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.
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.
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.
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.