Your Last Mouthful

Cardiff based food blog

Tag Archives: Cardiff

Hangfire Smokehouse- Good Food Doesn’t Have To Be Posh

Why have I waited so long to try Hangfire Smokehouse!

I’ve read the reviews, I’ve watched them trending on Twitter, I even used to live nearby when they were at The Canadian for goodness sake. Somehow though, every time we tried to go, something happened. Broken bones, baby making an early appearance, it was like we were cursed.

Finally, last week, we made it! We pulled up to the Lansdowne Pub at 7.30pm and the place was heaving! We didn’t think we’d get a seat but we were directed by a friendly cowboy to a perfect little table for two in the window.

I knew from that second that I was going to love it. Music was playing, people were chatting loudly, the Hangfire girls were making friends with everyone they passed and everyone was licking their fingers.

Now I love my fine dining but sometimes you can’t beat getting your hands in and getting covered in sauce. Good food doesn’t have to be posh and Hangfire Smokehouse certainly prove that. With their latest home currently at the Lansdowne Pub in Canton on a Thursday and Friday night, Hangfire Smokehouse have made a name for themselves with their authentic American BBQ pop up. After a 6 month stint in America, they have certainly picked up some BBQ knowledge and are producing some really exciting dishes.

After much debating (because we wanted everything) we opted for St Louis pork spares and 12 hour smoked beef brisket. Each meat came with 2 sides so we ordered all 4 between us; BBQ beans, maque choux fries, slaw and etouffee.

Despite the crowds the food arrived in 20 minutes delivered on a tray with the sides in cardboard pots. We both dug into the ribs and immediately wish we’d ordered extra. They were some of the best ribs I’ve ever had. So tender, the meat fell away from the bone and the flavouring was delicious. The accompanying sauces were good too but I prefer to taste the meat so I saved them for the chips.

Pork ribs

The Brisket was good too. We’d actually had brisket at home the night before and there was no comparison. It was just so tender served on Texas Toast which was greasy and garlicky.

brisket

We couldn’t leave without a slice of Pecan pie made by the talented Eira of Inner City Pickle. It was fantastic and at just £3.50, seriously good value.

Pecan pie

Hangfire Smokehouse was a hit with me as I fully expected it to be. I will most definitely be back. The Lansdowne is a great venue too, we were really impressed. Everyone was clearly loving what they were doing. It’s great to see people so excited and passionate about their food. There was a real buzz. I love a good casual dining experience with great food and that is exactly what Hangfire Smokehouse are doing. Fantastic!

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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.

My Homage to The Perfect Patisserie

So close to my idea of patisserie perfection, Cocorico’s take on a Religieuse is everything I want from a sweet treat. A French favourite of choux buns traditionally filled with creme patisserie and covered in chocolate ganache, has been transformed with delicious violet flavours.

Light choux pastry filled with smooth creamy floral creme patisserie topped with dried violets. Absolutely delicious. I’ve been begging for this to make a return for a long while and here it is. All I need now is the return of their pineapple and coconut tart and I will be very fat!

violet religieuse

Cardiff Hit List- March 2014

Having been off the scene for a while, what with having a baby and all, it appears I have a lot to catch up on. It’s great to see that Cardiff is still a viable place to start a new food business and the area seems to be thriving. James Sommerin obviously thinks so with his new restaurant The Esplanade set to open soon in Penarth. Very excited about that!

With so many new places and a few oldies that I still haven’t managed to get around to yet, I thought I’d put together a hit list so I have something to aim for.

In no particular order….

Hang Fire Smokehouse– I say ‘in no particular order’ but this is definitely at the top of my list and has been for ages. I know it isn’t new but every time I have planned to give it a try something has come up. I WILL be tasting Hang Fire Smokehouse as soon as possible.

Kimchi– I love Korean food so I’m really excited by the opening of this little restaurant on Cowbridge Road East. It has had some great reviews so far despite not even having a website.

The Discovery– The next installment in Knife and Fork Food’s little empire. The Discovery opens this week. I can’t make the opening but I hope to go along and check it out very soon.

Urban Tap House– A bar devoted to craft beer and burgers? Say no more.

Mission Burrito– Cardiff blogger Gourmet Gorro has got me excited about this one. It may be a chain but it’s a small one and burritos are definitely a welcome addition to the Cardiff lunch scene.

The Deck– Now this isn’t new and I can’t believe I still haven’t been! I reviewed Love Peace and Cupcake a while back but I haven’t been to The Deck since their take over and I really really must go!

I’d love to hear any recommendations you have too.

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.

Marriott Cardiff’s Zest Restaurant in Partnership With River Cottage

Zest, Cardiff

With the arrival of our little one last year, it’s been a while since Mr V and I have been out for a meal. I’ve observed the new partnership between Marriott Hotel and River Cottage with interest and enjoyed reading the reviews. I’ve been dying to try it out and now it’s our turn with an invitation for lunch at Zest Restaurant.

The unusual pairing is being piloted in two Marriott Hotels, one of which is Zest in Cardiff and if successful will be rolled out. Zest’s chefs have been trained at River Cottage and are creating dishes that use locally sourced ingredients and minimise waste. Menus change daily making the most of the produce available. The concept behind the restaurant really appeals to me and it is great to see a large chain taking on the River Cottage ethos.

Despite entering through the Marriott’s reception, once inside Zest we are pleasantly surprised by how un-hotel like it is. It’s welcoming, modern and casual with cosy booths or a more formal dining area. The only give away that we’re in a hotel is the very typical patterned carpet and air conditioning vents on the ceiling.

Arriving for lunch, we find out that we are the only diners. Zest currently only opens for evening service but as we have been invited as guests they have accommodated us without question. We are immediately brought freshly made bread as our waitress happily talks us through the menu and local producers which are proudly displayed on a chalk board behind us. Tick! Attentive staff and bread and water as standard. How it should be in our opinion. As we browse the menu we are already chatting excitedly about coming back before even tasting the food.

local suppliers, Zest, Cardiff

The menu is printed on paper because it changes so often mirroring the River Cottage ethos of sustainable cooking. Personally I love ever-changing menus because I always like to try something new. It keeps me coming back. There’s nothing on the menu that doesn’t appeal to me but we narrow our starters down to Marinated Rabbit Salad with pine nuts raisins and basil and Slade Farm Smoked Venison with winter leaves, horseradish creme fraiche and beetroot mousse. The descriptions of the dishes are kept simple and down to earth rather than pretentiously listing every ingredient which is all too common now.

Presentation, like the menu descriptions is appetising but without the pretence. Served chilled, the venison looks and tastes fantastic. The smoke is subtle and the mousse is delicate and creamy. Roasted garlic adds some texture.

Slade Farm Smoked Venison

The rabbit salad is fresh and nutty with a good balance of sweet and sharp.

Marinated Rabbit Salad

The mains are seasonal and heart warming. My choice is the Pork Loin Steak with sautéed potatoes, home cured bacon and leeks in a chestnut mushroom sauce. Everything is cooked perfectly and the sauce is rich, sweet and meaty. A lovely dish.

Pork Loin Steak

Mr V opts for the Beef Brisket with roasted Jerusalem artichokes, January King Cabbage, dressed in a mushroom jus. Marinated for 10 hours and then slow cooked for 10 hours the meat is stunning! A side order of honey glazed rainbow carrots is a nice accompaniment to both dishes.

Beef Brisket

Rounding off the meal we order desserts. I have had mine picked out from the beginning, I’m going for the rather unusual sounding Apple and Potato Pudding. It’s doughy pancake quality is filling but still light.

Apple and Potato Pudding

Mr V’s Sticky Date Pudding is moist and sweet as you would hope.

Sticky Date Pudding

Chatting to the chefs after our meal, it is clear that they are very enthusiastic about the partnership and relish the opportunity to have free reign on the dishes they create rather than being restrained by a corporate menu as they were previously. I love the concept and I think it could be very popular when it is rolled out. The only thing that I think might hold it back is the fact that it is so obviously based in a hotel. With so much choice when it comes to dining out, will people see a hotel restaurant as a contender?

Entering through the hotel’s main entrance isn’t ideal. Zest isn’t visible from the outside and I don’t like walking into somewhere I can’t see. It lacks an identity of its own which is a shame. It needs to become an establishment in itself rather than just part of a hotel. Park Plaza has achieved this with Laguna Bar and Restaurant and it has a solid reputation independent of the hotel.

If Zest can establish itself as a restaurant in its own right I think the partnership will go far. The concept is fashionable and ethical, the food is great and the price is right at on average £5.95 for a starter, £14 for a main and £5.50 for a dessert.

Feel Good February

Throughout the month of February, the very talented Baked By Mel will be giving away cake to a worthy cause nominated by you.

Starting today, via the Bakedbymel Facebook page, you are invited to like and share Mel’s status explaining Feel Good February and to reply underneath it with your nomination to receive a free cake.  Every Friday in February, Mel will randomly draw a name from the collected nominees and they will win! If they are local she will deliver, if not, they will receive a barabrith through the post.  You can continue to nominate throughout February, any day of the week, all names will be collected and one drawn every Friday.

Worthy causes can be anyone that you think deserves a cake in their life. Friends, family, strangers (providing you know their address!).

Head over the Mel’s Facebook page to make your nomination.

Feel Good February

A Classy Delivery from Teisen Deg

I love going out for afternoon tea, it is one of my favourite pastimes. I love everything about it; the cakes, the tea, the dinky sandwiches, the beautiful china and the pretension of it all (this is assuming it’s done right!). Something I’ve never done is have afternoon tea at home although I have been collecting the china in anticipation for a while now.

As far as I know, although offered elsewhere, afternoon tea delivery is new to Cardiff and is being pioneered by Jayne of Teisen Deg in partnership with Vintage Hope. I was asked to be the very eager guinea pig and sample tea for two with a love theme to celebrate St. Dwynwen’s Day (the Welsh equivalent to St. Valentine’s Day).

Afternoon Tea was delivered in a compact box containing everything we needed right down to sugar cubes for the tea! The food was individually wrapped with labels on each package describing the contents and the china was supplied in a retro picnic hamper. I had to assemble the vintage cake stand, unpack the food and boil a kettle to make the tea and voila! Afternoon tea for two in my living room.

I did have my reservations about creating the right atmosphere at home but the box of China I received was beautiful and came with some vintage style bunting which was a lovely touch and allowed me to make the room look really special. Vintage Hope gives 100% of the profits made from renting out china to Tiyamike Mulungu Children’s Home in Malawi.

I have reviewed Teisen Deg before. Jayne makes fantastic cakes. Her style is very traditional which is a perfect recipe for creating afternoon tea. On this occasion, because it was St. Dwynwen’s Day, everything bar the cheese muffins were cut into heart shapes; the sandwiches, Welsh cakes, scones and chocolate and raspberry brownies. The brownies were some of the nicest I’ve had.

Teisen Deg and Vintage Hope are looking to start offering delivery (or collection) of afternoon tea in time for Valentine’s Day in the Cardiff area. They are also offeringafternoon tea for parties of 6 or more. Maybe an idea for Mother’s Day or a hen party?

Despite not having the atmosphere I would have if I went out for afternoon tea, I was impressed because of the quality of what I received. The china was beautiful and the bunting made a big impact. The food was delicious and showed real attention to detail in terms of flavour and design.

Prices for Valentines Day Afternoon Tea start at £13 excluding delivery with the option of collecting and returning the china yourself for no extra charge. You are expected to wipe and repack the china after use.

The Flapjack Fairy’s Festive Fancies

I first met the Flapjack Fairy at a farmers market in Penarth. I was pregnant and suffering from terrible morning sickness and the Fairy’s flapjacks were one of the few things I actually wanted to eat so I bought a stock to keep me going.

In the run up to Christmas I was very pleased when a little parcel arrived with some festive editions to try; Christmas Spice, Christmas Fruity and Triple Chocolate. All were delicious, especially the two Christmassy varieties, packed full of flavours including cloves, cinnamon, brandy and cranberries. I was surprised how different each one tasted when you consider the ingredients of a flapjack.

Christmas Spice

The thing that sets these flapjacks aside from others I have tried is that they are so gooey and moist and incredibly sweet. They taste sensationally naughty and are not pretending they are a healthy option because they are largely made of oats. The Flapjack Fairy uses condensed milk which I think is key. It adds an extra stickiness and almost a creamy taste.

Since trying the Christmas flavours, the Flapjack Fairy has also added peanut butter flavour to her repertoire which I can confirm is also fantastic. Flapjacks are £1.50 each or 4 for £5 and are also available in a gift box.

Plea For Prizes For SCIPS Raffle

Many of you know from reading my previous post that I am taking a break from blogging until the new year because I have had a baby. You may also know that it was a very tough time for us because our little girl came 10 weeks early and spent 6 weeks in hospital in the Special Care Baby Unit at the University Wales Hospital Cardiff.

The staff at the unit were amazing and we owe them so much which is why I am writing this post. The unit has a charity called SCIPS (Special Care Infant and Parent Support Group) who raise money for the unit and to support the parents who have children there. They do some excellent work and are holding a charity raffle in December. We are looking for some prizes to help with the fund-raising.

If you are a business in Cardiff or further afield and would like to donate a prize we would be extremely grateful. I am happy to collect from you or you can deliver it directly yourself if you’d prefer. Similarly, if you would like to buy any raffle tickets you can do so through me. Tickets are 25p each or £2.50 for a book. I am happy to collect your money and deliver your tickets if you are in the Cardiff area.

Any help would be gratefully received as it is a charity that is very important to me.

 

Thanks in advance,

 

Nikki

scips

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