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.

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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 – 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.

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

Follow me on Instagram @CardiffGirlBlog 

Afternoon tea at Pettigrew Tearooms, Cardiff

It’s been a while since I’ve done an afternoon tea post, probably because I’ve tried most places in Cardiff now. But judging by the searches that lead people to visit my blog (‘afternoon tea Cardiff’ is consistently the most-searched term) afternoon tea is still as popular as ever. 

My lovely Auntie bought me a voucher for afternoon tea for two at Pettigrew Tea Rooms for my birthday, so we took advantage of it earlier this month, when we had a rare free Saturday. (No kids parties to attend – whoopee!)

Afternoon tea at Pettigrew Tearoom, Cardiff

Pettigrew Tearooms in Bute Park opened in 2012 and has been popular ever since. Set inside the West Lodge in the Castle Walls, at the entrance to Bute Park, it’s a unique and beautiful setting.

The interior is cute and quirky, with authentic tiling on the floor, copious amounts of bunting and dainty mismatched vintage china.

We pre-booked for afternoon tea and the place was rammed, including a hen do. Afternoon tea definitely seems to have become a pre-bridal staple activity.

Banana and passion fruit cake at Pettigrew tearoom, Cardiff
Scones and a pot of earl grey at Pettigrew tearoom

The afternoon tea is £15.45 per person, which includes finger sandwiches (you choose your fillings on the day and there are plenty of vegetarian options), scones (again you can choose plain or fruit) and a slice of cake of your choice. I went for the banana and passion fruit cake, which was recommended by our waitress and it was yummy! Decadent yet light. I could eat another slice of that right now…..

The afternoon tea is also accompanied by a pot of tea of your choice. I really wanted the lavender Earl Grey but they don’t do it any more *sad face* so I went for the regular Earl Grey, which was delicious. 

Both six-year-old J and F who’s almost two came along for tea and both enjoyed the experience too, the staff were really welcoming. 

Toddler F enjoying her first ever afternoon tea!

My only tiny gripe is that the manager was rather rude when I said I only had my gift voucher displayed on my phone and hadn’t actually printed it out (hello, it’s 2017). So word of warning, take your voucher with you if you have one! 

If afternoon tea is your thing, read my post on the best places for afternoon tea in Cardiff. 

www.pettigrew-tearooms.com

I was given my afternoon tea for two as a birthday gift. We paid in full for all additional extras and the staff at Pettigrew were not aware I’d be blogging about them. 

A birthday treat – afternoon tea at Restaurant James Sommerin, Penarth

A few weeks ago it was my birthday. Hooray! Being pregnant and having suffered awful sickness for the last few months I was definitely in need of a treat. Luckily, I’d booked for us to have afternoon tea at the new Restaurant James Sommerin in Penarth and couldn’t wait! 

I started the day off with a fabulous manicure and pedicure at Enerchi in Radyr, before heading over to Penarth.  

 

Penarth is lovely for a poke-around and I dragged my husband Gavin into copious gift shops before heading down to the sea front, where the restaurant is located, overlooking the gorgeous Penarth pier. 

For those who don’t know, James Sommerin is a renowned chef, who’s appeared on TV shows such as the Great British Menu and was well known for holding Wales’ only Michelin star for a time at the Crown at Whitebrook. His new restaurant in Penarth opened last year and offers daily tasting menus as well as afternoon tea. The champagne afternoon tea is usually £25pp but we had a really good deal through Travelzoo meaning it was £29 for two people. Bargain! As an aside I’d really recommend following the local deals on Travelzoo, I’ve taken advantage of some great offers including dinners at Chapel 1877 and a weekend away at The Corran in Laugharne. Unlike some voucher websites the Travelzoo offers seem to be genuine experiences of the restaurant/hotel, rather than special cheap menus that are specifically put on. 

So, we arrived at James Sommerin at 3pm and were shown to our table in the minimalist dining room. The restaurant was pretty busy with people still finishing their lunchtime tasting menus and others who’d arrived for afternoon tea. We were each given a cold glass of champagne before the sandwiches were brought to the table, in a really quirky picnic hamper. 

 
The sandwich selection was pretty standard; ham, smoked salmon, cheese and chutney and a very pretty cucumber sandwich. Each was chock-full of what certainly seemed like top-quality ingredients, the ham and salmon for example were really thick tasty slabs of filling. There was also a yummy homemade sausage roll. For Gavin, there was an excellent selection of vegetarian sandwiches including a goats cheese on filo cracker and a rather strange sweetcorn panna cotta, which wasn’t not nice, but unlike anything I’d ever tried before.

Teas and coffees were served with the cake tray, which I always prefer (who wants a cup of tea and a sandwich?! Much better with the cake!) but the ladies on the next table seemed most put-out to be told having their tea up front wasn’t the done thing in this particular restaurant! The tea selection was a little lacking (I think the selection was breakfast, earl grey or Assam; I would’ve liked some green tea or herbal options) but the earl grey was nice and strong. Gavin said his coffee wasn’t the best but it was fine. The strange thing was that they took the pot of tea and coffee away and we had to call the waiter to ask him to bring it back for a top up. It wasn’t a problem really but the ladies on the table next to us seemed quite frustrated at having to flag the waiter down each time. They were obviously huge tea drinkers! 

 
We soon forgot any tea issues with the arrival of the cakes. Wow. They were really something special. A rather dense scone with a much too-small portion of cream and jam was more than compensated for with the other sweet offerings; light and spicy carrot cakes, deliciously warm welsh cakes, praline eclairs, prune macarons,    decadent chocolate mousse and our highlights; the white chocolate and toasted coconut truffles and the bubblegum panna cottas (the latter is a real crowd-divider according to the waiter!)

  
When we’d finished our food we went for a lovely stroll along the pier, the perfect way to finish a nice treat. 

   
 

We even had time to pop into another gift shop, the lovely Shore, which is right next door to James Sommerin, where I picked up a gorgeous summery coconut candle. 

 
Overall I’d definitely recommend the afternoon tea at James Sommerin. Even without the deal we had, I think £25pp is good value for what is quite a special treat. It’s not a laid-back, informal experience but it’s definitely more interesting than your usual afternoon tea. Having visited James Sommerin I’m keen to go back. Next time I hope I’ll try the tasting menu!

James Sommerin Restaurant, The Esplanade, Penarth CF64 3AU

www.jamessommerinrestaurant.co.uk

We paid in full for the Travelzoo deal for afternoon tea and neither James Sommerin or Travelzoo knew I’d be blogging about them. 

Review – afternoon tea at Cathedral 73

My friend Hayley and I love afternoon tea and it’s become a festive tradition that we always get together for afternoon tea before Christmas. We’ve tried most places in Cardiff so we’re always on the lookout for somewhere new to try.

I work on Cathedral Road and noticed a new place had opened at Number 73. Unsure if it was a B&B, bar or restaurant, a quick Google search revealed it is all of the above, also serving afternoon tea. Result!

I booked us in for a Saturday in December, a welcome respite from the madness of the Christmas preparations.

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We were really impressed with the interior when we arrived, it’s clean, minimalistic and classy, while still looking welcoming. We opted for a cosy table tucked behind the piano in the bar, near the fire, although the orangerie at the back also looked lovely.

We were given the usual choice of tea and I went for my favourite, the Earl Grey, which was good. Top ups were offered for no charge and we both went for a second while we were there.

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The food itself was a very good standard, finger sandwiches stacked full of lovely fillings (the usual; cheese and chutney, salmon and cream cheese, cucumber and ham). The scones with cream and jam were fine but were completely overshadowed by the festive top tier of miniature cakes; gingerbread biscuits, mini mince pies, mini Yule logs and a decadent chocolate liqueur truffle.

Overall I would describe this as a refined and classy afternoon tea. I’ve already been back to Cathedral 73 for lunch which was to the same standard and the delicious looking breakfast/brunch is next on my list. It’s a good job I only work a few doors down!

You can read about more places serving afternoon tea in Cardiff here.

www.cathedral73.com
029 2023 5005
73 Cathedral Road, Cardiff CF11 9HE

The afternoon tea at Cathedral 73 cost £15.80.

We paid in full for our meals and Cathedral 73 did not know I was planning to blog about them.

Afternoon tea at Barker Tea House

When I recently updated my post on the best places for afternoon tea in Cardiff, a few people on Twitter were astounded that Barker Tea House in High Street Arcade wasn’t included.

It wasn’t for any other reason than I hadn’t had the chance to try it yet, but have wanted to for a while. So Mother’s Day was the perfect opportunity.

I like Coffee Barker, Barker Tea’s sister coffee shop in Castle Arcade, so knew I should expect a relaxed atmosphere, vintage touches, quirky but delicious food and hipster staff. That’s exactly what you get a Barker Tea House too – in fact some staff are so cool and stand-offish that they come across as a bit rude at times. But not to worry, we were soon sat at a table upstairs, which had been reserved for us (you have to book for afternoon tea) and were given our comprehensive tea menus. I went for the green chai, which was a lovely spiced tea, as you’d expect from chai, but much lighter with the green tea base.

Green chai tea at Barker Tea House
Green chai tea at Barker Tea House

My husband had the gunpowder green tea, which he says was nice and not at all bitter as some green teas can be, while our toddler had a steamed milk with chocolate sprinkles, which of course went down a treat.

Then the afternoon teas arrived and they were immense! I was shocked at how large they were. Sandwiches, two scones, a huge slab of cake, a flapjack, a caramel shortbread and two brownies and that was per person, not between two! It was a shame we weren’t given a choice of which cake we had as the largest cake on the top tier, not sure if this is standard or just because Mother’s Day was busy, but I would’ve liked to choose my favourite. As it was I was given the carrot and my husband the chocolate and violet. More on that later….

Afternoon tea at Barker Tea House
Afternoon tea (for one person!) at Barker Tea House

The sandwiches were delicious, really stuffed full with what you could tell are great quality ingredients and they were a decent size too. Each cake was rich and delicious and an honourable mention must go to the chocolate and violet cake, which was incredibly decadent.

Chocolate and violet cake at Barker Tea House
Chocolate and violet cake at Barker Tea House

If anything, the whole offering was a little too rich for me. Without anything fruity and light to lift the plate, it began to feel quite heavy after a while. We ended up taking five cakes home as we couldn’t finish it all (and that was with our son sharing the teas with us) and although I’d rather complain about having too much food, rather than not enough, it seemed quite excessive. If you’re looking for a refined celebratory experience, somewhere like the Celtic Manor or St David’s Hotel might be more suitable. If you want a lazy afternoon getting stuffed, then Barker it is!

I will definitely be going back to Barker Tea House. The atmosphere and food is great, relaxed and quirky and their tea selection had plenty more I’d like to try. Next time I go there for afternoon tea, I’ll make sure not to eat for a few days before perhaps!

If you liked this post, check out my post on the best afternoon teas in Cardiff and beyond.

I take afternoon tea very seriously
I take afternoon tea very seriously!

Barker Tea House

www.barkerteahouse.co.uk

High Street Arcade, CF10 1BB

029 2034 1390

We paid in full for afternoon tea and Barker Tea House were not aware I would be blogging about them.