The Cardiff Bucket List – Pop-Ty pop up restaurant

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You’d be forgiven for not knowing about Pop-Ty in Pontcanna. The brainchild of teacher and aspiring chef Angharad Elias, Pop-Ty (which means bakehouse or oven in Welsh) operates on selected days at St Catherine’s Church Hall. I was recommended to try it by a friend, and the fact that Angharad only cooks pescetarian meals (which means fish, but no meat) was a real draw. (My husband Gavin is also a pescetarian, which means he often misses out on having plenty of choice when we eat out.)

So how does it work? To book you need to like the Pop-Ty Facebook page. When Angharad announces the next pop-up dates, it’s first come, first served. It might all sound a bit cloak and dagger, but this really adds to the exclusive ‘secret supper club’ feel.

Angharad then emails you closer to the time with a menu (three choices of dish for starter, main and dessert), you pay your £20 deposit and choose what you’d like to eat a week beforehand.

On the night we were first to arrive at the church hall, which looked really beautiful. The attention to detail was fantastic, with candles, fairy lights, vintage china and bunting making the old hall look very special indeed. The attention to detail continued with the table settings, with an imaginative use of conkers for place settings and menu choices written on old fashioned flower cards. Even the toilets were beautified for Pop-Ty with a walkway of candles leading the way, candles and vintage mirrors in the loo itself, and even a game of solitaire laid out for the those who need something to do in there!

One long table was set up for 20 people and we were quite unsure at first about sitting with people we didn’t know. But it actually added to the atmosphere and everyone was chatting quite freely by the end of the night.

Hedydd, the waitress offered us a plum and apple spritzer cocktail on arrival, which went down very easily. Then we were on our own with the booze, we’d been told to bring our own drinks. We took a bottle of wine we had left from our recent trip to France, which was a lovely reminder of our recent trip.

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First course was an amuse-bouche of beetroot ‘cappuccino’. A small espresso cup of beetroot soup, with hints of orange and a good chilli kick. This was a lovely surprise as I was expecting to go straight into the starter and it was my dish of the night too – I could’ve eaten bowls of it. The other diners seemed to agree, with lots of ‘Mmmm’ sounds going on!

To start, I’d chosen the Brazilian lime fish stew, a creamy stew with a perfectly cooked fillet of fish, it was really delicious.

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Then it was pallet cleanser time, with a good old lemon sorbet, before moving onto our scrummy beetroot risotto main. I overheard a couple of diners saying they felt their main portion was too small, but I thought the sizes were perfect, it just meant I had room for dessert. And I’m so glad I did; I’d chosen deep fried sticky rice balls with coconut and mango. They weren’t the kind of thing I’d usually choose as my dessert (and I did have food envy for Gavin’s white chocolate and raspberry tart) but I really enjoyed trying something different. The rice balls were also served with some sort of iced tea drink – it had a taste of what I think was matcha green tea and mango, which was really refreshing.

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Finally we were offered teas and coffees before Hedydd passed around the coffee jar for us to pay our remaining £15 per head.

By the time we’d left it was after 11, so we’d spent almost four hours enjoying a leisurely meal in lovely surroundings.

I very much enjoyed trying Pop-Ty and we’ll definitely be going again. This was the first thing I crossed off my Cardiff Bucket List and what a good start!

You can read more about Angharad and Pop-Ty in this article on Wales Online.

The meal at Pop-Ty cost £35 per head and Angharad and the team did not know I’d be blogging about them.

The Cardiff Bucket list

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I’ve been thinking recently about writing a ‘bucket list’ – a list of things I want to do before I’m 40 (less than five years people! Eeek) Most of them are Cardiff or South Wales related so I thought it might make a nice challenge for the blog. The list is below and I plan to cross each one off and review it as I go. They’re all pretty achievable, so don’t expect any bungee jumping! I’ll also be tweeting about the challenge using #CardiffBucketList. And I’ll be taking suggestions too – what am I missing? What would be on your Cardiff Bucket List? Tweet me @CardiffGirlBlog using #CardiffBucketList and I might add it. So here we go;

So what would be on your list?

Motley Movies outdoor cinema

The Goonies at Motley Movies, Cardiff
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Hey you guys! Last night we FINALLY got to go to Motley Movies outdoor cinema in Cardiff.

The guys at Motley Movies have been showing films on the rooftop garden of Jacob’s Antique Market (next to Cardiff Central Station) since May. They’ve been putting on an awesome selection including Human Traffic, Wayne’s World and Bridget Jones. Last night was one of my childhood favourites The Goonies. The website says showing the films on the roof is as much about the atmosphere they’ve created as watching the film and they’re dead right. The location, overlooking Cardiff as the sun sets, made for a great evening anyway, but watching one of my favourite films (and many other people’s judging by the laughter and cheering at the crucial points) was great fun.

The food at Motley Movies was amazing

The food at Motley Movies was amazing

The rooftop is fully licensed and opens at 6, where they have music and amazing drinks from the Two Fingers guys. I tried the One Eyed Willy cocktail, rum, ginger, lime and chilli (£5) which was gorgeous and veeeery strong, before moving on to the safety of the wine.

Two Fingers Drinks at Motley Movies, Cardiff

Two Fingers Drinks at Motley Movies, Cardiff

And the food! Motley Movies have food pop ups at each event and last night was Hang Fire BBQ an extra bonus for me as I’ve been dying to try their food for ages. The Truffle Shuffle sandwich (pulled pork and truffle slaw. £6) was absolutely immense. The Babe Ruth dessert (caramel, peanuts, marshmallows and huge lumps of chocolate. £2) was the most sugary thing I’ve eaten in ages. In fact, I think I’m still buzzing. Chunk and Sloth would’ve loved it.

Truffle Shuffle sandwich from Hangfire BBQ

Truffle Shuffle sandwich from Hangfire BBQ

Babe Ruth bites from Hangfire BBQ

Babe Ruth bites from Hangfire BBQ

As the sun set over Cardiff, the film began. It did get chilly, luckily we wrapped up warm and took a blanket, but they also had blankets to hire, so it was nice and cosy. We were quite lucky as the weather the previous night (where they showed Wayne’s World) was apparently awful. That’s the gamble of the Cardiff weather I suppose.

Sunset from Motley Movies, Jacobs Market

Sunset from Motley Movies, Jacobs Market

A few years back Gavin and I went to an outdoor cinema in LA. It’s a really established event there where people queue for hours to get in (and of course they have the weather and access to Hollywood Stars, many of whom talk before the movie) but I can see Motley Movies becoming almost as popular. We’ll certainly be making it one of our summer must-dos.

Goonies never say die!

Tickets to The Goonies at Motley Movies were £10 each.

We paid in full for everything and Motley Movies were not aware I’d be blogging about them.

http://www.motleymovies.co.uk

Review – Cicchetti, Radyr

Linguine Puttanesca at Cicchetti, Radyr
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I love living in Radyr, it really feels like an up-and coming suburb, what with the gorgeous Orchard Cafe, the fabulous Salon Nia and the stalwart Ener-Chi. And now we have Cicchetti to add to the mix, an Italian Deli/restaurant. Cicchetti opened a few months ago and we’d been in for coffee and cake and had a takeaway from there (the pizzas were top notch) but last Saturday we had a babysitter (hooray!) so it was our first experience of a Cicchetti evening meal.

Saturday was a lovely sunny evening and there were plenty of people just enjoying a beer in the sunshine at the pavement tables as we arrived.

We were soon seated inside and given the menus to peruse while we nibbled on a glass of fresh breadsticks.

I went for a Bellini cocktail to start and then some wine and Gavin had a couple of pints of Peroni, which they serve on tap.

For starters we both had calamari. Mine was the Fritto Misto, lightly battered calamari and scampi with a saffron aioli (£5.25) and Gavin’s the Stuffed Baby Squid with Jalapeño Dressing (£5.95). Both were delicious and devoured in minutes.

Fritto Misto at Cicchetti, Radyr

Fritto Misto at Cicchetti, Radyr

On to mains and we both went for linguine – mine with Puttanesca sauce and his with the Pesto (both £7.95).

Linguine Puttanesca at Cicchetti, Radyr

Linguine Puttanesca at Cicchetti, Radyr

For dessert Gavin went for the chocolate brownie (they are stocked by the chocolate brownie company so he knew he would be in good hands). I was stuffed and ummed and ahhed about going for the lemon meringue. In the end I didn’t think I’d squeeze it in, so went for the mango sorbet, which was light and refreshing.

We also had coffees at the end of the meal. The three courses, four alcoholic drinks and a coffee each, came to £55, which I think is incredibly good value. The food and service was great and the atmosphere was that of a relaxed neighbourhood restaurant. Our only tiny criticism was that there is obviously a Queen fan on the staff – the bands greatest hits were blaring out of the place! Don’t get me wrong I love Freddie, Brian et al, but it was a little loud and I saw a few people complaining to each other. It was soon turned down to a more reasonable level and conversations could continue.

Overall we loved Cicchetti, we’ll definitely be back. We’re already planning to visit for breakfast one day soon.

Cicchetti, 8 Station Road, Radyr CF15 8AA

029 2084 8773

We paid in full for our meals and Cicchetti did not know I’d be blogging about them.

Afternoon tea at Orchard, Radyr

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I seem to have set myself on a mission to find the best afternoon tea in Cardiff. Not such a terrible cross to bear, I admit. After recently trying the mammoth afternoon tea at Barker tea house, next up was Orchard in Radyr.

This neighbourhood cafe has been open for around a year and has recently started offering afternoon tea at £13.95 per person.

Orchard’s offering doesn’t just focus on cake, their menu is more like a ‘high tea’ with extra savouries in addition to the finger sandwiches, including mini pizzas and garlic mushroom bruschettas. They also included a small taster of their special dish that day, a platter of roasted vegetables, capers and ciabatta bread – delicious. It also came with scones, pre-filled with cream and jam and we were able to choose another cake from their selection too – I went for the coconut and lime which was really light and tasty.

This style of afternoon tea fits in with Orchards offering of healthy food, indulgent cakes and an amazing range of teas. I went for the sweet chai pu-erh tea on this occasion. If you’re not familiar with pu-erh it’s a dark tea from China, supposed to have health benefits and aid weight loss. It’s unlikely to have balanced the effect of the fresh scone and lashings of cream or the coconut and lime cake, but never mind, it was delicious anyway!

The staff at Orchard are so welcoming and friendly and my friend and I spent a leisurely 3+ hours chatting over our afternoon tea. If you’re looking for a casual catch up with a friend, friendly service and delicious food, Orchard is the place for you.

Orchard
7 Park Road, Radyr
029 2084 2129

We paid in full for our afternoon tea and Orchard did not know I’d be blogging about them.

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Live and Eat Pie at Pieminister

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Pieminister arrived in Cardiff earlier this year and last week I finally made it there for lunch.

Luckily we’d booked a table as it was incredibly busy on this Friday lunchtime. With only one till on (you order and pay at the till after getting your table) service wasn’t the speediest.

I went for the ‘Light as a Feta’, a butternut squash, feta and sundried tomato pie from their lighter pie range (all less than 450 calories) and two less-healthy sides of sweet potato chips and homemade slaw, which came to £8.

The pie came and it was pretty delicious, but no surprise as I’d had Pieminister pies from the supermarket in the past and the pies served in the restaurant are exactly the same. The filling was flavourful and substantial and the pastry light and crumbly. It also came with a yummy gravy.

The sweet potato fries were good but the slaw was really disappointing, more a bowl of shredded cabbage and onion with a drizzle of dressing, not the creamy homemade coleslaw I was expecting.

Overall the price was fair, the setting was great (the decor was relaxed and stylish – LOVE the ‘Live and Eat Pie’ neon sign) and I would come back again. I noticed they have a kids menu and plenty of high chairs and baby change facilities too, which is a plus for me.

Pieminister
35 St Mary Street
Cardiff
CF10 1AD
www.pieminister.co.uk/restaurants/cardiff

We paid in full for our meals and Pieminister did not know I’d be blogging about them

Eating out with kids – Vinny & Vito at the Village Hotel, Cardiff

Le Truffe pizza flatbread at Vinny & Vito, Cardiff
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My husband and I really enjoy eating out and when we had our son we were keen to get him used to eating out from an early age. Most restaurants in Cardiff are fairly child friendly nowadays but it’s always better to find somewhere that the little people enjoy too.

We’d heard that Vinny & Vito, an Italian style restaurant at the Village Hotel in Cardiff was good and the ‘children under 5 eat free’ offer lured us there. We had a great experience the first time we went and have since been back numerous times to eat; twice just the three of us during the week and another occasion for my sister’s birthday where we took two kids and four adults one Saturday night, who all came away happy.

Le Truffe pizza flatbread at Vinny & Vito, Cardiff

Le Truffe pizza flatbread at Vinny & Vito, Cardiff

Its a family-friendly restaurant that doesnt compromise on the quality of the food – the pizzas (or flatbreads as they refer to them) are priced at just £8.95/£9.95 and are huge with freshly made crispy bases. A special mention from me for the Vinny & Vito house burger, a 225g home-made beef burger with cheese, pancetta and balsamic onions, served in a bun with fries was £13.50 (I substituted potato fries with mine too). With such delicious mains and sides, this is a place you come away from feeling very full indeed!

Courgette frites and sweet potato wedges

Courgette frites and sweet potato wedges

Their ‘Mini Vinny’s’ kids menu is fantastic. £5.95 each or free for under 5s (FREE! A godsend if you’re eating with a picky toddler!) They get dough balls to start, a choice of pizza, burger or three pastas for main, an ice cream sundae for dessert and unlimited drinks. Our son has chosen the pizza every time and it’s as fresh and delicious as the adult ones.

Chicago flatbread pizza at Vinny & Vito, Cardiff

Chicago flatbread pizza at Vinny & Vito, Cardiff

Adult desserts include classic Italian/American fayre such as cheesecake and chocolate mousse, but I’ve only ever had room for a scoop of creamy and refreshing coconut ice cream (£2 a scoop).

What’s also great about Vinny & Vito is that even though it’s in a hotel, the decor and friendly staff mean it doesn’t feel like a faceless hotel restaurant. I’d really recommend this place for a family meal, or a weekday treat.

The only negative? The toilets are miles away from the restaurant. But you might be glad of the walk, to work off all that food!

Vinny & Vito, Village Hotel, Pendwyallt Road, Coryton, Cardiff CF14 7EF.

https://www.village-hotels.co.uk/hotels/cardiff/eat-drink/

We paid in full every time we ate at Vinny & Vito and they were not made aware I’d be blogging about them.