My Cardiff

As many of you know I have landed myself an amazing new job, however it’s in Reading which means I will be leaving Cardiff in a couple of weeks time.

Cardiff has introduced me to so many hidden gems so I thought it only fair to share my absolute favourites with you all and a few photo memories from my adventures in these wonderful places!

Breakfast

Cafe Pure is by far the best place to grab a healthy and super yummy breakfast.  They have lots of options to choose from and has fantastic views overlooking Cardiff Bay. They pride themselves on their ‘clean-eating’ options and make the most amazing healthy, fruity and fizzy drinks in the summer.

Cafe Pure

Lunch

The Deck is my Cardiff Bay haven! Tucked away down a small road opposite Cardiff Bay Police Station they serve up meals that taste ‘just like mum makes it’. Everything from comforting lasagne to the Mother Omelette stacked with various toppings. I always popped in for their famous bacon & brie baguette with cranberry sauce. They are also the best place in Cardiff to get cupcakes and brownies, with different flavours every day.

NY Deli is my guilty pleasure for a day when I just don’t feel like being healthy. This small cafe nestled in High Street Arcade offers up the most amazing selection with everything from bagels to hoagies. My favourite is the Richie Parks Special; mountains of salt beef and pastrami stacked on top of a layer of sweet gherkins with lashings of French mustard…mmm!

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Richie Park’s Special at NY Deli

Dinner

Gourmet Burger Kitchen was a place I had never heard of before I moved to Cardiff… I’m so glad I discovered it though as it has everything that I look for in a brilliant restaurant. Superb staff, banging tunes, delicious food and of course great value for money too. GBK make the most refreshing Strawberry milkshakes and of course you can get grilled halloumi as a side dish so naturally this was going to be a winner for me.

GBK

Cocktails

Cosy Club is my favourite place to drink in all of Cardiff! The prices are a little on the steep side but when you try the concoctions on offer you will be pleased with every penny spent. My two signature favourites have always been the Lemon Drizzle Cake and the Cherry Bakewell… No these aren’t cakes, they are drinks, but my oh my they taste like alcoholic, liquidised cake…Mr Kipling would be proud!

Cosy Cocktails

Salt is another place I love drinking in as it’s so close to my flat in the bay and the flavour combinations in their cocktails are just crazy. From their espresso martinis to the candy-tasting Jolly Rancher there is something for everyone here. They have spectacular views of Cardiff Bay from their rooftop terrace which is a lush setting to sit and eat dinner in the summer. It’s also a great place if there’s a large group of you, with the option to reserve an area upstairs. They have brilliant live music nights too, be sure to catch ‘Salvation’ playing there.

Salt

Sarah and I on New Year’s Eve

Nightlife

Peppermint is the place to be on Mill Lane! With cool decor, cheap drinks deals and varied music across two floors, it’s always the best bar on a Friday or Saturday night. It can get very busy in here but that just adds to the atmosphere. Their outside seating area is beautiful to enjoy in the summer and they always put on great entertainment throughout the year and on key dates such as the Six Nations.

Brewhouse is the best place for live music in Cardiff in my opinion. Spread across a large venue on multiple levels it’s a lovely place to grab something to eat and listen to chilled musicians during the day, but by night it turns into a hive of energy with the dance floor full every night. Check their website before you go as they always have great deals on food and drink that you can take advantage of.

Live Lounge had to be mentioned! Simply because it’s a rite of passage to go there at least once during your time in Cardiff and it’s the place to end your night. Open until 4am, people pour into this venue already completely intoxicated but that’s why it makes for such a great venue. Everyone is in such a good mood from their night out that everyone is just really friendly to each other. There is nothing pretentious about Live Lounge, quite the opposite actually; but the music and atmosphere can’t be beaten on a night out in Cardiff.

LL

Ieva & I at Live Lounge after Varsity 2013

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

 

   

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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Cosy Cake

Okay so I simply HAD to share this photo with you from my latest visit to Cosy Club!

Naturally I had a Lemon Drizzle Cake cocktail… Which tickled my taste buds as usual; but to accompany it I had a slice of Victoria Sponge cake and it was absolutely divine.

Airy in texture, the sponge was light but was well complemented by the velvety smooth buttercream and zingy jam in the middle to give it some real depth.

If you’ve not already been then you need to go!

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