Your Last Mouthful

Cardiff based food blog

Tag Archives: pub

The Pilot- The Perfect Local Pub

With The New Conway and Woods already established and popular with Cardiff diners, Knife and Fork Food’s new venture, The Pilot has shown itself to be a welcome addition.

Located in a residential area of Penarth with great views of the harbour, it is the local pub I wish I had. Although I like a rustic theme, I am getting a bit bored with the amount of new pubs and restaurants that are attempting it. The Pilot is not rustic and is not pretending to be. It’s modern, clean-cut and homely with a vintage feel.

The main dining area has tables arranged in straight lines with comfy leather sofas in the centre of the room. Combined with mismatched picture frames, vintage style lamps and a cosy wood burner, it has the feel of being in someone’s living room, albeit a full living room.

The menus are displayed on boards and you order at the bar so it is all very informal and definitely more public house than restaurant. When we were there the menu was substantial and it changes with the season. They use local suppliers, forage and even use produce from some of their staff’s allotment.

We found a table for two on a surprisingly busy Monday night. I love the layout of the place but the tables were awfully close together. Mr V and I are relatively little but had we been any bigger, it would have been a bit of a squeeze to get to our seats without getting a little too cosy with our neighbouring diners. This was pretty trivial though in the grand scheme of things.

To start, Mr V ordered Confit of Duck Ragout with white bean puree and I had Smoked Haddock with Bacon Croquettes. Our orders arrived very quickly, no longer than a 5 minute wait which was almost a bit too quick. My croquettes were crispy on the outside and soft and creamy inside as I’d expect and were a bargain at just £4.50. Ben’s rague was nicely presented with nice textures and colours and decorated with micro cress.

Again there was a very short wait and our mains arrived in 10 minutes. I chose Lamb Rump with Roasted Carrots, Mash and Peas with a Mint Dressing. The lamb was well cooked, medium as described and the vegetables were crisp. The mint dressing was actually a mint gravy but that suited me. The weather had just started to get chilly and I had the winter blues so it was the perfect homely pick me up.

Mr V chose the Grey Mullet with Chorizo and Tomato Ragout. The fish was a good size and well cooked. The ragout wasn’t outstanding, just tomato and roast potatoes but it was exactly as described.

Usually it isn’t an issue if food takes too long but the Pilot was the opposite. If anything the food came too quickly. We had finished our first two courses in half an hour which made the evening go far to quickly but this was my only complaint and I appreciate this would not be a negative for everyone.

For dessert we went back to the chalk boards. There was a very good selection and while dessert is my least favourite course, I was excited by the prospect. I chose the Banana Parfait with Caramelised Peanuts and  Mr V had the Chocolate Torte with Salted Caramel and Chantelle cream. We shared in the end because we both got jealous of each other’s choice.

The Torte was lovely. Rich and bitter and was complimented beautifully by the salted caramel which was artistically arranged in droplets on the plate. The only downside is that I would have liked more salted caramel.

The banana parfait was good although the peanuts were more sticky clusters than caramelised but nice all the same.

I really enjoyed my evening at the Pilot. It was nice to eat good, honest pub food done well and that’s exactly what it is. It isn’t pretending to be a bistro, the food is simple and reflective of a pub menu. On our visit the prices were competitive at £4.50-£5.50 for starters and £9- £13.50 for mains which puts it in the same price bracket as a far less superior establishment. The menu was fresh and original but still included pub food favourites like bangers and mash and fish and chips.

My Last Mouthful was: Lamb Rump with Roasted Carrots, Mash and Peas with a Mint Dressing

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The Kings Arms in Pentyrch – The Otley Brewery’s got Brains…

The Kings Arms has just opened in Pentyrch. The Brains owned newly restored grade II listed building is being run by The Otley Brewery Company and is serving up some good food and their own award winning beers. We were invited along for the launch to try some of the beers on offer and for a BBQ as the start of the weekend’s Beer Festival.

 

Photo by Golley Slater


The cosy welcoming pub is very attractive from the outside and this continues as you enter. With many original features, a roaring fire and simple but stylish furniture, the 1700 pub has been brought up to date and looks the part. The menu looks great and where possible the ingredients are sourced locally. The Kings Arms is very much along the same lines as Nick Otley’s thriving pub, The Bunch of Grapes in Pontypridd.

 

photo by Golley Slater


I’ll confess I’m not a beer drinker but I did enjoy some of the beers we sampled. I found the Otley’s Thai-Bo, made with the same spices you would find in a Thai green curry a very interesting concept and very enjoyable. There were also some beers from Brains to sample including one named All at Sea from their new craft brewery. On the food side, the BBQ was excellent with a choice of lamb stuffed with black pudding and rosemary, pork, poussin, steak, red snapper, mackerel to name just a few.

I think that a partnership between Brains and Otley can only be a good thing and I wish them every success on their venture. I am looking forward to visiting again and sampling some food from the menu.

A bite to eat with the Brains ladies!

A few weeks ago, I was invited to meet the marketing and PR ladies from Brains for a bite to eat in their new town centre establishment, Greenwood and Brown. I was unfortunate enough to miss the grand opening so I was pleased to get a second chance and an opportunity to sample some of the food on offer.

I was very impressed when I walked in. It was nothing like I was expecting and if I hadn’t been told it was a Brains establishment, I would never have guessed. The layout was very up market and much more like a restaurant than a pub. In fact, although you can go in for a drink, they don’t serve beer on tap, only in bottles. It is much more geared towards eating than drinking.

The Brains ladies busied themselves ordering lots of food from the menu for us to try which I am certainly not going to complain about! They were very passionate about the concept they were trying to achieve and keen to show off the menu which is currently unique to the Greenwood and Brown.

I learnt a lot about Brains in those few hours (and ate a lot!). They are really trying to make more of the food they offer. While many Brains pubs will stay geared towards drinkers, others are being used to showcase the ever expanding and improving menu that development chefs are working on. Many Brains establishments use the same menus which they are able to select dishes from but some of the more ‘foodie’ places like the Greenwood and Brown have a menu developed especially for them which I was very interested to learn.

I have to say the food was good and it is competitive. With a lunch menu at a fixed price of £7 and a general menu too ranging from £2.25 for bar snacks to £19 for a steak, there is lots to choose from. There are also daily steak specials and all ingredients are locally sourced where possible.

We tucked into sandwiches, steak, risotto, mussels, chips, pork scratchings, and olives. Just as I thought I couldn’t possibly eat any more, dessert was ordered. We had what is called a ‘dollar dessert’ which meant we had a pounds worth of each dessert usually priced at around £5 for a whole one. I think it’s a brilliant concept and we certainly got a fair amount for the money. It looked great too.

Until my meeting with the Brains ladies, I have to say, I never would have been that quick to pair Brains with good food. Many of the Brains pubs I have visited have been great for a drink but left me a little disappointed on the food front. Is this all about to change? With lots of refurbs going on, are Brains going to be able to make enough of their food to put them up there with some of the better restaurants in Cardiff. I’d certainly be more than happy to review some to find out.

What do you think? I’d be interested to know your opinions on this….

More more posts, foodie news and competitions, please visit my website- http://www.yourlastmouthful.com

The Promised Land- Great food and drink in one!

As we approached the city centre, the streets were deserted! It was blowing a gale and as we battled against the wind we wondered if we’d made a mistake going out for a meal on the first day after the new Year Bank Holiday in such horrendous weather. We were surely in for a quiet night.

We pushed open the door to The Promised Land and we were surprised to see that it was actually quite busy. I think the few brave folk who had actually ventured outside were in fact all in The Promised Land! There were four tables occupied with diners and a large group of drinkers by the door. The atmosphere was very relaxed and welcoming.

We were shown to a table and offered drinks while we looked through the menu. We were impressed with the service throughout. Staff were friendly and attentive and able to answer questions we had about the menu.

We really liked the decor too. The theme was rustic with wooden tables and chalk boards but it had a bit of a twist with framed pictures of musicians and bands past and present. In fact, we shared our dining experience with John Lennon who was peering down at me from the wall on my right. Spotlighting created a nice atmosphere and the music was just the right volume. The tunes matched the pictures and during our visit we were taken on an Indie tour of the 1990’s!

Feeling rather bloated after the Christmas break, we decided to share a starter of West Coast Whitebait. For £4.95 we got a good portion, nicely presented with a side salad and a little pot of Tar Tar Sauce. The fish was nicely cooked, lightly fried in breadcrumbs.

For our mains we felt it only right to sample the famous Elephant Burgers so Mr V went for the Spanish Burger topped with Chorizo and Roquito Peppers served with homemade chips and a salad. I went for the pie of the day which was chicken and ham served with homemade chips and peas.

The Elephant Burger was a good size. The beef burger itself was very good, clearly homemade and cooked well so that it was nice and juicy. The generous helping of Chorizo gave a spicy dimension to the burger and the homemade chips were very nicely done, crispy on the outside and soft on the inside although a little on the salty side.

The pie was also very enjoyable. Portions were large and the meal had a nice homely feel to it. It was definitely ‘pub grub’ and it’s good to find a pub that is good for a drink but also serves nice, no fuss, homely food. Portions are a good size too and prices are reasonable. The Promised Land can get very busy on a Friday night with after work drinkers so I think a week day is a very good time to come for a meal. It’s the sort of place you can stop for a drink and stay for food rather than having to move on somewhere else. I will be back!

My last mouthful was: The West Coast Whitebait

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Y Mochyn Du- So much potential but didn’t deliver on this occasion

Sunday afternoon, I had a real hankering for a roast dinner. Having left it too late to cook one we headed out to hunt one down in a local pub. Unfortunately, we were a bit late and everywhere we tried had stopped serving or run out! Withered and hungry, we trudged down Cathedral Road only to find no joy. Our last tiny beacon of hope was Y Mochyn Du so in we went.

Sunday roasts had run out but broken and beaten, we decided to stay anyway and order something else. I chose lamb shank in minted gravy with mash potato and peas as this was the closest thing to a roast dinner on the menu. Ben had fish cakes.

I like Y Mochyn Du, it’s a nice location and I often end up in there for a drink if I’m down that way. The recent refurb means there is a nice modern section as well as the more traditional area and although the outside seating area doesn’t get much sun, it’s still a nice place to sit.

We took a seat in the new part and ordered our drinks and food at the bar. I don’t usually mind waiting for my food as it’s pleasant enough sitting having a drink but on this occasion as I was so hungry, I did notice that the food took quite a while to arrive, especially as the pub was fairly quiet.

When it did arrive, we were a little disappointed. My dish was devoid of colour with a rather grey looking lamb shank placed on the mash with grey peas. The peas I’m sure were tinned which I wasn’t happy about. How hard is it to boil some peas? It would have made the dish far more attractive and tasty. The lamb gravy was very nice though and the lamb tasted fine but not brilliant.

Ben’s fish cakes were another story. They came with giant potato wedges and salad and when he cut into the fish cake, it was basically just potato with a splattering of pink. I would estimate that in his fair-sized cake, there was about a t-spoon of salmon, so small in comparison to the wealth of potato that you couldn’t even taste it. Basically, he just had a plate of potato served with potato. Not good!

Nothing was inedible , it was mostly ‘fine’ so not worthy of a red spoon overall but the fish (cough…cough…potato) cakes would have been a red spoon alone. It’s a shame because the Mochyn Du is a nice independent pub and it could be so much better if they worked on their menu more. I definitely will be back to Y Mochyn Du, it’s a great pub but my reviews are based predominantly on the food and in this instance, it wasn’t up to standard. Y Mochyn Du was voted one of the top 25 pubs in Britain in 2008 so it shows what it can achieve.

My Last Mouthful was: The minted gravy

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Winter Warmers at Maltsters

On my quest for new places to eat in Cardiff, on Saturday night, I found myself in The Maltsters In Llandaff. I have heard many good things about this place so I was really pleased when my friend suggested going there for dinner.

The Maltsters has only been renovated quite recently and it has transformed from drab, lifeless old man’s pub to cosy, gastro extraordinaire! The whole place is kitted out nicely with laminate flooring, lovely wooden tables and chairs and roaring fires. Lovely!

You can’t book a table because it’s just so popular, you have to take your chances. This clearly didn’t put anyone off as it was rammed! There was nowhere to sit when we arrived so we had to buy drinks and then loiter around waiting for a table to vacate. We were lucky and got a table quite quickly but there weren’t enough chairs. This proved more of a problem but eventually, we managed to round-up enough and sat down to look at the menu.

What’s great about the menu is that it changes everyday so you are always surprised. I love this! I get bored with a restaurant when I’ve tried everything on the menu but this won’t happen at the Maltsters. The  menu (on this occasion) was full of winter warms like ham and chicken pie and lamb chops with mash. The food was simple but classy. We all opted for a T-Bone steak with home-made chips and it was delicious. My steak was cooked to perfection. So many places end up getting steak wrong but this was spot on and the chips were lovely.

We couldn’t resist dessert which was also lovely and very filling. I had a chocolate brownie with ice cream and chocolate sauce. It was perfect- hard on the outside and squishy on the inside!

I definitely recommend this place. Prices are good for what you get and are wide ranging. Just be prepared to wait a while for a table.

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