Monday, 10 December 2012

Miskin Manor

Hello dear foodies, it was only this weekend that I realised I have not posted since September! Time flies and truly waits for no man particularly if you are trying to write something constructive and worth reading. I will leave the latter for you to decide.

Anyway, Miskin Manor is located just off the M4 on the A4119 near Llantrisant. A lovely country hotel which up until recently I had never visited. Our office decided that this would be a good place for our Christmas meal and so off we went. I must admit to my usual trepidation on the old fixed price menu thing.

However there did appear to be a good selection to choose from. At £40 per head I was expecting something rather special and I must say I was not disappointed. From the makrel starter through to the coffee the food was a delight and the front of house team were attentive but not pushy. There timing was spot on with just enough time left between courses to allow for digestion and conversation to be at a premium.

Smoked makrel

I chose the starter of Smoked makrel with a micro salad and boiled quails eggs. The fish was smoked to perfection though for my taste the egg was slightly overdone.

Having said that, each to their own and the flavour combinations were excellent.

I am not normally a salad lover but the leaves were a perfect accompaniment to the fish.

It was at this point that my evening stepped up a gear. One of my colleagues had ordered white onion soup with parmessan. She does not like chees and found the dish overpowering. I dear friends did not and purly in the name of gastronomic research I proceded to consume a second starter.

I have to compliment the chef on the soup it was sublime. Just the right amount of onion and the parmessan dressing was fabulous. An extra little touch was the croutons which were like small bready (if there is such a word) icebergs. The tops were beautifully crunchy and beneath the bread had absorbed the flavours of the soup which was a delight to the palate. The texture was just right.

White Onion Soup with Parmessan and Croutons
We move on now the the main course. Choices were Turkey with the trimmings, pan fried rib eye steak (there was a £3.50 supplement for this), cajon salmon and a vegetable wellington for those of a non carnivore persuasion.

Roast Turkey and Trimmings
As you can see from the photograph I opted for the Turkey. Now as you will know if you have read this blog before I am a confirmed carnivore and am of the opion that get the meat right and most everything else will fall into place.

Boy did they get the meat right. It was beautifully cooked and they did not scrimp on the portion size either.

Served with a selection of winter vegetables which were nicely al dente, it was accompanied by two types of stuffing and the ubicquitus 'pigs in blankets'.

Appologies for the way the photograph turned out it was me who piled everthing on the plate.

A friend had the steak and so as not to miss out on a chance to further the 'best steak in Cardiff' treat I forced myself to try just a little of it.

It had just the right amount of fat running through it and was cooked just on the rare side of medium. If i wanted it be ultra picky I would have had it just a minute longer but then again I didn't order it and was just scrounging a little taste. The mushroom and shallot sauce was the perfect addition and complimented the steak beautifully.

Rib Eye Steak
Another of our number had the salmon but she was too quick for me and I only have her word for it that is was delicious.

Salmon and Crab Rissotto
The salmon was served with a crab risotto and finished with a dill butter sauce.

As you may be aware I am not a great desert lover. This is down to the fact that usually I have stuffed so much previously I am not in the mood for pud. This evening was a exception. The chocolate and chestnut cheesecake was excellent. It was served with a white chocolate and clementine mousse. Imagine a high class chocolate orange and you're not even getting close.

Chocolate and Chestnut Cheesecake
To summarise this was food of the highest quality and I would have no hesitation in visiting here again and also recommending the venue to friends and family.

One slight downside, the bar prices. £20.00 for a bottle of house white was a bit hard to swallow but being the designated driver this did not hurt yours truly!

Bon appetite.

Miskin Manor
Pendoylan Road
Mid Glamorgan
CF72 8ND
United Kingdom
Tel: 01443 224 204
Fax: 01443 237 606
Reservations & Dining enquiries: -

Sunday, 21 October 2012

A Guest review of High Corner House

One of my regular readers on here was out last night at the High Corner House in Llanharan and sent me the following micro blog of her evening. Mind I'm not sure I should advocate or promote anyone who orders their steak well done!

Mrs Helen Owen - take a bow

You will note she started eating before deciding to take a photograph

Andy this picture is just for you. I had the sirloin steak on the reccomendation of Mrs Esther Butcher. As you can see the plate was massive. had a double portion of mushrooms and onion rings due to the fact that many of the ladies did not like these which was a bonus from my point of view. Nice little side salad which was not really necessary but was a nice added touch. Contained both red and white onion so a lot of thought went into the preparation. Only one quarter of tomatoe which was slightly disappointing, none of the other ladies offered me their tomatoes, they obviously like those! My sirloin was very well done. The underneath was slightly charcoaled but still delicious (as I was starving). Now Mrs Joanna Evans on the other other hand had the Rib Eye steak, slightly dearer in price but well worth it. The little odd piece of steak you see in the picture is a piece of her rib eye that she kindly donated to me and very nice indeed it was. The stafff were absolutely fantastic, couldn't have offered any better service so they received a big tip indeed. An evening of great food and great company I highly recommend the High Corner, Llanharan.

The Square,
CF72 9NR

(01443) 858275

Saturday, 29 September 2012

Is this the best steak in Cardiff?

A blogger has been searching Cardiff recently for the best burger in the city. I have decided to up the 'steaks' (stakes get it? oh never mind). I want to know who produces not only the best quality of beef but also knows how to cook it.

I must say Miller and Carter in Cardiff Bay have in my opinion set the bar quite high for starters. Located across the road from the Red Dragon Centre this sometimes overlooked grill and steakhouse is a gem.

I visited there with a group of friends which was a good idea from a blogging perspective as it gave me the chance to view a number of the menu options. The website gives a good overview of the restaurant and has a variety of menus including; daytime, brunch, younger visitors as well as the main menu that we dined from.

The simply bread board with balsamic and olive oil is a good way to start your evening at £2.50 it is value for money and gives you the chance to nibble while you peruse the rest of the menu.

Starters ranged from £4.25 for a delicious baked cheddar mushrooms served with garlic ciabatta up to £8.95 for a spring onion risotto which to be honest would serve as a main. I have it on good authority that the buffalo wings ($4.95) were excellent though the diner in question was not open to a sharing option (you know who you are!)

Baked Cheddar Mushrooms

I chose these roasted button mushrooms in an Alfredo sauce topped with melted cheddar and served with garlic ciabatta. The ciabatta was toasted well and the garlic did not overpower the dish. The cream sauce was well made and because the mushrooms were roasted first they held their texture beautifully.

I can also recommend the Nacho sharing platter (£7.95). There were easily enough for two and in fact most of us had at least one in my case only in the interest of research obviously.

And so to the main event. The steaks are offered both on and off the bone and range in price from £9.95 for a 6oz rump right up to an eye watering £40.95 for a Chateaubriand. To be fair this is meant for sharing. My choice for the evening was a 12oz rump (£14.95) Something I found very useful is that the menu suggests how to have your particular steak cooked, so even if you are a novice there is no need to get that wrong.

Mine was cooked medium and was cooked to perfection. These chefs know how to prepare a cut of beef.

12oz Rump

The beef was moist and succulent and as the butter melted into the food it added a subtle addition to the flavour combinations.

You are regular readers will know of my aversion to frozen fries of any description and if anything were going to let this meal down I thought it was going to be that, however for once I was wrong. Crispy on the outside and light and fluffy on the inside they complemented the meat well.

If I was being ultra picky I suppose I would have still preferred hand cut chunky chips but that is just me.

An addition to the plate is a slice of onion bread which is again tasty without distracting from the steak itself.

A range of sauces can be added to your meal for an extra £1.95 though with meat this good I would choose to leave it alone and allow the flavours to speak for themselves.

For those who prefer there is a burger option and if you are not a great steak lover don't be put off trying the restaurant as they also have a range of grill options. Amongst our party the Smokey Barbecue Chicken (£10.50) also proved to be a popular choice.

Smokey Barbecue Chicken
 In addition to all of this there are some good looking fish, pasta and salad options also available.

The desserts I have found in places like this are sometimes treated as a bit of an afterthought. Not so here. Prices range from £3.50 for ice cream to £5.50 for a beautifully crafted white chocolate box, shortbread topped with white chocolate mousse and raspberry coulis, with a white chocolate coating and served with a white chocolate sauce. Apologies for the lack of photograph, it had gone before I got the chance to take one.

A good old valley boy, who had not been here before, described his experience as "well good Grub". Coming from him that is high praise indeed.

So the gauntlet is laid down. Is this the best steak in Cardiff? I don't know but I intend over the coming months to have some fun trying to find out. If you have any recommendations of where I should go next on my carnivore odyssey then please do get in touch.

Miller and Carter
Hemingway Road
CF10 4JY
02920 045 1315

Saturday, 18 August 2012

Adriatic Explorer

I suppose technically this is not a food review though I am going to mention food in the course of the blog. This is my thoughts on cruising and in particular the cruise we have just returned from on the Thomson Majesty, the newest addition to the Thomson Cruise fleet.

We left Cardiff Wales Airport at 8.15am on Friday 10th August on a 3 and a half hour flight to the island of Corfu. As with most holiday airports Corfu is nothing to write home about and therefore I wont change that except to say it was small and hot!

Thomson Majesty

Transfer to the ship took only twenty minutes and to be fair our room steward had our luggage delivered to our cabin before we arrived. I say cabin more of a 10 x 8 box with 4 beds in it, never mind this was home for the week but we knew it was only going to be used for sleeping.

So Thomson Majesty, 10 decks with accommodation on 9 of them, two swimming pools, 4 restaurants 3 bars, 3 entertainment lounges and a casino. All in all not a bad place to spend the week. We set sail at midnight and had a day at sea on the Saturday. I think this is a good idea as it gives you a chance to acclimatise and to get your bearings. It also gave me a good chance to look at the various food options on board.

Breakfast. This was served on the sun deck and in the Royal Cafe. It was a buffet style and unfortunately much of it was suffering from the usual over stewing of the food. On a positive note eggs were cooked to order and the egg Benedict was particularly good.

Lunch. This is where the choices really started but again because of the buffet style of all but one of the eateries some of the dishes did not stand up too well to the hot plates. However should you wish there was a sit down option in the Seven Seas restaurant with waiter service. More on this later when we discuss dinner. Lunch was not bad with a great selection of salads and cold cuts or meat and fish dishes with a choice of potatoes, rice of pasta. For those that way inclined there was also a burger and hot dog station. The children seemed to particularly enjoy this

Dinner. For me this was the highlight. Waiter service in the Seven Seas with exceptional staff and an excellent wine waiter. He really knew his stuff and was always ready with a recommendation for each night. The Chemin Des Pape Cote Du Rhone was a delight. Dinner each evening consisted of 6 courses plus coffee and we were free to mix and match as we chose. As you can imagine your glutton here went for all six and delicious they were too. One evening stood out for me when I started with a seafood timbale served with red and black caviar followed by an exquisite Lobster Themadore. A tip at this point is to tell the waiter how fantastic the lobster was, it got me a second portion!

So all in all if this were purely a food blog I would probably score the food 3 T's overall but the sit down service would score a 4.5.

After the day at sea our first port of call was Koper in Slovenia. A lovely small town in the far north of the Adriatic it was a place that I had not heard of before but was very pleasant. The central town square has a bell tower  with 242 steps to the top (I know because I climbed them). After a walk around the town the afternoon was spent swimming in the sea. All in all a great day out.

Day three. For me what I was expecting to be one of the highlights of the trip, Venice. Of the whole day one of the best parts was rising early to see the ship sail into the port. Truly breathtaking.

Venice from the Thomson Majesty
With a temperature of 37 degrees and five cruise ships in the port it was never going to be a quiet day but I must say despite the crowds this placed did not disappoint. The architecture is wonderful and the only thing that left me feel a little deflated was he amount of graffiti particularly around the Rialto Bridge. Still you cant have it all and to be fair the sail away with opera classics being played over the ships tanoy was something I will remember for a long time to come.

Day 4. Split. Another town, another bell tower. By this time I realised it was either the view or my heart and I'm afraid the heart won the day. The palace of the Roman Emperor Diocletian was a sight to remember and that fact that it had stood for so long and was still in use today was a testimony to the builders.

There is a lovely swimming area just outside the town where we spent a lovely afternoon. On a note of caution if you do as we did and rent a pedalo then make sure you have another member of your family to help with the pedal bit and watch out for the current there was a point when I wasn't sure we were going to make it back to shore!

Your intrepid explorer checking the sea temperature.
Temperatures during the week rarely dipped below the 34 degree mark and the crystal clear Adriatic waters were a very inviting way to cool off.

All the family enjoyed the opportunity to take a dip.

Day 5. Dubrovnik. This place quite simply took my breath away. It's stunning old town is surrounded by the most amazing city walls which are almost two miles round and take a couple of hours to walk around. We chose the option to walk half the walls and come off them at the harbour from where we were able to charter a small boat which took us out to sea where we were treated to some spectacular views of the old town.  Although Euros are widely accepted in Croatia you need to be aware that to visit the city walls in Dubrovnik you need to either pay be credit card or have some of the local currency.

One word of warning for those of a nervous disposition the boat trip also manages to give you a very impressive view of one of the many nudist beaches! You have been warned.

If you have the time, and I would suggest you try to make time. There is a cable car system which will take you to a mountain above the town and give you the most stunning panorama of the are. Of everywhere we visited during our week this is the one place where both myself and Mrs T said we would want to visit again. It is the kind of place that would be fantastic for a three or four day romantic break.

There is a picture taken in the old town of the beautiful Jilly being accosted by a Macaw. However, should you wish to see it I'm afraid you need to visit my face book page as she has told me not to post it on here.

I don't know why she is so worried about it to be honest I think the video footage is much more amusing!

Day 6. Kotor, Montenegro. The bay in Kotor is known as the worlds most southerly Fjord. As you will see from the photograph below it is well named. The views as you sail into the bay are wonderful and it was well worth another early morning to enjoy the arrival.

Kotor has a fort high above the town, when I say high I am not kidding. You need to be very fit to get all the way to the top, I am not and only got about half way before I managed to convince other families members that they wanted to get back down, thus making it sound like they had brought he trek to an end rather than me.

Entertainment on board the ship was very good with a musical show each evening in the Jubilee Show Lounge and family fun in the Royal Fireworks Lounge. All of the crew of the ship should be commended for their attention to detail and for the effort they put in to make sure we had the best possible time.

Matthew with members of the show team
So to sum up would I go again? Most definitely. One of things we particularly liked about cruising with Thomson is the informality. It works well if you are going as a family and there is plenty for the children to do to keep them amused, in fact one of our problems was getting them off the ship.

If you have never been on a cruise before and are thinking about it then this could be the introduction you are looking for.

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Purple Popadom, Canton, Cardiff

I am, as many of you will know, very rarely lost for words. The Purple Poppadom has genuinely left me with a shortage of superlatives to describe the meal that Mrs Tonfoodie and I enjoyed there recently. Located between an estate agent and takeaway food shop it would not be difficult to walk past this gem of a place. If you did you would be missing out on an exceptional dining experience. I know that in my previous posts I always leave my random scoring system to the end but on this occasion I make no apologies for telling you this delightful eatery scores a resounding 5 T's and if I hadn't stopped the scoring system at 5 I would have given it more for the food alone.

A very unassuming doorway off an ordinary street in Canton, Cardiff leads you into a whole new experience of Indian Cuisine. The decor is unsurprisingly purple, however it is not overpowering and makes you feel warm and welcome.

The staff are a credit to the owner and cannot be praised highly enough. From the warmth of the welcome to the attention to detail out waiters and waitresses were excellent.

Never to busy to stop and talk, always able to offer advice and suggestions, should you want it, but also attentive enough to understand when we were happy to be left alone.

Having already viewed the menu before our visit I have to say I was very tempted by the Deep Blue Tasting Menu and I am sure that had my head not been swayed by the a la carte dished I would have chosen that. Never mind that can wait until the next time.

General Manager of the restaurant Raman Bijalwan takes time to mingle with diners and always seemed happy to explain the dishes and how the genius that is Anand George (Chef Patron) greats his amazing mix of flavours. I promise if I worked for a certain French Tyre manufacturer this place would be well starred up.

Anyway enough of the preamble lets get down to the real reason for our visit, the food. The taster menu as I mentioned earlier looks to be very good value at £39.95 without drinks and £47.95 with beers between each course. If you are a lover of seafood with a twist then this is the one for you.

We had, as I said earlier already decided we were going to attack the a la carte menu and while Mrs T opted simply for poppadom and chutney starter I chose the Lamb in a Thrice (£7.95), this consisted of Lamb pattice with potatoes and bread crumbed. Seekh Kebab  from Lucknow, cooked on skewers in the tandoor, accompanied with a pan fried spice crusted lamb. Served with a mango and what I think was either damson or blackberry jous it was mouthwatering.

Lamb in a Thrice

Fish and Chips AG

I think apart from the beautiful flavour the first thing that struck me about this was the three completely different textures the chef was able to conjure up from basically the same meat. It was quite simply delicious.

For the main course Mrs T chose, wait for it, Fish and Chips AG! (£14.95) Yes I know but this is was fish and chips a la Anand George and not your average takeaway I can assure you. Lemon Sole in a delightfully lite crispy batter with small roundels of potato in a breadcrumb covering. Served with a garlic infused crushed green pea and a mango mayonnaise it was something truly extraordinary.

Now clearly in the interests of this review and not because I am a glutton, that is a pure coincidence, I had to try the fish. Even the notoriously difficult to please Mrs T said it was cooked perfectly. Trust me when I tell you this is high praise indeed.

For my own main course I chose the interestingly named Nawabi Chicken (£15.95). Described by the restaurants web site as; A dish from the Moghul emperors, chicken supreme marinated with creamy cheese, with a touch of cardamom and mace finished in the tandoor. Accompanied by a boneless bhuna chicken thigh served with makhani sauce (sieved tomatoes) and mint sorbet. While this may be a perfectly acceptable description it does not begin to convey the subtle mix of flavours and textures delivered to the palate (sorry I am getting all carried away now but this was truly our of this world).

Nawabi Chicken
To my uneducated palate the thought of a frozen mint sorbet alongside the warmth of the chicken should not work but it simply does. As I have stated in the past I am no great lover of salad but the simple cucumber and red onion offering was served with a honey and mustard dressing which was gorgeous.

Chocomosa Anand

I could not leave without trying Chef Georges signature desert Chocomosa Anand (£6.50) a light crispy pastry parcel filled with a melted Belgian chocolate ganache served with vanilla ice cream.

If I say that you should try this just for the homemade vanilla ice cream that would be reason enough but the chocolate ganache was out of this world. I do not know what percentage of cocoa solids were used but the flavour was just delightful. I realise I am running out of superlatives now so it is probably time to draw this offering to a close.

If you are a resident of Cardiff and have not tried the Purple Poppadom, why not? And if you are planning to visit in the near future then take the time to track down this award winning venue. It is slightly off the beaten track but in my opinion well worth the visit. Total for our evening including drinks was a reasonable £54.95 which for food and service of this quality was not expensive.

You will need to book and my advice is if you want an early sitting then book early. I hope you have enjoyed my musings and that you enjoy the dining experience as much as I did. This will most assuredly not be my last visit. Enjoy!

Score: 5 T's

Purple Poppadom
Upper Floor
185a Cowbridge Road East
CF11 9AJ
Tel: 029 2022 0026


Saturday, 30 June 2012

Revolution Cardiff

This gem of a place is directly opposite the castle in the centre of Cardiff. Slightly off the beaten track unless you are into the club scene but for a delicious lunch well worth a visit.

Revolution is quite simply a bar that has tapped into the food market and boy have they tapped in. For the first time in a very long time I genuinly found it difficult to decide what to have from a wonderful variety on the menu.

As it was a light lunch for Mrs T and I we decided to forego the starters but they are very reasonably priced for example something as simple as dough balls (£3.25) up to Katsu King Prawns, that is deep fried in Japanese breadcrumbs (£5.25).

They have a wonderfully eclectic mix of main meals from burgers, which looked very nice on another table, traditional fish and chips or steak through to stonebake pizza which very nearly won me over just to find out what duck and hoi sin sauce on a pizza would taste like. I must say that I also fancied the idea of piri piri chicken on a pizza but for this visit I managed to stay my gluntony and go for one of the classic sandwiches. The mains by the way ranged from £7.95 for a sunblushed tomato, asparagus and pea linguine up to £12.95 for a rump steak with a pepper sauce.

At only £7.25 the range of flatbreads looked very good value and I was very tempted by the Sweet Chilli, King Prawn and Chorizo but in the end i decided to go down the road of something new on the summer menu, a classic steak sandwich (£7.25). On lightly toasted granary bread with dijon mustard mayo and a bed of rocket this meaty delight came with a topping of potabello mushroom and caramalised onions. For my liking the steak was slightly overcooked and one downside was that I wasn't asked how I wanted it cooked. Note to self, don't wait to be asked tell the waiting staff how you want your steak cooked. That aside the onions were beautifully sweet and married with the mustard mayo gave a delightlful background enhancment to the steak.

The Little Touches Make This Place
 I was impressed by the little touches shown here instead of the usual pot with cutlery in these lovely little individual pouches just manage to make your experience a little bit more special.

My dining partner for this afternoon was the beautiful Mrs T and she chose the Southern Fried BBQ Chicken Wrap (£6.75). I thought this was very good value and was described by the notoriusly picky Mrs T as 'lush'. When ordering she had been concerned that the BBQ sauce may have overpowered the dish but not so, this was truly fabulous.

Southern Fried BBQ Chicken

The only downside to this dish was the coleslaw, looked and tasted like it had been expertly scooped from a jar. Please, please make your own, when you are producing food this good don't spoil it with the less than brilliant sides.

And while I'm on the subject of sides, the curse of the frozen fries strike again. Why oh why do you insist on frozen chips when hand cut chunky would have been the crowning glory to an otherwise really enjoyable lunch.

Now those of you who know me will know I am not a great herbivor, infact if you eat out with me you will either see the salad left on the side of the plate or offered around to my fellow diners as I am nothing if not a sharing kind of person. However, not in this case the lime dressed side salad was superb, beetroot leaves and mico beans set it off to perfection.

Classic Steak Sandwich
There are a good number of vegetarian options and something I liked was that they are amalgamated into the menu rather than being tagged onto the end as in some places I have visited.

Deserts start at £2.95 for an ice cream up to £4.95 for Revolution Mess, an Eton Mess with summer berries and at the same price or the chocoholics amongst us Revolution Chocolate Mess, whipped cream, meraign, chocolate brownie, chocolate ice cream and topped with chocolate sauce, what's not to love.

Possibly the best recmmendation I can give for Revolution is the photograph below.

In my humble opinion an empty plate is always a sign of an enjoyable dining experience and it is my personal opinion that Revolution in Cardiff is an enjoyable dining experience.
Says It All

If you are taking the children there is a menu for the younger members of the family as well.

If you are looking for lunch in the city don't walk past this place without at least giving it a go.;

We will certainly be returning.

Revolution Cardiff
9-11 Castle Street, Cardiff CF10 1BS
Telephone: 02920 236689
Twitter: @revcardiff

Score: 4T's. Give it a go I don't think you will be dissapointed.

Monday, 25 June 2012

Pantruthyn Farm, Pencoed

Let me say from the out set this is not fine dining. If you like Beefeater you will love Table Table. It is they kind of place that caters for all types and we have found is a good place to take the fussy teenagers who occasionally deign to grace us with their presence.

Like many of these eateries this Pantruthyn has had a number of incarnations and this latest under the Table Table banner is not unpleasant. A typical 'off the motorway' venue, it is adjacent to a hotel and thus provides the usual all you can eat breakfast as a sideline to the restaurant menu.

Inside it is a spacious venue with a number of small alcoves which can accommodate intimate tables for two to larger areas with tables large enough for eighth to ten diners.

Beware if you like the quiet life this may not be the place for you, as I said earlier it is popular with families and as such on the night we were there it was busy and there were a number of shall we say rather loud babies and small children to contend with!

My biggest gripe about the food is that being a chain they are, as always seems to be the case, obsessed with frozen. For me I don't think it is too difficult to produce hand cut chips and they would make all the difference to what otherwise becomes quite ordinary. But more of that later.

We didn't book but even so on a Saturday evening we didn't have to wait more than twenty minutes. The waiting staff were very pleasant and attentive to our needs. Even though we had not bothered to book the duty manager was still apologetic that we had to wait and the service was good.

So dear reader on to the important bit, the food! There is a quite acceptable three courses menu with starters ranging from £1.99 for dough balls to a not particularly cheap £5.29 for a whole baked Camembert. On average the starters are around £4.79 and cover all the usual suspects. On this occasion we chose to skip this and move on to the mains.

Plenty to choose from here from fish and chips through to Roast Duck with most stops in between. The burgers are particularly good according to the boy, but then he sees McDonald's as a fine dining experience. To be fair they are pretty good but not to my taste.

I chose the Chicken and BBQ Ribs combo (£7.79) which you can upgrade to a full rack for an extra £1.80. The ribs are beautifully, fall off the bone, cooked but sadly the BBQ element comes from a pot of sauce which I guess was expertly poured from a bottle. A dry rub would have made a big difference. The chicken again was a let down (frozen goujons) however the caramel sauce was good.

Chicken and BBQ Ribs
For an inexpensive night out this was not unpleasant but with only a little thought and effort it could have been so much more. I suppose the saying is true that you get what you pay for and as I said the ribs were well cooked.

Now on to the sausage and mash. This was, to use a football term, a game of two halves. The mash, well lets just move on. However the sausage was succulent, meaty and really well cooked. It is also worth noting that three of these beauties was a good sized portion.

Sausage and Mash

Now I am a lover of frozen peas but if you are going to use them then please heat them through as needed rather than having a vat of them to dish up. Overall this was not bad at all and the price £7.59 was, in my opinion, pretty good value for money.

Mrs Tonfoodie went for  the Chicken Fajitas (£8.99) which she described as spicy and delicious. As always and obviously only in the name of research I did try one and I would agree.  Mrs T took the photograph and managed to take it upside down, I was tempted to put it in that way around but thought better of it just in case you felt the need to turn your computer round to see it properly!

Chicken Fajitas
 This leaves us with the final dish which was a perfectly acceptable chicken breast served with bacon and cheese (£9.49). This was the only time when out waitress slipped up, being so used to expecting everyone to have those earlier mentioned frozen chips she missed the fact that we had ordered this with jacket potato, not a major issue and very quickly rectified.

Deserts range from £3.00 - £5.49 and are the usual fayre at this type of place. Mrs T and the boy decided to share the tasting plate which allows you to choose any three of the choices on the menu. They seemed to be taken with this because when I went to take a photograph it had already half disappeared.

The Tasting Desert
So to sum up £53 for four people including drinks is not bad. This is a decent family restaurant which I would be happy to go back to. Shame about the obsession with frozen but hey you can't have everything. Looking for somewhere to take the kids then give it a go. Looking for a romantic evening for two......

It is worth checking their website for special offers but remember if you find one vouchers need to be printed and taken with you.

Score: 2.5 T's

Pantruthyn Farm
Whitehall Road
CF35 5hY
Tel: 01656 860133
Mon-Sat: 12.00 noon - 11pm
Sun: 12 noon - 10.30pm
Breakfast: 7am - 10:30am

Saturday, 9 June 2012

Fish at 85, Pontcanna Street Cardiff

I had heard great things about Fish at 85 and so it was with great expectation that I set out with a friend, who by the way was fish mad, to taste the delights of this fishmonger come restaurant in Cardiff.

Opened in 2011 it is rapidly gaining a very positive reputation among the good and the great of the Cardiff food world.

Only room for 20 covers with a couple of tables outside it is never going to be the biggest restaurant you would visit and if I was to be hyper critical the table we had was a little cramped to get to but that has got any negatives about this place out of the way at the start because everything else about this delightful specialist fish emporium is exquisite!

The decor is wooden slats made to look like a beach hut and for some it may take some getting used to eating while being watched by the days catch. Believe me it was so fresh I would not have been surprised if some of the fish was still able to be watching.

The Fantastic Fresh Fish Selection
 The lunch time menu was good value with prices starting at £6.00 for starters to £15.00 for a main course. On this visit we didn't sample to desert menu but it looked very good.

I was tempted to give Oysters a go for a starter but never having tried them before I was slightly reticent. At £1.99 each and sold by the half dozen I was unsure, never fear dear reader because the staff were happy to give us two to try and they were delicious. Served with shallot in a red wine vinegar and Tabasco they were truly delightful. An experience I would definitely try again.


For starter I decided on the smoked haddock tart (£8.00), which I was told was new to the menu. Wow! what a winner the pastry case was cooked to perfection thin and crispy and the filling of smoked fish and leek was complimented wonderfully by a beautifully cooked poached egg and pancetta. This is a real winner. My dining companion opted for the Mussel Ribollita (£6.00) served with a bean ragout and tomato sauce. Again in my opinion faultless.

Smoked Haddock Tart
 These chefs really know how to cook fish.

Oysters as a taster.

Mussel Ribollita
 I think at this point left to my own devices I would have spent the rest of the afternoon going through the starter until I had tried them all but alas the main course was calling. Monk fish with chilli saag (£15.00) was out of this world. The only way to describe the fish was a perfectly cooked fillet steak tasting of the freshest fish I have had in a long time. The saag (spinach and potato) had a wonderful background heat from the chilli without it being overpowering.

Monk fish with Chilli Saag
I am running out of superlatives about Fish at 85. Before I close though I must say thank you to Philip and the front of house staff who were extremely friendly and well informed about the dishes on offer. This was my first visit but it will most definitely not be my last. Don't take my word for it try Fish @85 for yourself, I for one do not think you will be disappointed.

Score 4.5 T's

Twitter - @fishat85
Address - 85 Pontcanna Street, Cardiff, CF11 9HS
Telephone - 02920 02 02 12

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

The Pelican, Paignton

Sometimes you find a little gem of an eatery which just cries out to be shared. The Pelican on the harbour in Paignton, Devon is just one of these places. From the outside it just looks like any other fish and chip shop and when you enter it still seems the same. However dont judge this place by the outward appearance.  Nothing really to write home about that is until you taste the food.

This small family run resturant delivers fish so fresh I was surprised it wasn't still flapping about on the plate. I chose the haddock fillet (£5.95) which I must say was worth every penny. The batter was so thin and crispy it was almost Temupra in style and unlike many places I have visited it complemented the fish rather than overpowering it. The haddock was skinned and boned perfectly and given the chance I think I would have just ordered a plate of fish. Had I done this however would have meant missing out on some sublime hand cut twice cooked chips.

As a lover of all things pomme de tare I have to say these were excellent! I'm not sure the photograph really does this meal justice but I am posting it anyway for your delectation dear reader.

Clearly this is never going to be classed as fine dining, and nor should it be. This is fish and chips of the highest order. The mushy peas were home made and tasted so, not too salty. The only drawback to a wonderful lunch? A salad dressing on the plate. What's that all about? In my opinion unnecessary and really out of place.

If you find yourself visiting the English Riviera take a trip down to the harbour in Paignton and check out the Pelican. If you are in a hurry they do take away as well.

Score - 3T's

Pelican Cafe
61 Roundham Road

t: 01803 554983

Saturday, 26 May 2012

Pizza Express Cardiff Bay

My intention when I started this blog was to write about the kind of places where I would go with family and friends. In other words not always high end or posh nosh.

With this in mind welcom to my musings on Pizza Express in Cardiff Bay.

If your children like ours would live off pizza if you let them, but you want something slightly more sophisticated than 'the hut' then allow me to indulge your tastebuds. I confess I'm not a great pizza lover but this place could almost convert me. First off when we visited the service was superb. I think this is the first restaurant I have visited recently where when the drinks order was delivered it came with a jug of iced water without having to ask for it and what's more without an extra charge.

Into's and starters are resonably priced from £2.95 to a slightly eye watering £9.90 for an antipasta sharing dish. As this was a lunch visit and I was not in my usual glutton mode I chose the Bruschetta al Fungi (£4.70) and lets say I was not at all disappointed. I would infact go so far as to say it was immense! the flavour combinations were superb with just the right amount of garlic oil and balsamic dressing which packed a punch without overpowering. The mushrooms and red onion were delightful. I meant to take this photograph before starting but had one bite and just had to have another one (sorry).

You will just have to trust me on this one that it looked a lot better before yours truly stuck his knife and fork in it! Main courses are what you would expect mostly posh named pizza and the usual pasta dishes for those who are of that ilk. The pasta is not unpleasant and priced at around £9.00 not bad value for money. Pizza is, I have to say pretty impressive for flatbread with toppings. The small person who lives in our house had a meatball version (£11.75) with sweet peppers and rocket which was very palatable though he found it a little hot. It would have been plenty big enough to share though he did a good job of attacking it alone.

Mrs Tonfoodie went for a clever option which was alegedly only 500 calories. A chicken and rocket number with a hole in the middle which is then filled with salad (£9.65) not a bad effort in my uneducated book.

Desserts were the standard large chain fair with one exception which was the Dolcetti, a mini dessert in my case gelato with nougat, praline and massala wine served with a coffee of your choice (£3.95). The only draw back, not enough. Mrs T had the cheesecake (£4.95)  which I am realiably informed was 'very nice'. The mobile waste disposal of course went for the largest thing on the menu a chocolate gelato (£5.25) which he managed to polish off with remarkable ease and speed. All told a meal for three with drinks for £52.00 as I said slightly pricey but if you want pizza with that little bit extra then worth it. A venu I would definitely recommend for pre show at the Millenium Centre if you are with the children.

28A Mermaid Quay, Cardiff, South Glamorgan
029 2047 2006

Bon Appetito!

Sunday, 20 May 2012

The Long Bow, Talbot Green

The Long Bow is owned and operated by the Beefeater Group. Now I am not unfamiliar with the chain and have to say I have been to some which leave more than a little to be desired. The problem with any chain of restaurants is they have the ablility to be the same wherever you go.

The Long Bow is either refreshingly different, or it's a long time since I last visited one. The bar area is to the left as you enter and for an informal dining experience it is very relaxed with comfortable sitting. The full restaurant menu is available from the bar should you wish.

We however chose to dine in the main restaurant area. I confess this is the first time I have been somewhere like this for Sunday Lunch but overall it was not an unpleasant experience. One thing I have not been able to understand yet is we wanted to book for 1.30pm and were told there were no tables available and it would have to be 1pm or 2pm. We chose the former but all through lunch the place was never more than 2/3 full. Maybe someone could explain the booking policy.

Anyway on to the real reason for you being here dear reader, the food. Starters are typical of any pub/restuarant with standards like prawn cocktail through to a delightful sharing combo. The baked camembert is ok but would exactly set your palete alight. Prices range from £4 - £8.79 though the higher end is for two.

Main courses start at a very reasonable £8.69 for a not unpleasant burger with fries tthrough to a rather eye watering £21 for the steak platter. I chose the Mixed Grill (£14.49) which consisted of rump steak, gammon, chicken, sausage.

On the subject of the steak I would recommend that however you like yours ask for one level below what you expect. What do I mean well one of my dining friends asked for medium rare but got medium, while I asked for rare and got medium rare.

It being Sunday there was a Roast Lunch available either chicken, beef or pork and according to those who chose this it was well executed and infact one of our number said it was the best Roast Lunch he had had for a long time. I'm not convinced this was the best thing to say with his wife sitting opposite but hey each to their own!

The chicken was cooked very well and the selection of seasonal vegetables were just this side of slightly too hard for my taste.

Desserts were mainly sundaes with a variety of additions (£4.20) and were good without being stunning. One unfortunate during our visit was a shortage of bananas for the banoffee pie. This ended up being strawoffee pie not really the same.

Overall not a bad dining experience at what could be described by some as mid priced dining. I enjoyed it and would recommend it particularly to families.

Score 3T's

The Longbow
Gwaun Elai, Magden Park
CF72 8TX
Tel: 01443 233952
Mon-Sat: 12.00 noon - 11pm
Sun: 12 noon - 10.30pm
Breakfast: 7am - 10:30am

Sunday, 13 May 2012

O'Sullivans Llantrisant

Ok so here we go. My scoring system, which is completely arbitary is 1-5 T's. T being Tonfoodie. 1 Tired - dont bother, 2 Trying - not bad but would need a gap between visits, 3 Tasty - an average score, 4 Tidy - the Wenglish for Good, 5 Terrific - do not miss this place.

This is my first go at reviewing any eatery. I am a food lover who lives with my beautiful wife Jill in the South Wales village of Tonyrefail.

Can I say that from the outset these reviews will be only my opinion and you are free to agree or disagree with jibberish I manage to come up with.

My first visit to O'Sullivans in Old Llantrisant will undoutably not be my last. As you approach the restuarant you could be forgiven for thinking you were about to knock the door of a private residence. The small frontage gives way to an equally cozy dining room. I counted four tables of eight and a small 4 person table in the corner so compact would be a suitable description.

A standard bistro style menu is augmented with balckboard specials which are introduced to diners by head chef Tony. He goes through the specials explaining sauces and how the various dishes are prepared, which is an excellent introduction to some equally interesting dishes.

Starters are all priced at a reasonable £5.95 and range from a fairly uninspiring prawn cocktail (which was nice without being outstanding) to something described as 'exotic meats'. This was sublime, a homage of boar, buffalo, crocodile (I know more of this later) and bison all slow braised in a divine sauce and served on half a ciabatta. I loved this and would recomend it though for my taste it would have been better without the croc! Speaking of which for those who may not have tried it crocodile is a cross between chicken and pork with a hint of fish. Trust me it tastes better than it sounds. A friend had the scallops and tiger prawn in garlic butter, again delicious and if I hadn't chosen the meats I would have happily dispatched this.

Mains range in price from £13.95 to £21.95 and although a little pricey are still value for money. I had the rose veal in a wild mushroom and white wine sauce. The veal was cooked to perfection and the sauce just the right balance of mushroom, cream and wine. Another of the more unusual dishes was fillet of Zebra. How to describe the flavour. I suppose it's like a very fine fillet of beef with a stronger game flavour. Don't be fooled this is not one of those places that serve 'steak' by other names. It was cooked to perfection and the flavour was outstanding. Rump of lamb with a mint sauce was again well cooked. For the fish lovers among you the whole filleted sea bass with king prawns was beautifully cooked. The chef is clearly a man who knows his way around the kitchen and is not frightened to show off his undenigable talent.

If you are the type who likes their food au natural the kitchen is happy to deliver simply grilled chicken which Jill enjoyed immensly.

The only thing that let the whole evening down was the desert. Now it may be that I just did't choose well because the apple strudle did sound lovely but i plumped for the lemon meriagne pie which was good but a bit of a damp squib after the first two courses.

Over all a great example of bistro style cookery only twenty minutes from the centre of Cardiff. Score 4T's.

Happy eating