Your Last Mouthful

Cardiff based food blog

Category Archives: cafe reviews

KL Canalog- From Kuala Lumpur to Wellfield Road

KL Canolog deli

Wellfield Road is definitely the place to be if you are looking for a cafe or coffee shop. Endless options for cake, sandwiches and coffee but my favourite little place offers something quite different to the rest. Modest, understated and welcoming, KL Canolog is an Asian deli and Malaysian cafe serving up simple but delicious food.

It’s all very inviting with the deli at the front and a very homely cafe put together with simple furniture and artwork on the wall that you might find in your kitchen at home. The menu on offer matches the interior. Simple, home cooked Malaysian food. Nothing fancy, just very authentic and delicious.

I went for the Nasi Lemak with Beef Rendang because it’s something I had when I was in Malaysia a few years ago. It was just as I remembered, even down to the way it was presented. Beautiful soft meat served with rice, dried salty anchovies, peanuts and a boiled egg. At just £8.70 it was both cheap and filling.

KL Canolog

To accompany my lunch I had a mint tea and Mr V had a Kopi Tarik (a sweet and milky Malaysian coffee). The coffee was especially good.

Coming up to closing time, we thought we’d take away some cake. We opted for a coconut cake and a Pandan sponge. This was not before raiding the deli where I picked up some cardamom essence and my favourite Pocky.

I will definitely be going back to KL Canolog. The owners are so friendly and welcoming. We felt right at home. We were even given a recipe for a dish we tried in Indonesia. I definitely recommend it as an alternative to a Panini and coffee in one of its larger chain neighbours.

Advertisements

Munchesters – Another Triumpth for Anand George

,unch at Munchesters

With Purple Poppadom being a firm favourite of mine, I was very excited to hear about chef and owner Anand George’s new venture, coffee shop and lunch-time take away Munchesters.

Munchesters aims to bring gourmet food to food on the go. With lunch time options including deli wraps, fresh salads, soups and Kerala stews, they definitely stand out from neighbouring establishments in my opinion. The wraps are made with slow cooked meat steeped in Indian inspired flavours. I have tried a few on various occasions with my favourite being the Beef Island Paradise Wrap (slow cooked beef with coconut and red cabbage) which was so tender and flavoursome.

Beef Island Paradise Wrap

The salads are interesting and exciting with options like Beetroot Carnival (with spiced peanuts, orange and parsley). There are also daily soup options and sandwiches.

The coffee shop looks like a take away sandwich bar but you can eat in at one of the tables upstairs. There is a good selection of cakes and pastries and hot and cold drinks.

For me, with so many lunch time options Munchesters really stands out. Looking in from the street outside you could be forgiven for thinking it just another sandwich bar but it’s so much more than that. If you’re looking for lunch on the go, you will get more than your average choice of sandwich or salad. The prices are competitive too, especially for the quality on offer.

An Unwelcome Diner…

A few weeks ago we had a special visitor that we planned to take out for tea and cake. Unfortunately, not everyone was very welcoming when it came to letting him dine in their establishment. Well, he doesn’t wipe his feet and he wouldn’t have any issues taking food off your plate if it took his fancy so I can see he wouldn’t be everyone’s favourite dining partner. He also prefers to have his dinner on the floor which is a little unconventional.

This aside, I didn’t realise it would be quite so difficult to book somewhere. Asking around on Twitter, I was overwhelmed by responses from people telling me we needed to go to Hamptons in Penarth. Along with a quirky setting, delicious cakes and a friendly service, they also have a doggy dining area and offer furry diners a free doggychino.

While we tucked into our waffles and coffee, Oscar the dog enjoyed his doggychino and the attention he got from two legged diners passing by into the Blue Pelican Cafe.

I don’t have a dog but it was refreshing to know that if Oscar visits again we will still be able to go out for lunch and that he will be welcome. I think it’s a great idea and another reason to visit the fabulous Hampton when you’re in Penarth.

Oscar the dog

Christmas Afternoon Tea At Emma Jane’s

Readers of my blog will know that I love Emma Jane’s Cupcake Kitchen. Aside from the fabulous cupcakes, the decor is quirky and cute, it’s a cosy spot to meet friends and the lovely Emma Jane herself makes you feel welcome and valued.

afternoon tea2

If you love cupcakes, this is the obvious place to come for orders and to enjoy some cake in a gorgeous setting. However, it probably isn’t the first place you would think to come for Afternoon Tea. There are plenty of places in Cardiff offering Afternoon Tea and they all have their specialisms. Some are known for their tea, some for their bubbly and some have an envirnoment that screams out to be serving afternoon tea. Well, Emma Jane has the cake!

I’ve been to some perfectly nice Afternoon Teas where everything has been lovely but the cakes aren’t always homemade and for me this is pretty much essential. With Emma Jane’s Christmas Afternoon Tea, we got two cupcakes, delcious mince pies and gingerbread, all homemade.

When we arrived everything was prepared for us and we were asked to choose our cupcakes and our choice of tea. We chose a spicy Chrsitmas tea, a Gingerbread Cupcake and a Cranberry and Orange Cupcake. These were brought to us on a pretty three tier cake stand (also essential in my opinion).

The sandwich selection was excellent. No boring choices here. We enjoyed cranberry and brie, turkey and stuffing, ham and pickle, and cucumber. The sandwiches had their crusts removed in the traditional manner but they were packed full of filling.

We polished off the sandwiches in no time and moved onto the middle tier; mince pies and cream and gingerbread. The mince pies were warm and delicious. We had a huge pot of cream and we managed to eat it all, finishing it off by dipping our gingerbread in it which were also very good.

Lastly, it was the turn of the top tier; the cupcakes and chocolates. We were told that if we couldn’t eat everything we could take it away in a box but we powered on. The cakes were very good as I would expect based on Emma’s other cakes. I especially enjoyed the gingerbread cake.

afternoon tea

A lot of effort went into this Afternoon Tea. Everything was homemade and it was all served at the bargain prize of £8.50. If you love cake and you love afternoon tea, Emma Jane’s Cupcake Kitchen is your answer. If you’re not interested in Afternoon Tea then definitely pop in for a cake.

Pettigrew Tea Rooms- A Vintage Experience

I met David Le Masurier of Pettigrew Tea Rooms when he was first starting out on the hunt for the perfect premises and writing his hugely popular blog- I Want To Bake Free. David was massively inspiring and enthusiastic about quitting his day job to follow his dream and I couldn’t help but instantly like him and I got very excited about his plans.

David opened Pettigrew  Tea Rooms in March this year in the fantastic location of Bute Park and he has done an amazing job of turning the old gate house into the most divine little vintage tea rooms.

I have been a frequent visitor and while it has been hard to be an anonymous reviewer when David is always there working away, I have managed to visit on a very rare day off so I feel I can write a fair review taking into account of all my visits and experiences which have always been excellent.

David’s dream to create a vintage tearoom has certainly gone to plan and its traditional, elegant decor is in keeping with the old building. The arched windows work beautifully with the vintage theme as do the old clocks, china on display and original floor tiles. All the furniture has an antique feel and the vintage china crockery is just lovely! In fact, I get cup envy whenever I go in.

David has employed a great team although he rarely has a day off himself. Jackie is one to keep hold of.  She has an amazing ability to remember people and can always be seen chatting to customers and making them feel welcome. David’s baker is also worthy of a mention. 19 year old Manon works in the small kitchen upstairs producing cakes freshly made every day. She is certainly very talented for her age.

On this particular visit I was with Mr V although I often visit with Mrs J or other female friends so we can coo over the china cups and vintage decor. We sat outside as unusual for this summer, it wasn’t raining!

We ordered from the extensive tea menu and had beef and horseradish sandwiches and an almond and chocolate cake. The sandwiches were served (on the beautiful china) with crisps and a salad garnish. They are cut into triangles as you would expect in a vintage tea room. At £4.95, these aren’t the cheapest sandwiches in town but you are paying for the vintage experience and the beautiful surroundings which makes it more than worth it for me.

Many of Manna’s cakes are gluten-free as was the Chocolate and almond cake that we ordered, although you wouldn’t know it. It was moist and sticky, rich and delicious! The cakes change all the time too so there is always plenty of choice and new ones to try.

The tea at Pettigrew Tea Rooms is very exciting to me. On this occasion, I had Angel Peach and Mr V had Lapsang Souchong. Both were lovely but I especially enjoyed mine as it smelt amazing and was so fresh and fruity. I think I’ve tried almost all of the teas now and my favourite is the White Peony and Pink Rosebuds which has the most lovely armour and floral flavour.

All in all, I think you can tell I’m a fan. Sometimes it is about the experience and this is what you will get at Pettigrew. If you want a big baguette for a quick lunch, this might not be for you but if you are looking for an elegant experience in a gorgeous setting with attentive staff and vintage china, this is just what you’re looking for.

My Last Mouthful was: The White Peony and Pink Rosebud tea

Service-

Atmosphere and Decor-

Quality of food-

Diversity of menu-

Value for money-

Overall rating- 

Kemi’s Cafe- That is some salad!

Just before Easter, Mrs J and I went along to Kemi’s Cafe in Cardiff Bay for a spot of lunch. When I think of The Bay for food, I picture drinks and dinner. For lunch it isn’t really on my radar but Kemi’s cafe altered that opinion somewhat.

It was a nice day and when we approached there were tables and chairs outside. It looked like a nice place to sit if you could ignore the traffic as it meant you had a view through the fountains onto the spectacular Millenium Centre. As it was a bit blowy we decided to take a seat inside.

The first thing you see when you walk through the door is a very welcoming counter packed full of lunch time treats! From fully loaded quiche to tapas to delicious looking cakes, we couldn’t help but get excited. There was lots to choose from but I had been recommended the salad feast so I went for that while Mrs J went for Glamorgan sausages with a side salad.

We were given a spoon with a number on it, directed to the cold drinks cabinet and then made our way upstairs to find a seat. It was very nice upstairs with simple, casual decor. With leaflet displays and orange stackable chairs, it had a community centre feel. Tables had quirky Easter themed spoon holders which looked handmade and there was even a stack of toys for little ones. The decor may have been simple but when you look out of the huge glass windows, it all becomes irrelevant anyway. The view of the fountains and Millenium Centre makes it an excellent location.

As we eyed up the plates of the diners next to us, our food was brought to us quickly despite the fact that it was very busy for a Monday afternoon, almost full in fact. The food certainly looked the part and we eagerly dug in.

Mrs. J enjoyed her Glamorgan sausages. They were warm and soft and full of flavour. She was particularly impressed with her side salad as it wasn’t your usual collection of leaves. It was a salad of mange tout, red peppers, tomato and lettuce. For £4, this seemed a little pricey at first but when you think how much you pay for a take away sandwich, it was actually pretty good value.

My Salad Feast was excellent value! I had the small option for £4.50 and it was huge! It was no ordinary salad either. It was a combination of lots of things but they all went together nicely. It was very varied and included cous cous, rice salad, sweet potato wedges, potato salad, bean salad and even a fig salad among other things. I really enjoyed it. There was no mayonnaise in any of the components either so it was very healthy too.

As lunch spots go, I was very impressed with Kemi’s. If I am in the Bay for lunch again, I will definitely head back. It is in the same building as Crafts in the Bay so when you’ve finished eating you can have a wander around the gallery too.

My Last Mouthful was: The Salad Feast

Service-

Atmosphere and Decor-

Quality of food-

Diversity of menu-

Value for money-

Overall rating- 

For more reviews, competitions, foodie news and a directory of the best places to eat in Cardiff and the surrounding area, please see my website.

Fusion Cafe Bar- Sunday Roasts like Mum makes!

Following a recent invitation to lunch at Fusion Cafe we were invited back a second time so we decided to try out the Sunday lunches as they are Fusion’s speciality and have become quiet popular.

I really like Fusion Cafe. The decor is quirky with mis-matched chairs, tables varying in size and some great arty features like a light made out of many bulbs tied together and a colourful paper-mache stag head wall mount. Drinks lists are tastefully painted onto the wall above the bar and there is more graffiti style writing leading you to the toilets. I think the decor would really appeal to my female friends but Fusion are also keen to increase their male visitors as currently girls do seem to dominate. While we were there, Mr. V was the only man but I found this strangely refreshing and he certainly didn’t seem to mind.

On a Sunday, Fusion have a different menu than that of the rest of the week. They serve three courses and there is a fair amount of choice but for the main you can only have a roast dinner, although there was a choice of three when we were there including a vegetarian option. On my previous visit we had lunch on a Saturday which was more of a lunch menu of light bites. I had a duck wrap and my friend had a rather tasty vegetarian burger. The menu has since changed as Fusion have branched into evening menus which look very good.

Anyway, back to the Sunday Roast! I can honestly say, this was the best Sunday lunch I have had in a long time. I am a Sunday roast fiend but Mr V finds them a bit on the dull side so I wasn’t expecting much enthusiasm from him but he wouldn’t shut up about it! He said it was the best Sunday Roast he has had in Cardiff (and them promptly added ‘apart from yours’. I have him well-trained…).

I had the beef option and Mr V had the chicken. I chose the beef as I wanted to try the horse radish sauce which I had heard was handmade. We were delivered two plates of well presented yet still homely looking, roast dinners with a large selection of vegetables, a generous helping of meat and homemade gravy. I particularly enjoyed the vegetables. We had braised red cabbage (I’ve developed a liking for this recently), honied carrots, parsnips and broccoli.

Something that pleased me was that I had a decent portion of potatoes and they were all roasties. I get very upset when I order a roast dinner and I am presented with boiled potatoes or mash. The yorkshire puddings were hand-made and as they should be and the horse radish sauce was certainly a welcome addition to the meal. Very nice indeed.

We were full from our dinner but the waitress tempted us with dessert. On my previous visit, desserts were bought in and I wasn’t overly impressed but they are now hand-made by the chef and are far nicer. I went for the lemon posset. I had made one when friends came to dinner so I wanted to see how it compared to mine. I have to admit that it put mine to shame. It was creamy and zesty and even came with homemade shortbread biscuits.

Mr V had a pear and almond tart which was also very nice. It was crumbly, sticky and sweet and a real home cooked favourite. At under £5 for a dessert and under £10 for the roast dinner, I think Fusion is extremely good value. For the prices they charge, you could easily be served up boil in a bag style Sunday Roasts somewhere else.

I’d also like to comment on the service. It’s rare that service is bad but for a cafe bar like Fusion which could really be the type of place you order at the bar, service is excellent. On both visits I was served by the same waitress and she was a credit to Fusion. She was friendly and chatty but also very professional and eager to please. As well as great table service, it was the little things that we noticed. When she saw us squinting at the desserts board, she picked it up and brought it over for us. When our drinks were running low, she offered us more and when we declined, she brought us glasses of water in case we became thirsty while eating dessert.

I really like Fusion. For a Sunday Roast it is an excellent option and an excellent price. I’m looking forward to trying out their evening menu too.

My Last Mouthful was: A crispy roast potato with home-made gravy

Service-

Atmosphere and decor-

Quality of food-

Diversity of menu-

Value for money-

Overall rating-

Boulders Cafe- Recharge after a good climb

Recently, we were asked to review Boulder’s Cafe located inside Boulder’s Climbing Centre in Pengam Green. We work with all food businesses and we are asked to review many cafes but I was quite surprised with this request. For one I didn’t know they had a cafe and two, it seems an unlikely place to go for food unless you are already there climbing but nevertheless, we went along to find out.

I had never been to Boulder’s before so I wasn’t sure what to expect. I imagined that the cafe would be quite separate to the climbing area, maybe with a window or platform that you could view the walls from, however, they were very much hand in hand.

The cafe area is large but it doubles up to be an area that climbers use to get changed and wait in for their turn on the wall. It seemed very social and full of people but it was quite difficult to find somewhere to sit that wasn’t dominated by people putting equipment on.

We did manage to find a seat and quickly reserved it with our coats while we went to the display counter to choose some food. Boulder’s are obviously making an effort with their food and I’m sure they do great business from climbers and spectators. The food looked good and there were a range of choices from baguettes, pasties and pizzas to more substantial meals and a nice range of cakes and sweet treats.

Mr V and I decided to taste the meal options. I had the Spanish stew with chorizo and cous cous and Mr V had a tomato and pasta bake with salad and tortilla chips. Both were £3.95 which we thought was very reasonable. To accompany our meals we both had a coffee.

Service was what you would expect. People ordered at the counter and waited for their food and then helped themselves to condiments including milk and sugar for drinks. However, as we had ordered hot meals, they were brought over to us. Staff were friendly and efficient but the cutlery needed a bit of a wipe over.

The meals were well thought out but I would be tempted to go for a sandwich next time because the meals obviously needed to be heated for each person and mine was hot in places but cold in the middle. The sandwiches looked good with some interesting fillings and there was also an extensive list of smoothies on offer. I wouldn’t advise people to come here just for the food but if you are at Boulders climbing, you have the added bonus of a nice cafe with a greater range of food than you might expect.

I can’t give Boulder’s a green spoon overall because of the categories we use to rate. I wouldn’t choose to visit Boulder’s for a meal unless I was climbing but the cafe is appropriate for the environment. If you are a climber or with someone who is climbing, it’s a good option but the food will always be secondary as the primary reason people come here is to climb. In my opinion it would also be better if the cafe area was further removed from the climbing area as trying to eat with people standing all around you putting on climbing gear is not pleasant. However, if you are also there to climb, this may be less of an issue.

My last mouthful was: The Spanish stew with chorizo and cous cous

Service-

Atmosphere and decor-

Quality of food-

Diversity of menu-

Value for money-

Overall rating- 

For further reviews as well as exclusive deals, news and events, please see www.yourlastmouthful.com

Cocorico Patisserie – Vive La France

Guest review by Mr. V

We arrived at this little gem, which sits on Whitchurch Road in Heath, at lunch time last Friday. We entered and in front of us were glass display counters of French cakes, savoury pastries, fruit and a collection of large colourful meringues.

The light interior had the standard fair of café style tables, chairs, soft benches and a breakfast bar, with people reading newspapers and filling in crosswords created a very relaxed atmosphere to while away the hours. Blackboards displaying the choice of sandwiches and drinks, freshly made bread behind the counter and rustic French signs hanging on the wall giving it the French patisserie feel.

The clientele of the café was a mixture which shows it caters for all. The pleasant atmosphere is also welcoming to anyone – whether you’re with someone or by yourself.

I was with my friend Mr B who lives just around the corner from Cocorico and comes here every Saturday morning to get a freshly baked loaf of bread. We discovered later that everything is handmade and baked by the friendly, French owner – even the bread for the sandwiches – which shows the dedication and passion he has for his business. The tea we both ordered was served in small tea pots with loose leaf tea.

We made up our minds and placed our order with the friendly waitress at the counter.
I went for a black forest ham, avocado and sun-dried tomato sandwich in a brown crusty roll. The bread was lovely and soft and a very good combination of ingredients (£3.50).

Mr B went for the Cocorico Club sandwich which had chicken, chorizo and salad on white soft, fluffy bread (£4.95). He gave it the definite thumbs up. He also went for a leek and cheese quiche which was also very nice, well made pastry and a nice warm and soft leeky, cheesy filling.

Right, onto the cakes. The cakes look fantastic and it took a while to choose. Mr B went for the orange and cinnamon cake which was soft and mousse like and a nice combination of flavours.

I went for the pineapple and coconut cake. It looked the business and the taste was even better. A French tart covered in a hard yellow icing containing a sweet, soft, cakey, crumbly explosion of pineapple and coconut with small chunks of pineapple and coconut shavings. Mr B decided to talk to me while I ate this cake but I have no idea what he was saying. C’etait Magnifique!

The prices of the cakes ranged from £1.60 to £3.20 which for the high standard is very good. In fact I took Mrs V back there the next day and bought a lemongrass, basil and lime meringue tart, a sweet chestnut cheesecake and a raspberry chibouste which put us both in a good mood for the rest of the day.

Overall, this is an excellent place to sit a while and have a good tea or coffee and have a quality bite to eat, or just pop in and take away cakes or freshly baked bread.

My Last Mouthful was: The pineapple and coconut cake

Service-

Atmosphere and decor-

Quality of food-

Diversity of menu-

Value for money-

Overall rating-

Emma Jane’s Cupcake Kitchen- Cupcake heaven!

I’d heard a few rumours about some good things happening in Emma Jane’s Cupcake Kitchen so when she opened up her premises on Crwys Road last October, I observed with interest and I was very pleased to be invited down to try what was on offer.

I’ve driven past Emma Jane’s Cupcake Kitchen on many occasions and the first thing I noticed other than the eye catching shop banner was the window display. Just in time for valentines day, Emma has some examples of where her talent lies. Beautiful cupcake bouquets and heart shaped displays.

I’d chosen a quiet day to visit but when I entered both Emma and her husband Lee appeared at the counter and happily chatted about the cakes on offer, talking me through the flavours available and telling me that they changed daily. Emma designs her cakes and makes up the recipes herself and she has quite a collection! I chose a coconut and raspberry cake and a gingerbread latte and headed to the window seat at the front of the shop.

I am quite excited about this place because it’s right up my street! It’s beautifully decorated with clean white walls and laminate flooring which is a great backdrop to all the quirky cake related decorations, canvasses on the walls and cute cushions. The tables are white and vintage chairs are painted baby blue and baby pink. The fuschia wall behind the counter adds some colour and creates a nice contrast to the white.

For me, atmosphere and decoration are very important and Emma Jane’s Cupcake Kitchen is simply lovely. If I had my way, it’s probably how my kitchen would look. I think that it could be easy to get the decor of a cupcake shop very wrong but they have got it spot on in my opinion.  Music was playing at a nice level and they have free wi-fi. It’s the kind of place I could happily sit for hours with my lap top writing up my reviews, except I would probably get very distracted because Emma and Lee were just so lovely to talk to. Emma wasn’t going to add the addition of a seating area, just a shop for orders originally but I’m glad she changed her mind.

So what did the cakes taste like?

There are lots of cupcake makers around and they really do vary in quality but I’m happy to say that these cakes were very good indeed! At £2 per cake, they are a good size. There is always a ‘cupcake of the day’ which is priced at £1.50 and you can get a box of 6 for £10! I tried 5 of the cakes on offer (not all at once…I took some home with me!) and here is my verdict.

Coconut and Raspberry

This one was my favourite. I love coconut and the combination of coconut and raspberry was a good one. The coconut flakes ran through the sponge and through the icing which was also rippled with raspberry. The raspberry was a subtle flavour but it wasn’t overpowered by the coconut at all like I thought it might be. The sponge was moist and the icing was deliciously soft and fluffy but still kept its shape.

Lemon and Blueberry

I thought this was quiet an unusual flavour for a cupcake so I thought I’d give it a try. Like all the cakes, the sponge was moist and the icing was soft and creamy. It was decorated with a real blueberry and a lemon slice sweet. It was very nice but for me, I would have liked to have tasted a bit more blueberry as it was a very subtle flavour against the lemon.

Cherry bakewell

Wow! This tasted exactly like a cherry bakewell. The moist almond sponge had jam running through it and was topped with an almond flavour icing and decorated with almond flakes and a cherry. Ingenious!

Chocolate and Gluten free chocolate

Emma has a chocolate cupcake on offer every day and has a gluten free offering on a Wednesday and a Saturday. I was keen to try the gluten free cake and Lee suggested I try a non gluten free one too to see if I could tell the difference. Although I’ve had some very nice gluten free cakes, they often have a powdery texture that is common in a lot of baked gluten free products but I have to say, it was very difficult to tell these two apart. When we tried each cake without the icing, there was a difference but it was so minimal that with a bite including the icing, it was very difficult to tell and had I not been told that one was gluten free, I would never have known.

Emma is clearly very creative with both her designs and her flavours. She takes orders for weddings, birthdays and events and makes some lovely pieces included cupcake bouquets which were only £20 for a small one containing 9 cakes. I think these will be a great seller at valentines day especially.

Emma Jane’s Cupcake Kitchen has really appealed to me and I will definitely go back. With so many cupcake lovers and a good location, I think this place will do well. With a good selection of drinks and other sweet treats on offer alongside the cupcakes, I think it will appeal to a wider audience than if it was purely cupcakes. I am a fan!

My last mouthful was: The coconut and raspberry cupcake

Service-

Atmosphere and decor-

Quality of food-

Diversity of menu-

Value for money-

Overall rating-

%d bloggers like this: