Review – Street Food Warehouse, Cardiff

Street Food is one of the biggest trends on the food scene at the moment. Basically a posh way of saying ‘burger vans’ street food is ready-to-eat fast-food sold from vans, stalls and carts. It’s seen huge growth in places like LA where their regular food markets have some of the best vendors arriving in one place for a weekly street food festival. But places like LA have warm weather and glorious sunshine 12 months of the year; it’s not so much fun if you’re shivering in the rain with a soggy burrito. But spring is here and Cardiff’s street food scene has well and truly kicked off with the Street Food Warehouse.

Drinks at Street Food Warehouse
Drinks at Street Food Warehouse, Cardiff

Open on weekend evenings throughout the spring and summer, Street Food Warehouse takes place under the eves of the Millennium Stadium and Cardiff Arms Park. It’s a rustic and funky set up with a huge communal covered seated area with fairy lights and laid back tunes being played by a live DJ, who’s tucked away behind and fruit and veg stall. We visited during opening weekend, over the Easter Bank holiday. It was £2 to get in, which I do think is a bit weird; paying to go and buy food, but really, it’s nominal. The tickets also said £1 for children, but our four-year-old was welcomed for free and given some Easter chocolate treats on the way in.

The seating area at Street Food Warehouse, Cardiff
The seating area at Street Food Warehouse, Cardiff

We’d been reading the menu while we waited to enter and were looking forward to trying pizza from the Dough Boys. But when we got inside we were disappointed to see they weren’t there. We asked a member of staff who said they hadn’t shown up – gutted. Still, there was plenty to whet our appetites. The toddler and I shared a delicious pulled pork roll with coleslaw and a box of Mac n cheese from Passion & Soul BBQ. The pork was perfect – slow cooked in their ‘Big Betty’ smoker, the meat was tender and juicy with a tangy BBQ sauce and crunchy home made coleslaw, all served in a brioche bun. The toddler and I were fighting over the last bite! The Mac was creamy with a good hint of mustard, also very moreish.

Pulled Pork with Coleslaw and Mac n Cheese - yum!
Pulled Pork with Coleslaw and Mac n Cheese – yum!

Gavin went for one of the veggie options on offer, a chickpea burger with halloumi from Rad Burgers, accompanied by Rosemary chips. He enjoyed the burger and we all polished off the chips. To finish we went for churros from South Wales-based Mr Churros. Freshly fried in front of us, dusted with sugar, cinnamon and accompanied by a warm chocolate sauce, they were yummy and were gobbled up in seconds.

Churros from Mr Churro
Churros from Mr Churro

The drinks were a selection of Celt Beers and Cocktails, which were served in a quirky take-away container. I went for the mocktail which, at £3 was a bit ‘style over substance’. It was tasty but I would’ve liked a few more non-alcoholic options, especially something a bit more child-friendly.

Mocktail at Street Food Warehouse Cardiff
Mocktail at Street Food Warehouse Cardiff

We were at the 5pm sitting, which had a good family atmosphere, there were loads of kids enjoying the music and we were lucky the weather was pretty good. But I can imagine as the sun goes down and the nights get warmer, its the perfect place to enjoy a laid back cocktail with friends.

Overall I enjoyed Street Food Warehouse, but it’s struck me since that I would’ve liked the food on offer to be a little more local. For example Passion & Soul are from Surrey and Rad Burgers from Kent. That’s not to say their food wasn’t lovely but I know there are Cardiff-based vendors doing food that’s just as good.

You can find Street Food Warehouse on Twitter .

We paid in full for entry and all food and drink at Street Food Warehouse. 

Fashion Lab Wales – a charity shop, but not as you know it

I’m useless at charity shop shopping. I really envy those people that, when complimented on their outfit, say; “Oh this? It’s Whistles/Karen Millen/Reiss. Only £10 in the charity shop!”.

Don’t get me wrong I blinking love charity shops, I give lots of clothes to them and love picking up books for 99p. But no matter how much I rummage through the racks I can never find that elusive bargain outfit.

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So thank goodness for Fashion Lab Wales – a new boutique charity shop from Cancer Research Wales. I spotted loads of bargains at the opening including Karen Millen, TopShop,LK Bennet and Lipsy to name a few – and most items around the £10-£15 mark. They even stock a Herve Leger bandage dress, donated by Danielle Linkekar, admittedly a bit more pricey at £200, but not bad for something usually selling for the £1000 mark. And all for charity! Excellent.

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Fashion Lab Wales, Queen Street Arcade, Cardiff

http://www.cancerresearchwales.co.uk

I was invited to the opening of the shop as a guest.

Review – Hokkei, Cardiff

You’ve probably heard of Hokkei box. The Asian takeaway, brainchild of MasterChef finalists Dale and Larkin, opened with lots of hype at the end of 2014.

Their plan was to reinvent the takeaway, bringing authentic asian flavours to Cardiff, using the best ingredients. You’ll find no MSG here.

I’ve wanted to try it since it opened, so a family night in with a film (The Lego Movie – it was the little man’s choice) was a good opportunity.

The menu is lovely and simple, you can order a box (consisting of a main, side, an extra and some dim sum) or choose off the menu. I love this idea, as one of my favourite things about getting a takeaway is all the additional nibbles you get on the side.

Our Hokkei boxes
Our Hokkei boxes

We went for a Genie Box; Aubergine and Tofu coconut curry, egg fried rice, edamame and veggie spring rolls (£13.25) and a Tokyo box; chicken katsu curry, steamed rice, spicy asian slaw and triple cooked crispy beef (£13.45) and added extras such as Thai Crackers (£1.50), Chunky Chips (£2.50) and some salt and pepper tofu (£4.95). There were three of us sharing this after all!

We called to order but were dissapointed to find they don’t deliver as far as Radyr. Still, we had our hearts set on it, so one pleading look at Gavin and he was in the car faster than you could say ‘spicy asian slaw’.

The journey from Crwys Road to Radyr did mean that the food was slightly tepid when he got home, but a quick blast in the microwave and it was fine.
Hokkei chicken katsu curry, rice and triple cooked crispy beef
Hokkei chicken katsu curry, rice and triple cooked crispy beef
But there was so much food! The dim sum portions were huge, particularly the salt and pepper tofu and the crispy beef, they were almost as big as the main dishes and there was more than enough for all three of us. We were left with plenty of leftovers (tip, the triple cooked crispy beef tasted even better warmed up the next day….which I guess makes it quadruple cooked).
The flavours were so good. We’re fans of places like the Crispy Duck, Ichiban and Wagamama, so the authentic flavours weren’t hugely surprising, but all their meat is responsibly sourced and you could tell that the chicken was of a very high quality and not dry at all, as katsu often can be. If your regular chinese takeaway consists of deep fried chicken balls, MSG-laden curry sauce and stale tasting prawn crackers, this could be a real eye opener and I’m convinced the quality ingredients make it a healthier option.
Hokkei Asian slaw, edamame beans and thai crackers
Hokkei Asian slaw, edamame beans and thai crackers
The toddler loved the chicken katsu curry, the edamame and the rice. He wanted to like the Thai crackers and kept asking for more, but really he found them a bit too spicy (or ‘spiky’ as he said). I didn’t even try him on the beef as it had a real chilli hit, which I love, but a bit much for the little man. The chips were good – they had a real ‘chips from the chinese’ flavour too.
The entire order came to £35.85, which I thought was reasonable for the huge amount we ordered.
I just hope they start delivering to Radyr soon!
 Hokkei
92 Crwys Road, Cardiff CF24 4NP
029 2233 1400

http://hokkei.co.uk

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

Valentines Day – getting romantic in Cardiff

With Valentine’s Day approaching, I’ve been thinking about the most romantic spots in Cardiff.

Whether it’s a hand-in-hand stroll around the Bay at sunset, a champagne picnic in the grounds of Cardiff Castle or curling up by the log fire at The Maltsters in Llandaff, there are plenty of places to get amorous.

If you’re looking for ideas this Valentine’s Day, I’ve asked some of Cardiff’s best bloggers for inspiration.

Cardiff Heart picture from www.ilovesthediff.com
Cardiff Heart picture from http://www.ilovesthediff.com

Cathryn, author of CardiffMummySays.com,

“One of my favourite romantic spots in Cardiff is half way up Caerphilly Mountain, looking down across the whole of Cardiff. We got married at the New House Hotel, on the mountain, almost eight years ago, and prior to that, we’d had a few big walks around the area and I always loved the view across the whole of our city as we sat and ate our picnics. We parked up in the New House car park when I was in labour with my first baby (nothing had been happening for hours and hours) and sat looking out, drinking hot chocolate and getting excited about our future. We’ve taken our children there to watch the fireworks too as you can see them going off all over Cardiff without the noise of the bangs, which scares my children. It’s such a beautiful view that always leaves me in awe and it’s a really special place to us. It always reminds me how lucky I am.”

Jaye, from Cardiff in a Teacup blog,

“My most romantic spot in Cardiff would have to be Roath Park lake. In the summer it’s the perfect place to enjoy a picnic before walking around the lake with an ice cream and then renting out a boat. It’s just as lovely to visit in the colder months on a crisp morning wrapped up warm with a huge thermos of tea.”

Jane, from Hungry City Hippy,

“For me, either roath park lake for a romantic stroll and row boat on a sunny day, or Cafe Citta for an intimate, authentic Italian meal. Or both if you’re making a day of it!”

Where do you think is the most romantic spot in Cardiff?

If you like the Cardiff Heart hanging in my living room, visit I Loves the Diff to see more.

Cardiff Parkrun – a guest blog for Crandon Runs

Parkrun is an amazingly simple concept; Weekly, free, timed 5k runs around parks across the UK. Perfect for people who want to beat their PB, are looking for a social run with like-minded people or just need a reason to get out of bed and get their trainers on at the weekend.
Parkrun is a not for profit event, run by fantastic volunteers and it’s completely free to take part, just register online. Print off a barcode (you have to print it, they can’t scan smart phones) and they’ll log your time and email it to you. Simple.
Cardiff Parkrun takes place every Saturday at 9am, starting on the Taff Trail at Blackweir (next to the giant Tesco on Western Avenue) and running along the River Taff, looping back through Bute Park.
After eating my homemade energy ball and downing a smoothie, I turned up ready to race alone with a podcast to keep me company. But while standing at the start line, trying my best to keep warm, I bumped into two of my old work colleagues, Nicola and Beth and Beth’s sister.
Hooray! It meant that my solo run became a lot more sociable and we jogged round the course in 34 mins, while managing to catch up on a good bit of gossip. And that’s really what Park Run is about. Not gossiping (unless that helps motivate you, in which case gossip away) But Parkrun is about taking on a challenge with other runners, feeling that comraderie, with perhaps a dash of competitiveness thrown in. It would’ve been a huge mistake to do it alone with my iPod!
So to the course itself. The Taff Trail is absolutely beautiful anyway so to run around there is always lovely, no matter the weather. With more than 650 runners taking part, the path is a bit tight at the start, but it soon opens up with plenty of room for all speeds and levels. I do think there’s an opportunity here for another park run in Cardiff though – further along the Taff Trail at Forest Farm or around Pontcanna and Llandaff for example. The demand is certainly there.
I didn’t record a PB at this weeks race, but I wasn’t far off and a surprise catch up with friends while enjoying a scenic run made for a lovely morning.
The timing of Parkrun meant I was home by 10am, plenty of time to enjoy a well-deserved breakfast of spinach, avocado and poached eggs on toast with an Americano. Heaven!
You can find out more about Cardiff Parkrun on their website.
From 8 February, Cardiff Parkrun will also be holding a weekly junior event for 4-14 year olds.
This post first appeared as a guest post on the Crandon Runs blog, which is definitely worth a follow if you’re interested in running!