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!

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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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Summer Has Arrived at Marks & Spencer

Last week, Marks & Spencer sent me some goodies from their new Summer Range and oh my, they didn’t disappoint.

I indulged in the tapas selection in one sitting… Spanish Meatballs, Chorizo & Cheese empanadas and Garlic Mushrooms.

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*Spoiler* All of the Summer Tapas range is 3 for £6 until the 20th May

My only mistake was not checking the packaging first, both the mushrooms and meatballs can be quickly heated up the microwave in a minute each, however the empanadas needed 12 minutes in the oven, not a very long wait but next time I would just do the oven ones first so it’s all ready at once.

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The mushrooms were fairly salty but that’s kind of how I like them, with huge chunks of roasted garlic all over them I was in a sort of mushroom-heaven. The meatballs had a gorgeous tomato sauce on them and their texture was soft, but they didn’t fall apart when you put your fork into them. The empanadas were the real highlight… oozing soft, gooey cheese and then you get the salty, spicy chorizo which works really well with the buttery pastry.

Next up…Dessert!

I was lucky enough to be given two different ones to try… A Coconut Milk dessert with a Pineapple & Chilli salsa and also a Milk Chocolate & Salted Caramel Dulce de Leche dessert

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I LOVED the Coconut dessert! It was soft, creamy and mixed with the pineapple beautifully. I can’t begin to describe how utterly delicious this was, it was like eating a fluffy cloud and then adding a layer of citrusy gold to it. The chilli salsa was great for flavour but the texture of it really was like salsa and the chunks were just too big for a dessert that small, in my opinion.

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The milk chocolate & dulce de leche was a weird texture. It was kind of like a sponge cake, but a really wet sponge cake, like a moist, chocolatey sponge cake…but not a sponge cake! It had a crunchy salted caramel layer running through it too which I could have quite easily eaten on its own. It was rather rich though, and like an idiot I ate both so as you can imagine I was going into dessert-overload at this point.

Overall, I’d give this Summer Range a 9 out of 10!

Get yourself down to Marks & Spencer in St David’s Shopping Centre and grab some ready for the Bank Holiday!

Hit or Miss: Five Guys

I recently visited the brand new branch of Five Guys in Reading and if I’m being brutally honest I’m not sure whether It lived up to the hype that had been building from everything I’d heard.

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Let’s start with the good…The best bit of my whole visit was being served by Hollie…Or Holly, sorry if I’ve spelt it wrong…She went out of her way to help me when I had lots of bags and after having a bit of a bad day her cheery disposition really perked me up!

Now the brand does offer some great and unusual choices of burger toppings… grilled mushrooms, green peppers, fresh (i.e., spicy) jalapenos and the usual onions and pickles. You can also choose to have your burger “All The Way” which is with every topping…I highly recommend this for the full Five Guys experience!

The fries were great: thick-cut so they’re still fluffy and potato-y on the inside. The location is slightly out of the way of the main shopping centre area so you would need to know it’s there, but it’s a good addition to the centre, after we waved goodbye to the miserable Pontis cafe that used to be there.

The high-tech drinks dispensers are a joy… they make it possible to have all kinds of different drinks from one machine, which sounds like every other drinks machine but trust me…It’s much more fun!

Now for the bad… I was originally tempted in by a promo girl handing out leaflets, who told me that it was “real fast food!, So fast it only takes 2 minutes”…I was sold! Although 10 minutes later I was still waiting for my burger and a bit annoyed as I’d booked a taxi to pick me up which had already rung me once to see where I was…Luckily they agreed to wait.

Now for the ugly… In the 10 minutes that I stood waiting for my food, 4 members of staff were served theirs. Now don’t get me wrong, I think it’s great that they are able to eat there for their lunch and they probably get a lovely staff discount…But I’m the customer…I’m paying for a service which I’m not receiving because the staff are too busy serving the other staff. Normally I wouldn’t mind, but bearing in mind I’d already been lied to about the waiting time and the fact that there were close to 15 people ‘on duty’ in the kitchen at one point just really agitated me!

What made it so much worse, was that there was a member of staff stood next to the kitchen, chugging down a jumbo coca cola, who by his accent, telling everyone what they were doing wrong and just his general demeanour, I assumed to be someone who’s come over to the UK to “show us Brits how it’s done”…There is never an excuse for poor customer service…ever… and this guy clearly should have been leading the way!

I would return, purely for the food, not the service…unless of course I can manage to get the fabulous Hollie again!

Let’s Get Cosy!

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 started with the Vegetarian & Cheese sharing platter, this included all of our favourites such as baked brie, olives and pâté. 

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We also had some cheesy garlic bread on the side which is the best I’ve ever tasted.

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We opted for tapas for our mains, both going for the crispy, cheese-coated potatoes and the pan-fried mushrooms in a fiery peppercorn sauce.

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My third plate was the red wine infused chorizo and Jack had the mini fish fingers with freshly made tartar sauce.

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

I chose the lemon posset which came with crystallized lemon and a lemon curd shortbread…nom nom nom!!

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 Jack chose the raspberry crème brulée, stunning to look at with the glass-like topping and once broken into there was the surprise of Chambord-soaked raspberries inside.

After feeling suitably stuffed we made our way home, but not before saying goodbye to the evening’s host Amy 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!

Lunch at Kemis

Myself and the man were fairly peckish so thought we’d give this a go for lunch the other day and I’m glad we did. Great food prepared to order and a nice varied menu with plenty of healthy options.

The cafe has a small seating ‘bar’ downstairs, and a really spacious seating area upstairs with great views over to the Millennium theatre.

I had a sweet potato and mango chutney with accompanying salad which was rather tomato-heavy. The fella had a salad with coronation chicken which included aubergine, sweet potato, onion, beetroot and lots more! Both dishes were spot on. For drinks we had elderflower sparkling water and a can of Sprite.

Lunch was a little on the pricey side, we both paid with a £10 note and only got small coins back, but you do get good quality ingredients and flavours.

If you are in Cardiff Bay and want somewhere good to eat and drink, give it a try!

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Brunch at Giraffe

Visiting my mum for the weekend, I wanted to treat her to a nice breakfast so we headed in to town and spotted Giraffe. I’ve only ever been to the one in Reading for dinner but that was a great experience so thought breakfast would be just as amazing!

We had a warm welcome when we arrived, and the waiter said we could choose where we wanted to sit as it wasn’t busy which was a nice option.
For some reason neither of us gelled with the waiter; most likely down to the fact that we hadn’t even sat down before he came over and asked us what we would like to order. I asked if we could have a few minutes to think to which he rolled his eyes and muttered something in another language and then said he would come back…not a great start.

When he came back 5 minutes later we ordered our drinks, the ‘Coconutty Iced Coffee’ which is flavoured with chocolate and coconut and garnished with a sprig of mint…this most definitely hit the spot first thing in the morning. Light and refreshing, it zipped just the right amount of caffeine through our veins to allow us to function like normal people…unlike most of Reading at 9am on a Monday morning… which is usually like a scene from Shaun of the Dead!

We both chose breakfasts we’d not had before. Mum ordered poached eggs with crispy bacon and flat mushrooms- The portions were a little on the small side, especially for the overly large plate it was presented on but it was cooked to perfection.

I opted for the regular breakfast but for a bit of Mexican flair I opted to have avocado and chorizo added in. You can see from the photos how much there was of each. The avocado alone I was charged an extra £1.30 for…That’s more than a pack of 4 avocados in most local supermarkets
Now before you criticise me for not bringing it to their attention, they never came & checked back with us during our breakfast that everything was okay. They didn’t even ask when clearing our plates.

This branch clearly needs a bit of refresher training in how to treat customers – my pet hate is going somewhere where the chefs are clearly the stars yet people don’t go back because of the rude waiting staff who just don’t want to be there. My compliments really do go to the chefs as the food was cooked and presented exquisitely.

Overall this place did the job… just about.
I’ve been to a fair few other branches of Giraffe and they’ve all been great – this one clearly doesn’t have the team with the right pizazz, so I won’t be returning in a hurry.

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Breakfast at Bills

I’ve been meaning to go back to Bill’s in Reading for a while, but every time I was home I would look in at the windows and it was packed full, so this time we decided to go on an early Sunday morning and were lucky that it was quiet and almost empty.

We were very warmly greeted on arrival and given a choice of tables which I always like to have. It was such lovely weather that we chose to sit outside. All of the staff were consistently friendly and attentive, but not overly so.

My friend chose the breakfast which consisted of Cumberland sausage, smoked streaky bacon, fried egg, mushrooms, toast and he asked for the egg to be replaced by extra bacon which they were happy to accommodate.

I opted for the Eggs Royale…a personal breakfast favourite!…which was presented in an almost ornamental way, *I didn’t really appreciate the pumpkin seeds sprinkled on top*, but nevertheless it was cooked beautifully with fresh smoked salmon all on a lightly toasted muffin.

Bill’s has a lovely informal, slightly bohemian atmosphere with a stripped-down interior, a mixture of furniture and features with a great menu. The breakfasts are lush and this place is very popular no matter what time of day so you might have a short wait. In the evening, the atmosphere is more laid back and candle-lit. A really pleasant, friendly, modern place to eat and catch up with friends.

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