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. 

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Review – Hokkei, Cardiff

You’ve probably heard of Hokkei box. The Asian takeaway, brainchild of MasterChef finalists Dale and Larkin, opened with lots of hype at the end of 2014.

Their plan was to reinvent the takeaway, bringing authentic asian flavours to Cardiff, using the best ingredients. You’ll find no MSG here.

I’ve wanted to try it since it opened, so a family night in with a film (The Lego Movie – it was the little man’s choice) was a good opportunity.

The menu is lovely and simple, you can order a box (consisting of a main, side, an extra and some dim sum) or choose off the menu. I love this idea, as one of my favourite things about getting a takeaway is all the additional nibbles you get on the side.

Our Hokkei boxes
Our Hokkei boxes

We went for a Genie Box; Aubergine and Tofu coconut curry, egg fried rice, edamame and veggie spring rolls (£13.25) and a Tokyo box; chicken katsu curry, steamed rice, spicy asian slaw and triple cooked crispy beef (£13.45) and added extras such as Thai Crackers (£1.50), Chunky Chips (£2.50) and some salt and pepper tofu (£4.95). There were three of us sharing this after all!

We called to order but were dissapointed to find they don’t deliver as far as Radyr. Still, we had our hearts set on it, so one pleading look at Gavin and he was in the car faster than you could say ‘spicy asian slaw’.

The journey from Crwys Road to Radyr did mean that the food was slightly tepid when he got home, but a quick blast in the microwave and it was fine.
Hokkei chicken katsu curry, rice and triple cooked crispy beef
Hokkei chicken katsu curry, rice and triple cooked crispy beef
But there was so much food! The dim sum portions were huge, particularly the salt and pepper tofu and the crispy beef, they were almost as big as the main dishes and there was more than enough for all three of us. We were left with plenty of leftovers (tip, the triple cooked crispy beef tasted even better warmed up the next day….which I guess makes it quadruple cooked).
The flavours were so good. We’re fans of places like the Crispy Duck, Ichiban and Wagamama, so the authentic flavours weren’t hugely surprising, but all their meat is responsibly sourced and you could tell that the chicken was of a very high quality and not dry at all, as katsu often can be. If your regular chinese takeaway consists of deep fried chicken balls, MSG-laden curry sauce and stale tasting prawn crackers, this could be a real eye opener and I’m convinced the quality ingredients make it a healthier option.
Hokkei Asian slaw, edamame beans and thai crackers
Hokkei Asian slaw, edamame beans and thai crackers
The toddler loved the chicken katsu curry, the edamame and the rice. He wanted to like the Thai crackers and kept asking for more, but really he found them a bit too spicy (or ‘spiky’ as he said). I didn’t even try him on the beef as it had a real chilli hit, which I love, but a bit much for the little man. The chips were good – they had a real ‘chips from the chinese’ flavour too.
The entire order came to £35.85, which I thought was reasonable for the huge amount we ordered.
I just hope they start delivering to Radyr soon!
 Hokkei
92 Crwys Road, Cardiff CF24 4NP
029 2233 1400

http://hokkei.co.uk

We paid in full for our takeaway and Hokkei did not know I’d be blogging about them.