Veganuary round up – vegan food in Cardiff

I’m sure you’ve heard of Veganuary; the challenge to go vegan – not eating any meat, dairy, eggs or any other animal products for the whole of January.

I’ve never been fully vegetarian but have been eating a mostly pescatarian diet for the last few years and after watching documentaries/mocumentaries such as Vegucated and Carnage I’ve become interested in eating more vegan foods. So when I heard about Veganuary it seemed like a great challenge. And more appealing than dry January!

Its easy to be vegetarian or vegan in Cardiff these days. There are some great specialist restaurants such as Milgi and it seems there are more vegan cafes and bakeries popping up all the time, such as Blanche Bakery and The Moos.

But I also wanted to see if I could cope without heading out of my way to eat vegan. If it’s something I’m going to continue I don’t want to be dragging meat-eating friends and family to specialist locations just to accommodate me.

Luckily most places have at least one vegan option and many more will provide one if you just ask. Here are my Veganuary highlights;

The Grazing Shed

Dirty Vegan Burger

I already love The Grazing Shed’s Vegan Wah Wah burger, with cashew cream and avocado and tomato salsa so I was excited to try their new vegan option, launched to coincide with Veganuary; the Dirty Vegan (£8.95). A curry patty with garlic ‘mayo’, mango chutney, chilli sauce and tomato tzatziki. It packed a spicy punch and was stuffed to the brim with toppings – there is no way to look attractive while eating this burger, but you definitely won’t miss the meat. I’ll be ordering this post-Veganuary for sure.

Cosy Club

Vegetarian Thai Burger

Picture taken from the Cosy Club’s Twitter feed

Another burger! I went for a meal with friends at the Cosy Club in January. A quick search online beforehand revealed that they have a vegan menu, which was provided as soon as I asked. There were plenty of vegan options available including a curry, risotto and tabbouleh (two friends even ended up choosing off my menu too!) and I went for the Thai burger (£8.95 including chips) – a quinoa burger with edamame beans, pak Choi and coconut sauce. The Thai flavours were stunning and again, I didn’t miss the meat at all!

Society Standard

Salt-baked celeriac

We went to Society Standard for a family Sunday lunch and I chose it as it catered for everyone’s needs; vegans, meat eaters, weight watchers and kids – hard to please! But this place hit the nail on the head. Everyone raved about their meals. There were two vegan options available and I went for the Salt-Baked Celeriac (£9.90) with butternut squash purée, confit potatoes, chestnuts, pesto and parsnip crisps. The dish was elegant and tasty and I didn’t feel I was missing out. However it possibly wasn’t as filling as the roast dinner. Luckily we also shared one of their ‘small plates’ of Roasted Cauliflower (£4.80) with spiced lentils, almonds and tahini, which was rich and hearty.

Wyndham Tea

Vegan afternoon tea

I met with friends for afternoon tea in mid-January. We chose Wyndham Tea, Waterloo Tea’s location in town. Luckily I knew they would cater for vegans, I’ve tried their vegan cakes in the past and loved them, the chocolate and avocado cake being particularly memorable. I called in advance to request a vegan afternoon tea and was told it wasn’t a problem at all. I was given vegan sandwiches with roasted vegetables and hummus and crostinis with avocado and beetroot. There was a vegan scone (this was probably my least favourite part of the tea; it tasted overwhelmingly of margarine. Still it was so nice not to feel left out while my friends tucked into theirs). I could chose my own cake and went for the lemon and lime; one of the two vegan options available. It was light and moist and I’ll be looking for that one next time I’m in.

***

During the month I also had some lovely vegan sandwiches and salad bowls from M&S and Pret, great for those days when I was in a hurry, and a delicious vegan millionaires shortbread at Benugo in John Lewis. I was only intending to buy a coffee that day but when I saw their pre-packaged vegan treats I couldn’t resist!

I’m not planning to stay strictly vegan when January ends, but I’ll definitely be making more vegan choices. And with these options and plenty more to choose from, it’s not going to be difficult.

Have you had a great vegan or vegetarian meal in Cardiff lately? Let me know in the comments below or over on Twitter.

I paid in full for all the vegan food I ate during Veganuary and none of the restaurants mentioned were told I’d be blogging about them.

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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!

2017 foodie highlights – lunch/afternoon tea

This is the second blog post in a series looking back at my favourite places to eat in Cardiff during 2017. If you missed it, my breakfast and brunch highlights are here.

Next up, it’s lunch.

Milgi Market

I finally sampled the wonderful Milgi market this year. It’s a small counter selling vegetarian salad bowls in Cardiff Indoor Market and is run by the same people at Milgi on City Road. Whenever I need to pop into town on my lunch break, I always make a detour via here.

Side note – if you haven’t been into Cardiff market for a while, take a look. It’s become quite the foodie haven; this blog post from blogger Gourmet Gorro details the market’s renaissance.

New York Deli

New York Deli would be on my ‘best places to eat in Cardiff’ list every year since I first ate there in about 2001. Their bagels and hoagies are immense; stuffed to the brim, just like you’d find in a real NY Deli. The quality hasn’t ever wavered. Quite frankly, it’s a Cardiff institution and if you haven’t eaten there you must make it your New Years resolution. Maybe not if you’re on a diet though (sorry).

The Grazing Shed

Two branches in town and a street food van popping up at loads of events means it’s impossible to ignore the Grazing Shed’s burgers. They do a fantastic veggie burger with various toppings (including goats cheese fondue, avocado mash or sour cream jalapeño) and a fully vegan option with cashew cream. The beef and chicken versions are epic too. Luckily my eldest loves it here and always requests it when we’re in town.

Waterloo Tea

Waterloo Tea added a new branch in Lakeside this year, in addition to it’s locations in Penylan, Penarth and Wyndham Arcade in town. While I haven’t visited the new branch yet, I’ve eaten at each of the others at least once this year. Their salads, soups and sandwiches are light and healthy, always ensuring you feel virtuous enough for a huge slab of cake afterwards. Great vegan, veggie and gluten free options too.

Afternoon tea at Pettigrew tea

I must admit, after sampling and writing about numerous afternoon teas since I started blogging eight years ago, I’d slightly gone-off the experience and hadn’t had an afternoon tea for ages, until I was given an afternoon tea for two at Pettigrew as a birthday present this year.

I’d forgotten how pretty it is in Pettigrew and we spent a lovely afternoon nibbling finger sandwiches, spreading cream & jam on scones (yes, it’s always cream THEN jam for me) and gorging on cake, while sipping earl grey from vintage china. Very refined.

Next in my series on my favourite places to eat in Cardiff this year……dinner and drinks.

To read the previous post on my brunch favourites from 2017, click here.

2017 Cardiff foodie highlights – breakfast/brunch/coffee

It’s been a great year for eating and drinking in Cardiff. I’ve pulled together a few blog posts highlighting the places I’ve enjoyed in or around the city this year – and they’re all independents or small chains.

Up first, my favourite meal of the day, brunch. Always accompanied by my favourite drink; black coffee. Winning.

Early Bird

Hands-down best brunch of 2017 was the hulk-smash at The Early Bird in Cathays. Avo toast with a poached egg and plenty of smoked chipotle sauce – this is a meal we regularly recreate at home now.

Yum.

Brød

The pastries at Brød in Pontcanna/Canton are to die for and their coffee is strong and smooth. A perfect combination. You’ll be spoiled for choice, but my favourite is the snegl with custard or the overskårne (custard slice).

Brød is great with kids too, they have plenty of kid-friendly options. When we were there last the sweet waiter came over with a basket of toys to keep my toddler entertained so we could inhale our food in peace. Bliss.

Porro

We’ve had a couple of great brunches at Porro this year, but my stand-out was the veggie breakfast calzone. Warning – you won’t need to eat for the rest of the day.

Porro also does great lunches and evening meals at its sites in Llandaff and Wellfield Road.

Coffi Co

Coffi Co’s original site near the Norwegian Church in Cardiff Bay was always a favourite of mine, but their new branch on the pier at Mermaid Quay (formerly Bosporus Turkish restaurant) is even better!

Have a coconut chai latte if you need warming up. Drinking one of these is probably the only thing that will steer me away from my regular black coffee. High praise indeed.

Next up in my list of 2017 highlights…..lunch.

Follow me on Instagram for more pics of my favourite things to do in and around Cardiff in 2018.

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.

Follow me on Instagram @CardiffGirlBlog

*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.

September highlights 

Loads of fun snowdog-hunting (get the app here) / gorgeous food from Masterchef contestant Imran Nathoo at Lost Lands outdoor cinema, (check his upcoming events here) / getting sweaty at hotpod’s new studio in Canton / addicted to Milgi Market’s salad bowls – find them inside Cardiff Market / sad to see trees down everywhere along the Taff Trail in the wind / ran our first ever family race at the Cardiff Half Marathon festival of running 

A few days in St David’s, Pembrokeshire 

Kids are back in school this week, mornings are feeling crisp and Starbucks has emailed to say it’s doing Pumpkin Spice Lattes – Autumn has arrived. 

The summer whizzed by in a mish-mash of juggling childcare (shout-out to Mum, couldn’t have survived without you) but we did managed to snatch a week away camping in one of our favourite places; St David’s, Pembrokeshire.

We’ve spent our summer breaks here for the last three years and it’s beautiful. It’s also becoming quite the foodie destination. Here are my top tips if you’re planning a trip West. 

Dusty Knuckle Pizza

Yes! The same Dusty Knuckle as the one in Canton! They’ve also set up shop in a courtyard off the main street in St Davids, which was really picturesque. They’re open most days from 5pm. We stopped by on a really sunny evening and loved the rustic group-table eating. It made for a lovely chilled atmosphere. There’s also a little bar next door selling local beers and ciders. Winning.


Em & Nicks Bakehouse

Also in the aforementioned courtyard is Em & Nicks. They’re open during the day for breakfast, brunch, lunch and cakes. They also have copious vegan/vegetarian and gluten-free options. The picture below is of my lunch; grilled halloumi and olive tapenade on a corn bread roll. And a STRONG black Americano. The chocolate and coconut welsh cake was also immense. (Sounded so wrong, tasted so right). 



The Shed

If you’re staying in St Davids you must take a trip to the nearby fishing village of Porthgain. It’s got some amazing walks around the cliffs and loads about the history of the area. It used to be an industrial port and ruins of the quarries and buildings are still there for exploring. We were only there for the food though! We made a reservation at The Shed for the first night of our trip, knowing we couldn’t wait.

The decor is ‘rustic’ at best, but the food is the star of the show at The Shed. Fish and chips always taste better when on the coast but these are the best fish and chips I’ve had, ever. Top tip; make sure you get the curry sauce and mushy peas on the side. 

Oh and make a reservation, it gets very busy!



The Sloop

Also in Porthgain is The Sloop, a pub dating back to to the early twentieth century. Expect traditional pub grub with loads of fresh fish, including Porthgain crab. 

The Bench ice cream parlour


Formerly Gianni’s, the ice cream parlour in the centre of St David’s has recently had a makeover, but don’t worry, it still serves about 50 flavours of delicious, creamy, locally produced ice cream. It also does dairy-free ice cream AND ice cream for dogs (seriously). 

Whitesands beach

No trip to St Davids is complete without a trip to Whitesands. Gorgeous cliff-top walks, surf and sand. It has a truck selling delicious local ice creams at the bottom of the car park and the cafe at the top does very good coffee (important).


Also……

The city of St Davids is a must-visit, obviously. Have a walk around the cathedral, grab some fudge at the cathedral chocolate shop and buy a quarter of rhubarb and custards at Y Siop Loshin. Oh and the fresh pasties and sausage rolls at the St Davids Deli are immense. There’s also a small market every Thursday which is worth a visit. Stock up on more fudge, locally-made honey, vegan cakes, homemade quiches and knitted sheep. Yes, it’s eclectic! 

We stayed at Lleithyr Meadow caravan park in St David’s. This is an honest review of our trip. Everything was paid for by us and none of the places I’ve mentioned were aware we’d be blogging about them.