Summer Tapas at Cosy Club

Anyone who knows me well, knows there is only one place in Cardiff I continually return to time and time again and that’s the hidden gem that is Cosy Club.

A discreet hideaway, it’s perfectly positioned in a central location with a great view across the main shopping street in the city.

Cosy Club is like a grown-ups’ social playground…Whether you’re grabbing brunch with a friend, booking one of their wine tasting sessions or curling up on the sofas for an intimate date it’s the perfect setting.

I recently went there for dinner with my friend Jack and we might have spoilt ourselves just a little bit.

We opted for a starter each… I had the mushroom bruschetta & Jack went for the Goats cheese pearls with sun-blushed tomatoes and black olive tapenade… These were just so scrummy!

Cosy Starter

We decided that we simply couldn’t choose which tapas dishes to go for…so we went for all of them! The only 2 we didn’t try were the ham hock and the herring as they had run out.

Mini Cumberland sausages with a sticky, wholegrain mustard & cider sauce– 10/10 WE LOVED! If I had my own Last Supper, this is what I would serve.

Crispy potatoes with pesto mayonnaise-9/10 Lush flavours, crunchy texture, creamy mayo!

Honey glazed shredded 5- spice pork– 9/10 A party in your mouth with each soft, gooey piece

Watermelon & crumbled feta with black olives, mint & extra virgin olive oil– 9/10 The naughtiest salad you’ll ever have… Going to make this at home!

Chorizo braised in cider– 8/10 Mouth watering texture, scrummy sauce, could’ve eaten a whole bowl of this

Mushroom rarebit made with their guest ale and mature cheddar– 8/10 Just like mumma makes it!

Home cured raspberry salmon with a raspberry vinegarette– 6/10 Lush salmon, bit too much fruit…

Grilled courgettes, red peppers & roasted vine tomatoes with a walnut & parsley pistou– 6/10 Superb flavours but this dish deserves to be served warm!

Mini fish fingers with tartare suace– 8/10 Always a winner for me… Gotta love anything mini

Houmous topped with spiced sultanas and chickpeas– 10/10 Made us feel very festive, I want to smother this on top of everything I eat at home.

Sweet potato and basil falafels with cumin & coriander yoghurt– 6/10 We are not falafel people, but we tried them and loved the aromas that came from within.

Pulled chicken poached in buttermilk and ginger with fennel & apple coleslaw– 7/10 Bit too much slaw, not enough chicken but blimey the chicken was good!

Cosy Tapas1

Okay…we were so full by this point we contemplated stopping but then we remembered… there’s always room for dessert…hehe!

I went for the Peach Melba Cheesecake which arrived in the cutest jar and tasted phenomenal… nom nom nom!!

Cosy Dessert

Jack chose the Rhubarb, stem ginger and custard fool… It looked outstanding and the heavenly noises Jack made whilst eating it only made it seem even better.

After feeling suitably stuffed we made our way home, but not before saying goodbye to the evening’s host Nathan who always gives you a warm welcome and makes sure you’ve had a great time.

The whole team at Cosy Club always make you feel like one in a million and it’s for this reason that I will continue to keep going back!

If you’re looking for a great deal then head to Cosy Club on Tapas Tuesday and you can get 3 tapas dishes and a glass of wine for £11.50!!!!

http://www.thecosyclub.co.uk/cardiff

 

   

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A Pukka Meal

I was lucky enough to go to Jamie’s Italian with a very handsome young gentleman last week and it was the best meal I’ve had in quite some time!

We had a 20 minute wait so we sat at the bar and I flashed my Jamie’s gold loyalty card at the barman. This entitled both of us to a free cocktail…result! We both has a Rossini which is a glass filled with red berry puree topped with Prosecco… Mmmmm!

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Rossini Cocktails

We were feeling fairly hungry so opted to skip starters and go straight for mains. I opted for the Pumpkin Panzerotti which is pasta filled with roasted squash, ricotta & Parmesan, in a pumpkin, chilli & rosemary butter with smashed amaretti. The pasta was fresh and the flavours really hit your taste buds in all the right places!

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My ‘date’ chose the British Lamb Lollipops.

Looking nowhere near a childish as the name suggests this gargantuan meal of lamb chops grilled under a brick with a pickled mint, tarragon & red onion salad, toasted nuts & a lemony yoghurt dressing is not for the faint hearted. The lamb was beautifully tender and mixed with the yoghurt dressing just improved the flavours even more.

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We both chose to have a side of Jamie’s famous Polenta Chips with a garlic mayonnaise to dip. I was a bit surprised by these as I’ve had them before and they are more chip shaped, whereas this time they came out the size of bricks. They still tasted AMAZING though!

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By this point we had both made our way through 2 of our favourite drinks each… the ginger mojito! Normally I’m a huge advocate of alcohol at dinner but these alcohol-free alternatives taste so fresh you can’t help but love them.

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For dessert  we always have very conflicting views. For me a warm fudgy brownie with amaretto ice cream & caramelised amaretti popcorn. Whilst Jack indulged in something a bit sweeter, the Autumn Ripped Pavlova, Zesty cream, limoncello-soaked fruits & smashed hazelnut praline.

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Needless to say we were both suitable full by this point and needed to go and have a well deserved lie down.

With a child-friendly atmosphere and a huge menu with several sharing options available too, I’d definitely recommend Jamie’s as a great place for any family to head this Mother’s Day.

Jamie’s Italian…Please sir can we have some more!

We visited this restaurant after deciding to make a girly evening of it! You certainly couldn’t miss Jamie’s as it towers over the riverside like a beacon, with a huge sign and floating balcony. Inside we were pleasantly surprised by the setting, tucked away inside, the seating reminded us of being abroad. Unfortunately it was a rather cold evening and so we opted to sit inside.

Our waitress was lovely, very enthusiastic and obviously knew the menu very well as she quoted the day’s specials to us. She took our drinks orders while we browsed the menu, Shauna had a coke while I ordered a non-alcoholic ginger mojito, and promptly brought them over to us. We were surprised at how reasonable the prices were and ordered our main courses and sides.

We were not kept waiting long and the food was delicious. We both opted for the Sausage Pappardelle; Slow-braised fennel sausage ragù with Torrione red wine, Parmesan & crunchy, herby breadcrumbs…It was amazing! You could tell that the pasta had been made fresh that day and all of the flavours complimented each other wonderfully. We also had some polenta chips, crispy fried with rosemary salt & Parmesan on the side.

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After our main course we ordered a dessert each… My friend opted for a trio of ice cream; vanilla, chocolate and salted caramel all dusted with crushed nuts. I chose a warm fudgy brownie with amaretto ice cream & caramelised amaretti popcorn. Both of these were exquisite and left us feeling suitable full up.

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As the restaurant got busier we were slightly over looked after requesting the bill but overall our experience at this restaurant was positive and the food was certainly good value for the money, we will definitely visit again.

Pancake Wars at Crepe Affaire!

Due to a pretty poor visit when they first opened, I hadn’t been back to Crêpe Affaire in some time. However, after hearing about my visit the manager, Ash, invited me to come back in to look at the improvements they’ve made since they opened last year and to sample the new-look menu.

I naturally had to practically drag my friend Sian along with me for moral…and edible…support.

It’s funny…I have a lot more friends now than when I wasn’t a food blogger…weird I know!

It’s rather a spectacle when you first walk in to Crêpe Affaire ; with so much yellow everywhere I felt like Dorothy on my way to Oz.

With the open-plan seating, theatre-style Crepe Machine that you can watch work it’s magic and art deco furnishings you could forgive yourself for thinking you were sitting in a modern cafe in Amsterdam.

I was a little bit disappointed to see their grand chalk board/wall only half finished and a bit messy where things had been rubbed out. Like anything, if you’re going to make something a feature then it needs to be spectacular!

We were greeted warmly by Manageress Kam, who also happens to be Ash’s wife, and she settled us in so we felt completely at ease.

We thought we’d work our way slowly through the weary travellers’ day and start with breakfast!

LONDON VS CANADA

The Londoner- Free range scrambled egg, cheese and sausage (or you can have it with bacon)

The Canadian- Canadian maple syrup and bacon

We were both in agreement that London was the winner for breakfast for us. The sausage was flavoursome and cooked to perfection, all the flavours just married together very well and it was rather filling. Unfortunately for Canada, although the thought of maple syrup for breakfast made us jump for joy, the ratio of bacon wasn’t nearly enough for us to contemplate it being the first meal of the day and satisfying our inevitable hunger pains until lunch.

Next stop for the hungry food tourist…Lunch!

NEW YORK VS …A GOAT?

New York Deli- Salmon, cream cheese & chives

Le Goat Deluxe- Goats & Cheddar cheese, caramelised onion, red onion & spinach

 The New York Deli had been allowed to cool just slightly so that the cream cheese did not melt and the smoked salmon tasted light and fresh. It could probably do with the addition of an extra subtle flavour hint…Naturally salmon and cream cheese are quite bland and the chives were lifted it but still more could be done to improve this dish. I was a little disappointed at how much salmon was in the dish, although being a franchise I fear that ingredients proportions guidelines are probably given to them from the ‘powers-that-be’.

The Le Goat Deluxe, the one we chose as our favourite, really did tick every box. Flavoursome melted cheese, hot & sticky onions and strong, wilted spinach which just added another dimension to the whole dish. Incredibly filling and also suitable for Vegetarians, this dish got a thumbs up from us.

By this point we were what some people refer to as ‘food drunk’…For those of you who don’t know what this means…I am referring to that point in the evening when you’ve eaten so much food that you start talking nonsense and giggling for no apparent reason and want to take a really long nap.

And breathe…Last course…Dessert!

BANANA VS APPLE… Okay, I know, these are like the weirdest fights ever!

Bananalicious- Banana & Nutella

Apple Crumble- Apple, cinnamon, sultanas, crumble, butterscotch sauce and a scoop of vanilla ice cream on the side.

We agreed on a draw for these two dishes, as they were both sublime with their flavour combinations. The Nutella had melted just a little which mixed with the banana to give a fruity yet decadent dish. The Apple Crumble was rather rich as it was a little cinnamon-heavy but with the addition of the sultanas and the ice cream it made it light enough to trick yourself into thinking it was a ‘healthy’ option.

During our visit Sian enjoyed a mango, passionfruit & pineapple smoothie whilst I stuck with a French vanilla latte, loaded with brown sugar cubes.

So…overall verdict…

I do feel as though the brand are missing a trick in terms of their in-store offerings for customers. As somewhere that primarily will either serve food for takeaway or have customers in for an average of half an hour eating one dish, I really think that the unit would benefit from a computer bar or even adding Ipads to their kitchen-esque dining table…a sort of crêperie come internet cafe.

However, they do offer free wifi, which isn’t really advertised anywhere, but with the space they have could provide a unique informal meeting space.

They also run monthly promotions, usually coinciding with what’s going on in the world or Cardiff at the time.

Ash and Kam have really turned this place around, having themselves gone through a rather large change going from office desks to crêpe domination I’d say they’re doing a great job.

After a great evening and several long chats with Kam later, we said our farewell…

I have to say my mind has been well and truly changed on Crêpe Affaire! A great venue with superb staff and well cooked food… Will be visiting again!

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