2017 foodie highlights – dinner and drinks

On to the third and final instalment of my foodie look back at 2017.

I enjoyed some great meals out in Cardiff this year and here are my highlights for dinner and drinks.

Asador 44

A late entry this one, as I only ate there for the first time in December. But I’ll definitely be going again in 2018. Bistro-style Spanish dining, with an amazing meat and fish selection, along with truly delicious vegetarian options – there’s something for everyone. And the cheeseboard selection was immense! The service was great too, attentive but laid back, we had a fantastic meal. I enjoyed it so much that I didn’t even take any pics, so I borrowed the one below from their Instagram.

Cen at the Celtic Manor

Also vying for my favourite meal of 2017 was our anniversary meal at Cen.

If you’re looking for amazing Asian seafood and fantastic service, Masterchef contestant and former Hokkei Box owner Larkin Cen’s venue at the Celtic Manor is the place.

Café Citta

My birthday meal at Café Citta on Church Street is also a stand-out. Authentic wood-fired pizzas and hearty pasta dishes, topped off with the best tiramisu I’ve had, I’ve never been disappointed here.

Sushi Life

I ate at the Wellfield Road restaurant and ordered take away in 2017 and it’s definitely Cardiff’s best sushi.

The Crunch California Maki Roll is the BEST.

Thé Pot

Finally tried Thé Pot Bistro’s two courses and wine for £20 deal earlier this year. Really enjoyed the summery risotto and the lovely neighbourhood vibe of this restaurant.

Drinks

If you’re like me and your main criteria for a night out in Cardiff is ‘well-made cocktails, quiet enough to talk (I’m old) and a bit of class’ then you can’t go wrong with;

The Dead Canary

Not such a secret bar anymore, but it’s still worth navigating the bins of Barrack Lane to ring the bell and visit this speakeasy-style bar. The menu consists of Cardiff-themed and classic cocktails, or just tell the knowledgeable mixologists what you like and they’ll mix one up for you. Book a table if you’re visiting on the weekend.

Penny Royal

Next to Barker on High Street and masquerading as a bottle shop, Penny Royal serves apothecary-style cocktails with some of the most unusual ingredients I’ve seen. (Milk reduction and edible flowers anyone?) Great wines available too, if you like to stick to what you know.

Handsome Jacks

I’m pretty sure this used to be the Wine Press circa 1994, but if you remember that, put it out of your mind immediately. A classy cocktail bar hidden amongst the chaos of St Mary’s Street, escape from the hen do madness and into cocktail heaven.

If you missed parts one and two of my 2017 foodie round-up, you can read them here and here.

Follow me on Instagram to see more of the same in 2018!

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November highlights

Top row (L-R); The best margaritas in Cardiff* at Wahaca / mouthwatering halloumi ‘fries’** at the Brass Beetle on Whitchurch Road / Stunning autumnal runs along the Taff

Middle row; We travelled around Cardiff and the Vale hunting down the 43 snowdogs and during November we ticked the last few off our list! This was our final one – Chocolate Sundae at Penarth Pier. If you didn’t manage to catch all of the snowdogs, they’re on display in the Capitol Centre from this weekend (8-10 December). Details here.

Bottom row; Getting our hygge on with a delicious brunch at Brød bakery. Their coffee is AMAZING.

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*in my opinion. And I’ve tried a fair few in my time…..

**lets not kid ourselves, it’s just fried cheese. Delicious gooey fried cheese. Calling them fries is just a way to make myself feel better about ordering (and finishing) them AND a full pizza.

October highlights

Phew it’s been a busy month! And not with blog-related stuff; I’ve been busy with work; travelled to London and Mid Wales a couple of times during October, and family stuff has been hectic too, our youngest turned two this month and our eldest had half term, with all the juggling and planning that goes into that. 

Needless to say the blog has suffered a little, but here’s a brief round up of what I’ve enjoyed and would’ve blogged about, if I’d have had a bit more time! 

If you follow me on Instagram you’ll know that my eldest is well into collecting the snowdogs around Cardiff. We’ve been using the app and are currently at 54! Top left is Mccoo – captured on a grey day at Roath Park lake. Bottom right is Anthem. It took us a while to find him as he’s been moved away from the stadium in preparation for the autumn rugby games. But we spotted him at his new home further along Wood Street. 

Fairy Forest at Mountain View Ranch, Caerphilly
As I said, our youngest turned two this month. She’s really into the Gruffalo books at the moment so we spent the day before her birthday at Mountain View Ranch, doing the Gruffalo Trail, toasting marshmallows, finding fairies in the forest and getting muddy on roly poly hill. I love it at Mountain View Ranch, it’s so well done and there’s something new to see each time we visit. 

Because who doesn’t want a John Lewis cactus on their Christmas tree?!?

I was invited for an early peek at John Lewis’ Christmas department and picked up this cute cactus for our tree (it won’t be going up until December, but no harm in getting into the spirit!). The cactus is from their Peruvian-inspired range; think colourful string lights, poms poms and even a Santa riding a Llama!

I had a fun night with old school friends, seeing Cabaret at the New Theatre (which was great, Will Young in particular was fantastic) before heading over to Penny Royal for Prosecco and cocktails. We couldn’t find Penny Royal at first, we even asked in Barker two doors down who had no clue! But we soon spotted the gold embossed black door and were shown in by the friendly door staff. The bar staff were great too, so knowledgeable. These are ‘real’ cocktails, made with passion. There are no pre-mixes here! The menu is laid out apothecary style, so you choose your drink depending on how you feel (there were ‘relaxers’, ‘revitalisers’ and ‘aphrodisiacs’ among others – oooh er!) It was a lovely place to have a good chat too, no pumping music here (yes, I’m old). If you’re a fan of the Dead Canary, this will be right up your street. 

Middle right is a shot from a very windy Barry Island Parkrun during Storm Brian. The lashing wind and sea spray hitting my face definitely blew the cobwebs away that Saturday! You can read more of my Parkrun posts here and here

Gingerbread cappuccino at Coffi Co, Mermaid Quay, Cardiff Bay

We were meant to be away for a few days over half term but an issue with our car put paid to that (let’s just say spending 4 hours on a lay-by off the M4 and being towed home isn’t my idea of a good Friday night) so we’ve been having a ‘staycation’ instead. Luckily the weather has been gorgeous, perfect for walks (and snowdog spotting!) over the Cardiff Bay Barrage and along the Taff Trail. We also tried Coffi Co’s new location in Mermaid Quay; on the site of the old Bosporus Turkish restaurant. The location and drinks were stunning. Mine was a coconut milk chai latte. Delicious. 

The Christmas bauble was gifted to me at a John Lewis blogger event. Everything else was paid for from my own pocket. This is an honest review of my month in and around Cardiff. 

For more pictures, recommendations and inane ramblings about Cardiff, follow me on Instagram

August Instagram highlights



Watching the sheep racing at Green Meadow Farm in Cwmbran / Afternoon tea at Pettigrew Tearooms / Getting a lunchtime delivery from Uber Eats / Yoga and hiking up The Garth with Little Yoga Hut / drinks and lessons in brewing at Tiny Rebel / beautiful bank holiday weather in Cardiff

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June Instagram highlights


Summery walks along the Taff Trail / Veggie brunch at Porro, Llandaff / Pinã Colada milkshake at Kaspas, St Mary’s Street / Walking in Dinosaur footsteps at the National Museum, Cardiff / Dinner at Thé Pot Bistro / Having a blast at Lido Ponty 

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May Instagram highlights

(Top row L-R) Delicious salad from Milgi Market / wild garlic on the Taff Trail / admiring the Lego inspired artwork at Bricks at Home

(Middle row L-R) Manning my marshalling spot at Cardiff Parkrun / pretty cocktails at the Revolution Bar reopening / barriers everywhere for the Champions League in Cardiff

(Bottom row L-R) Getting very sweaty at hot pod yoga / enjoying the sun at Barry Island (aka Barrybados) / delicious birthday meal at Cafe Citta 

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Celebrating our anniversary…..part one

I’ve briefly mentioned that last month was our wedding anniversary. Ten years we’ve been married. That makes me sound quite old…..But we were only 16 when we got married. (Not really).

Anyway, ten years seems like a good reason to celebrate and my Mum kindly offered to take the kids so we could have a night away. Hurrah! 

After a bit of searching we found a great deal at the Celtic Manor; £180 for bed, breakfast, a three-course meal for two in any of the resorts four restaurants and use of the gym, spa and pool. 

After a delicious brunch at the Early Bird, we took the short trip down the M4, arriving at the Celtic Manor late morning. 

We spent a few hours in the gym, pool, sauna, steam room, jacuzzi etc, before heading up to our room. We were staying in the Manor House, the original part of the resort, where Cen restaurant is located – where we’d booked a table for dinner. 

The room was modern and spacious with fluffy dressing gowns and slippers (the sign of a good hotel in my book) and the perfect place to chill-out before heading down to dinner.

Salt and Chilli Calamari at Cen, Celtic Manor
Cen is the Celtic Manor’s Asian restaurant, headed up by Larkin Cen, MasterChef finalist and previous owner of the much-missed Hokkei Box. 

The food was absolutely wonderful and staff were so attentive. 

I started with delicious Salt and Chilli Squid (£9) before moving on to the Miso Cured Black Cod (£26), which was the flakiest, most delicately flavoured cod I’d ever had. 

Miso cured black cod

For dessert I went for Coffee and Coconut (£7) – coconut ice cream, almond dacquoise, coffee gel and Thai basil. Yum

Dessert at Cen, coffee and coconut
The staff generously gave us a couple of complimentary glasses of bubbles as they knew it was our anniversary, which was a really lovely way to round off a delicious meal. 

Anniversary bubbles!
The final bill came to almost £100 but, because the food was included in our hotel stay, we only had to pay for our drinks. It really was a fantastic deal. 

I would definitely recommend Cen for a special occasion, the food was fantastic and staff wonderful. Thanks for a lovely night! 

We paid in full for our stay at the Celtic Manor and the hotel and Cen restaurant were not aware I’d be blogging about them.