Tucked away in the ‘City within a City’ and just a short walk from the Cathedral, The Pickled Radish in Llandaff while located on the main high street, is certainly representative of the unique area of Cardiff in which it sits. A relatively unassuming restaurant from the outside, as soon as you glimpse through the window and see the illuminated garnet letters mounted onto a teal coloured wall, its quirkiness starts to become evident – that and the newspaper cow prints on the walls (I so need one of those in my life!)
Described as high-end casual Welsh dining, The Pickled Radish seats approximately 40; so while you are certainly not sitting on top of each other, the noise level can get a little loud as the restaurant fills up. That said, it is always great to see such a popular dining establishment. However, while I am a big fan of contemporary restaurant design, I am soon going to be the founding member of a new campaign group – RAMCIR (got to love an acronym) basically ‘Remove all Metal Chairs in Restaurants’! Argh…it is slowly turning into a pet hate of mine, where I spend a couple of hours enjoying a meal but have to endure a numb bum and an aching back from uncomfortable seating…as she delicately removes herself from off her soapbox!
Taking “guests on a foodie adventure”, the menu explores a good variety of produce, and on being seated we were informed that the new seasonal menu had been launched a couple of days before. Now, I’m always a little sceptical when a restaurant announces this news, as it usually takes a few weeks for a new menu to ‘bed in’ and any issues ironed out. However, the friendly front of house team assured us that the Chef’s had been hard at work, and while any feedback would be welcome, we were certainly not guinea pigs. Good job really, because at the advertised prices I was anticipating a gourmet feast!
It had been a long day, and with that ‘#fridayfeeling’ in full swing and an abundance of gin on the cocktail menu, it was only right that an apéritif was on the cards. A generous and tasty ‘Turkish Delight’ cocktail appeared, comprising of Cardiff gin, rose water, sugar syrup, chocolate and tonic on crushed ice with candy floss! While a little pricey at £8.50, the cocktail was amazing and funnily enough tasted exactly like its confectionery namesake (also loved the drinkware; a colourful twist on the trendy handled Mason jars – I so need some of these in my life too – ha ha!)
Dining in a large group, a range of dishes were chosen during the evening. With starters ranging from £6.20 to £10.90, we opted for two at either end of the price scale. ‘What a Tart’ was described as an onion and Welsh goats cheese Tarte Tatin with onion chutney, rocket and onion dressing. However, while it was tasty and packed a good flavour of onion, the goats cheese had evidently left the building!
At the more expensive end we had ‘Fancy An Indian’ with scallops, coconut, lime and chilli, fennel, onion bhajis, cucumber rémoulade and baby coriander. Priced at £10.90, I did feel the dish was coming at a slight premium. Being an avid fan of Indian cuisine, while the scallops were well cooked, it was lacking in spice and more importantly the advertised chilli. Put simply I would have liked the rémoulade to have brought through the flavours of India.
Nevertheless, the main courses were certainly a highlight. The ‘All of the Pork’ dish of free range pork fillet, sticky belly, cheek nugget with crackling, bacon and leek croquette, pudding crunch, toffee apple chutney, and honey and mustard dressing was to put it mildly, delicious and beautifully plated. Well seasoned and with a variety of textures, if they had thrown on an extra cheek nugget (actually make that a side bowl of cheek nuggets) I would have been in piggy heaven!
The other stand out main course was ‘Nice Mussels’ (although I think it was more cod loin than mussels…maybe a re-think on the dish name is needed!) Cod loin, artichoke puree, rock samphire with Welsh cider poached mussels, parsley, truffle mash and mussel butter, combined well to create a tasty dish of the sea. While I felt the presentation of the dish wasn’t quite as good – it looked a little sloppy, I did fall in love with the gold plate (ok…there is a running theme to this post and now has been added to the things I am clearly missing in my life! – ha ha!)
At this point my work was done, and very evidently my shopping list for new items of homeware! However, a few of the group powered on and opted for a couple of the desserts. These came in the form of ‘Key Lime’ – lime cheesecake, torched meringue, ginger snap crunch with chocolate soil, ginger beer sorbet and sherbet; and ‘Chocolate Nutter’ – salted caramel chocolate brownie with peanut butter milkshake, peanut brittle dust and malt ice cream. Again while both a little pricey at £6.80, I did manage to grab a mouthful of the attractively presented dishes. I can honestly say both were delicious, but the stand out elements were certainly the ginger beer sorbet and the salted caramel brownie! Yum!
- The restaurant is well designed and the black and gold menu design and plating reflects the high end dining scene it is targeting.
- It is evident that the produce is carefully sourced and menus well thought out using seasonal ingredients.
- I hadn’t realised until dining, that they have an outside catering company too – www.cleverchefs.co.uk – definitely worth checking out if you require catering for an upcoming Wedding or event.
Would I go again?
At approximately £35 a head for 3 courses minus any alcohol, The Pickled Radish is a tad on the expensive side. While I will probably go again, it is going to be one for a special occasion.
Would I recommend The Pickled Radish?
Yes, I liked the concept and I can see it being a good space for an evening meal out with friends. A warm and friendly atmosphere with the buzz of a busy neighbourhood eatery, it’s certainly one to try out. And if you’re slightly further afield, they also have a restaurant in Laleston on the outskirts of Bridgend.
The restaurant wasn’t completely full on a Friday evening, but I would advise to make a reservation especially if you are a larger group. The Pickled Radish in Llandaff is closed on a Monday, but open from 12pm-3pm and 6pm-10pm (Tuesday to Saturday) and 12pm-4pm on a Sunday.
Address | 48 High Street, Llandaff, Cardiff, CF5 2DZ
Web | www.thepickledradish.com
BLOG UPDATE – SEPTEMBER 2017 | The Pickled Radish in Llandaff has now closed. However, the restaurant in Laleston remains open.