 1 : Yes it was really nice. Your dessert was really nice Mum…yes thanks for that!
Child 2 : What’s Porro? (ok…good start)
Me : The restaurant we went to for Fathers Day…
Child 2 : Oh ok, yes I liked it – the salted caramel ice cream was yummy (says the 5 year old Food Critic in the corner!)
Me: What was your favourite part?
Child 1 : It was a really good restaurant; I liked that you could go and eat upstairs and outside if you wanted to (an excellent point if it hadn’t been pushing 30°C outside – fantastic air con by the way)
Child 2 : I just told you…the ice cream (on that note, I think we can conclude the ice cream was a big hit!)
Would I recommend Porro?
Definitely – a true local neighbourhood, child friendly restaurant which I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend to any of my friends or family. Open seven days a week, from 8.30am – 9.30pm (Monday to Saturday) and 9.30am to 3pm on Sunday…there’s just no excuse – if you haven’t been yet…go!
Address | 22 High Street, Llandaff, Cardiff, CF5 2DZ
Web | www.porrocardiff.com