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