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