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.

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. 

Review – Cafe Citta, Cardiff

Cafe Citta doesn’t look like much, it’s a tiny restaurant seating around 30 people located on Church Street, next to the old Berlins nightclub (remember the drinks roulette? More Barcardi Breezers than you could shake a stick at!). 

I’ve eaten there a couple of times but G never has. I expect he was sick of hearing me go on about it, so we booked a table for my birthday meal last Saturday. 

For starters we shared the Polenta Con Dolcelatte (£5) – slabs of corn maize topped with melted dolcelatte cheese.

Polenta and dolcelatte at Cafe Citta, Cardiff

For the main course I went for my favourite Linguine alla puttanesca with prawns (which I think was around £11) while G had the ricotta pizza (Again it was around the £10 mark) made fresh in their wood fired pizza at the open kitchen at the back of the restaurant. 

Linguine Puttanesca and ricotta pizza at Cafe Citta, Cardiff

It would’ve been a travesty not to go for dessert; a Tiramisu for me and an Affogato for G.  

Tiramisu and affogato at Cafe Citta, Cardiff

Cafe Citta is a proper family-run Italian. Don’t expect any airs or graces; staff are lovely and friendly, food absolutely delicious, decor cluttered and if you want to use the loo, you’ve got to go outside to the office next door! But this all adds to its charm. 

For three courses each, a large glass of wine and a beer the bill was still only £45. Bargain. 

cafecitta.com

We paid in full for our meals and drinks at Cafe Citta and the restaurant was not aware I would be blogging about them. 

Breakfast at Porro, Wellfield Road

I remember the first time I had pizza for breakfast. It was in Disney World, Florida. The thought of eating pizza! For breakfast! So decadent. Also on the breakfast menu that day was ice cream and M&Ms, which gives you an idea of the audience they were catering to. 

I’ve eaten pizza for breakfast since then, of course. Cold pizza that’s been curling in the box overnight probably isn’t the best hangover cure but it certainly saw me through a few Sunday mornings in my twenties. 

It’s never been something I really wanted to eat for breakfast though. Until now. Now I’ve tried the breakfast calzone at Porro, Wellfield Road. It’s opened up a whole new world of dough and cheese before midday. 

Americano at Porro, Wellfield Road, Cardiff
 

We both started with a very good strong Americano, and I ordered the vegetarian calzone (£6.95) with extra avocado, because who doesn’t love avo on their breakfast these days?! 

Breakfast calzone at Porro, Wellfield Road

G had eggs royale, with smoked salmon instead of the usual eggs benedict ham, (£6.95) and ordered extra avocado too.

Eggs Royale at Porro, Cardiff
The calzone was epic, absolutely huge and chock full of spinach, mozzarella, tomatoes and leeks. They also do a meaty version with Italian sausage. 

It was huge, but so delicious that I cleared my plate completely.


I really enjoyed having something a bit different for breakfast. G said his more traditional brunch dish of eggs royale was lovely too, and no sign of that cloying rubbery hollandaise you get in some places. 

Porro is well worth a visit.

We were invited for a free breakfast at Porro, in exchange for an honest review. 

www.porrocardiff.com 

If breakfast is your favourite meal of the day as well, you might also enjoy my other reviews here and here

Greek dining at the Hellenic Eatery

If you follow me on Instagram you’ll have seen that I went for a delicious Greek feast at the Hellenic Eatery last week. 

My lovely friends Kath and Nikki and I are always up for trying new places to eat in Cardiff. We’d seen a few other bloggers posting about Hellenic and it looked yummy, so we decided it would be our next catch-up destination.

We booked a table, even though we weren’t sure we would need to, being a cold Thursday night on Crwys Road, but it was a good job we did – the place was packed! They were actually turning people away. 

The restaurant is extremely casual, it’s a no-frills place and other diners ranged from couples, families with young children and groups of friends. It had a really nice neighbourhood vibe. The glass front of the restaurant opens right onto the street though, so it was a little chilly. Serves me right for wearing a short-sleeved top on a chilly February evening. 


We started off with a couple of dishes to share. The mixed dips with pitta bread ‘Tzatzikohoumotyrokafteri’ (£6.50) was my favourite dish of the night, a solid tzatziki and delicious authentic hummus was joined by kafteri – a dip of feta and peppers. I’d never tried kafteri before and it was really good, I’m definitely going to try recreating this at home. We had to ask for extra pitta bread to mop it all up. 

We also shared some Kolokithia – fried courgettes served with more tzatziki (£4.30).


On to mains and I went for The Cypriot salad (£7.00). Spinach, grilled peppers and tomatoes, grilled halloumi with sesame seeds and a honey dressing. Delicious. Kath and Nikki both went for the pitta wraps, which they said were yummy, but possibly a bit of a bread overload, considering the extra pittas we’d eaten with our starter. In hindsight, we should’ve just gone for a load of sharing plates and created our own mezze. Next time…..

I’m also keen to head back with the kids. I know five-year-old J would love the pitta wraps stuffed with meat and chips! 

We paid in full for our meals plus tip at the Hellenic Eatery and the restaurant wasn’t aware I’d be blogging about them. 

www.thehelleniceatery.co.uk

The Pickled Radish, Llandaff

Earlier this week I had the most delicious dinner at The Pickled Radish in Llandaff. 

If you read my last post, you’ll know that I went there for lunch last week and had an amazing Welsh rarebit mac and cheese.  A couple of friends and I already had a table booked for this week and after seeing the menu last week I was so excited to return. 

This time we started off with a plate of olives before ordering the lobster pie (£17.50) for my main. If I’m honest I spied this last time and knew I’d order it before I even looked at the menu. Lobster, haddock and salmon in a creamy sauce, topped with truffle puff pastry and accompanied by a cheesy mash – it was as delicious as it sounds.

Delicious lobster pie at The Pickled Radish, Llandaff

My friends both ordered the burger which they said was really tasty too. I don’t think there was a crumb left on our plates. Although they weren’t served on plates, they were served on wooden boards. Jay Rayner would be horrified. 

For dessert we all went for the maple glazed popcorn brownie with salted caramel dressing (£7.25). It was lush. Decadent and gooey and the presentation was fab, (almost) too good to eat.  It was topped with what looked like micro salad leaves, but the waitress told us it was ‘lemon balm’, a refreshing lemon-flavour herb. Yum.
 

Decadent chocolate popcorn brownie at The Pickled Radish, Cardiff
 

I’ve really enjoyed the food, service and atmosphere both times I’ve been to The Pickled Radish now. I’m already planning my next visit.

We paid in full for our meals at The Pickled Radish and the restaurant wasn’t told I’d be blogging about them.