Review – Thé Pot Bistro, Cardiff

Thé Pot has been around a while but recently moved from its old spot on Crwys Road to its new premesis on Whitchurch Road, joining solid Cardiff offerings such as Got Beef, Society Standard, The Crispy Duck and the Discount Supermarket. (Incase you don’t already know it, it looks like a bog-standard corner shop. But if you love beers and lagers, you must pop in sometime. Prepare to be amazed at the selection). Anyway, Whitchurch Road is looking up isn’t it?! *Considers moving there immediately.*

On Thursdays Thé Pot does a special offer; ‘two courses and a glass of wine for £20’, so last Thursday I met two friends for a bite to eat and a catch-up. 

I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect from Thé Pot. I’d never eaten there before and always thought of it as more of a brunch or tea and cake place. I have no idea why. In reality it’s a cosy neighbourhood bistro serving classic French dishes such as moules marinière and boeuf bourguinon, with a few Welsh-influences (Welsh lamb rump for example) and a good selection of fish and vegetarian options too.

I started with the goats cheese and beetroot verrine, which was delicious and really delicately flavoured, the goats cheese didn’t overpower it at all. My only complaint is that there wasn’t enough bread to spread it on, I ended up scooping the last bits out and eating it directly off my knife!

Beetroot and goats cheese verrine at Thé Pot, Cardiff
 For the main course I went for the very light and summery risotto with asparagus and peas. Just look at the gorgeous colours; 

Risotto at Thé Pot, Cardiff
With a glass of wine, the whole thing cost just £20. Bargain.

Thé Pot is a lovely relaxed neighbourhood bistro, with delicious food, good service and great value for money. Recommended.

We paid in full for our meals at Thé Pot Bistro and the restaurant was not aware I’d be blogging about them. 

www.thepotcafe.co.uk

My #ShopCardiff week

20130401-202333.jpg

Last week I took on the Shop Cardiff challenge.

It was a really fun week and looking at my Twitter stream, lots of people were getting involved. Here are some of my highlights;

Fitness
I’m not currently a member of a gym, when I exercise I use council-run leisure centres or independent yoga studios. So hot yoga at Elite Fitness in Fairwater on Monday and another class at Yoga Fever on Saturday wasn’t that unusual for me. However, I hadn’t been to the former since their studio relocated from the city centre to Splott a few months ago and I’d forgotten how good Sharon’s classes really were.

Eating out
This is where Shop Cardiff really came into its own. On Thursday I met up with a friend for dinner. This friend and I meet up quite regularly, so to keep costs down we usually hunt out a 2-for-1 deal or some other voucher, mostly in chain restaurants. But I suggested that on this occasion we meet at the Smoke House in Pontcanna, a new restaurant which I’d already heard good things about. I’m so glad we did. The food was perfect (see the pulled pork above – yum), the staff incredibly friendly and it wasn’t even that expensive – under £15 a head for a main course and a beer was much better than a chain deal, when you consider the service and quality of the food.

I also ventured back to Pontcanna on the Saturday night with my husband, for dinner at Fish at 85. Again the quality of the food and the service was a cut above what you’d expect in a chain. This meal was more pricey, but we were celebrating my new job and his birthday so it was what we’d expect to pay for a special night out.

Shopping
This is where I fell down. Being a full-time working Mum means I stuck to my once-weekly supermarket shop, which I get delivered to the house. For convenience and price it is one thing that really helps me juggle my time.

However I made the effort to head over to Wally’s Deli for Easter chocolate treats after work one evening (my boss sent us home early on the Thursday before bank holiday – whoo hoo – otherwise it would have been closed by the time I’d got out of the office and walked there.)

I also needed to buy some birthday balloons so rather than heading to a supermarket I popped into the party supplies shop in Llandaff North at the weekend. I’ve used it before and it’s great, they’ve got loads of party stuff and its easy to park.

Others
During the week I also visited Salon Nia in Radyr for eyebrow threading and we took our little boy to Gelynis Farm for the Easter Egg Hunt, which was really fun and only £3 per child. You can see a pic of the bunny doing her thing below. Although these are both things I would have done despite it being Shop Cardiff week.

Overall I was surprised at how much it wasn’t actually that much of a challenge for me, as I regularly use independents. However where I failed during the week (supermarket shopping and two Brains pub lunches) it was purely down to convenience – particularly as I don’t work in the city centre.

What struck me is that what you get with independents is personality and customer service. When chains expand they seem to employ larger amounts of low-paid staff, who don’t really buy into the ethos of the company.

Perhaps next year I’d organise my time better and stock up on fruit, veg and food for the week at one of the Riverside markets rather than using a supermarket.

I hope Shop Cardiff continues to build on its success. I’m looking forward to #ShopCardiff2014 already.

20130401-202417.jpg

I’m taking on the #ShopCardiff challenge

I’m planning to take on the #ShopCardiff challenge next week. The challenge is to support the city’s independent retailers for a week, avoiding all chains, starting this Monday, March 25th.

You can read more about the challenge here and here.

What’s already struck me about the challenge is that it will involve some forward planning. For example I can’t think of any independent food retailers near where I work on Ocean Way in Cardiff. So I’ll have to remember to take my own lunch every day, or try and stop at an independent before work. But equally I’m looking forward to trying some new independent restaurants that I haven’t tried before.

I’ll be blogging and tweeting about the challenge throughout the week.