Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Out On The Water Coast - Cote Bistro Cardiff, review

My frustrations with certain elements of Cardiff Bay have been well documented. While no one can deny the popularity and commercial success of this regenerated area I cannot help but regret that quite so much of the docks has been demolished. With the notable exception of the stunning Port Authority building, the few examples of interesting architecture that remain are largely boarded up and neglected.

Mermaid Quay in particular, is so architecturally bland, and stuffed full of chains, that you could be in absolutely any UK town on the coast. In any case, enough of my complaining, because there is at least one good reason to visit and that is Cote Bistro. It may be a chain, and there will always be haters who take issue with it purely on that basis, but it is actually rather good, and having eaten there on  4 or 5 occasions, I can also say with some confidence that it is consistently good.

Cote dining room, Cardiff
Cote dining room
The dining room is understated but clearly French, with leather banquettes, glass, dark wood, marble and globe lights dangling from the ceiling. Happily the designers have stayed on the right side of pastiche.

Tomate Breton Cote restaurant, Cardiff
Tomate Breton
The menu is classic French, fairly simple, and unashamedly crowd pleasing, everyone is well catered for including vegetarians. A starter of Tomates Breton (£5.85) is generous and satisfying. Sweet juicy tomatoes, perfectly seasoned and accompanied by runny, herbed goats cheese saturated a slab of sourdough bread.

Melon and Parma Ham, Cote restaurant, Cardiff
Melon and Parma Ham, classic for a reason
From the specials, seasonally ripe Melon and Parma Ham (£5.95) is decent and happily no attempts have been made to twiddle with the winning combination.

Salmon fishcakes, with spinach salad and a dill and mustard sauce, Cote Cardiff
Salmon fishcakes, with spinach salad and a dill and mustard sauce
A main of Salmon Fishcakes (£10.50) featured pleasingly chunky patties of potato and salmon, and was made more than the sum of its parts thanks to a sharp dill and wholegrain mustard sauce.

The second main of Fish Parmentier (£11.95) was a slightly mean portion but was smooth and comforting.

Fish Parmentier, Cote restaurant, Cardiff
Fish Parmentier
The service at Cote is charming, friendly and competent and they cater very well for solo diners, of whom there seem to be a number of regulars. Every table is delivered an earthenware bottle of water on arrival and were it not for the irritating habit of automatically adding the tip to the bill (just sod off, I am perfectly capable of deciding on my own tip thanks) I would have moved on to the theatre 100% happy.

Cote Restaurant
25 Mermaid Quay, Cardiff Bay, Cardiff  CF10 5BZ
029 2045 3780

Web: http://www.cote-restaurants.co.uk/Index.html

Cote Bistro on Urbanspoon
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