Monday, 31 March 2014

March 2014 Digested

Spring has sprung and new produce is on the way. Crab, Jersey Royals and Spring Greens will be coming to a menu near you soon! Plenty of news and openings to talk about so here's the news for March...

  • In February's Digested I reported on a new opening planned for Saundersfoot, Coast Restaurant brought to you by the team at The Grove in Narberth. This month came the exciting news that Will Holland, formerly of La Becasse Ludlow had been appointed Head Chef when plans for his own restaurant fell through. Opening is currently planned for April 14th.
  • The Gravity Station, a small but perfectly formed craft ale bar and shop opened on Barrack Lane, handily positioned for a few post work beers and a burger at The Grazing Shed. Check the opening times though because their licensing is a tiny bit restrictive. 
  • Following a popular pop-up run at The Canadian in Splott, Got Beef opened in their permanent home on Whitchurch Road.
  • Anyone who has been to a festival in the last decade will already be familiar with Pie Minister. And by familiar I mean have had their festival more or less rescued by beer mopping Mothership. If you don't know what I'm talking about, get yourself to their new shop on St Mary Street for pie, mash, gravy and minted peas pronto.
  • While we're on the subject of festivals, Abergavenny, the granddaddy of food festivals in Wales will be hosting its first evening festival. Early bird stroller tickets go on sale at 2012 prices from Monday the 7th of April.
  • Nomad Restaurant had its inaugural dinner at the Clytha Arms on the 30th March and the food looked amazing. I say looked because I missed it but the pictures looked tantalising. Follow @nomadcardiff for details of the next event. 
  • And last, but by no means least, The Discovery opened in Cyncoed to general approval all round. For photos from the preview evening go here.

Dates for the diary

April 8th, Bar 44 in Penarth are holding a Calçotada. 'A what?' I hear you say. Take a look at this for the lowdown of what you might expect

April 14th, Coast Restaurant in Saundersfoot due to open

Late April, Restaurant James Sommerin due to open, exact date TBC

Saturday, 22 March 2014

Poles Apart - Y Polyn, Nantgaredig restaurant review

It has taken me over a year to make it to Y Polyn. I've been thwarted by snow (twice), car trouble and a mistimed attempt on Mothering Sunday, but I finally made the trip and I'm pleased to say that although it was worth the wait I'm kicking myself that I left it quite so long. The restaurant is run by husband and wife team, Sue and Mark Mason who have a thriving business out here in deepest, darkest, loveliest, Carmarthenshire.

The menu name drops plenty of quality Welsh produce (Pantysgawn cheese, Carmarthen ham and saltmarsh lamb) and there is sufficient choice to demand a stiff gin and tonic before I could order. This is food for getting stuck into so bring your appetite.

I had been warned about the bread, and the sea salt and rosemary crusted white was something special.

Bread at Y Polyn

A starter of wild rabbit tagliatelle was lip smackingly, deeply savoury and pan fried scallops with just a hint of fivespice accompanied by shards of crisp Carmarthen ham and a celariac puree.

Wild rabbit ragu at Y Polyn

Scallops at Y Polyn

Dovey Estuary saltmarsh lamb was served pink with a confit breast and a pungent onion, garlic and thyme puree.

Saltmarsh lamb at Y Polyn

Whole lemon sole was simply fried and swimming in a beurre noisette and brown shrimp.

Whole lemon sole at Y Polyn

Crème brûlée is my ultimate dessert and this did not disappoint. I often find my heart sinking when I see it on a menu, so many restaurants feel the need to mess about with it adding lavender or Earl Grey.

Don't. This is how it should be.

Creme brulee at Y Polyn

A fun yet grown-up knickerbocker glory produced a huge smile from my friend who grinned pretty much all the way to the bottom.

I might be late to the game, but I really liked Y Polyn and this is my kind of food. Quality ingredients, economically presented; by which I mean that nothing superfluous makes it on to the plate. No twiddly bits and no gimmicks. Special mention has to go to the front of house team who run the dining room casually yet professionally. I relax because they are relaxed and I honestly can't think when I've enjoyed a dinner this much.

I don't think it will be long before I'm back. In fact, anyone fancy a mini bus trip out West sometime soon?

Y Polyn

Y Polyn
Capel Dewi, Carmarthen SA32 7LH
01267 290000

Twitter: @ypolyn

Friday, 7 March 2014

The Discovery - Launch night

Last night I went along to preview the latest offering from Knife and Fork Food, The Discovery in Cyncoed which is just a stone's throw from Roath. Opening night is tonight (Friday 7th March) and I'm pleased to report that they've done a smashing job with the refurb, tastefully decorated in shades of stone and slate and punctuated with Eames style teal chairs, there are fires and plenty of comfortable seating. Here are a few photographs from the evening...

Eating area at The Discovery
Eating area at The Discovery
The bar team at The Discovery
The bar team
The bar at The Discovery
The bar area
Blackboard menu at The Discovery
Blackboard menu which will change regularly

And here's the food that we tried, the menu and food style will be familiar to customers of The New Conway and The Pilot.
Flame grilled mackerel at The Discovery, Cardiff
Flame grilled mackerel
Crispy Aromatic Duck Egg at The Discovery Cardiff
Crispy Aromatic Duck Egg

Ox cheek chilli con carne - serious umami hit!
Ox Cheek Chilli Con Carne - a serious umami hit!

Discover the burger - a pork and beef patty
Discover the burger - a pork and beef patty
Plank of Pig - exactly as it sounds, plenty of crackling and black pudding.
Plank of Pig - exactly as it sounds, plenty of crackling and black pudding.

Snickers tart - one for the sweets lovers, very rich and gooey
Baked Alaska - well retro!
Baked Alaska - well retro and very pretty

The Discovery
Celyn Avenue, Lakeside, Cyncoed, Cardiff, CF23 6FH
Tel: 02920 755 015

Twitter: @thediscoverypub

Sunday, 2 March 2014

February 2014 Digested

February has been wet and wild but there are encouraging signs that Spring is on the way which means carpets of daffodils, the end of the season for leeks, and Pancake Day which in my house involves caramelised banana and Chantilly cream. In South Wales news has been brisk with some new openings to note for the month.
  • A new restaurant is to open at Coppet Hall Beach, Saundersfoot and will be run by Neil Kedward and Zoe Agar, the couple responsible for The Grove at Narbeth. Coast will offer seafood and stunning beach views and is planned to open this Spring. The actual date is to be confirmed but this will be an exciting launch.
    • Former Oscars of Cardiff head chef John Cook has reopened as Arbennig Restaurant on the same site in Pontcanna.
    • On the 23rd of February longtime Cardiff Bay independent Woods closed its doors for the last time. Parent co Knife and Fork Food cited the changing nature of the Bay area as the main reason for the move. I'll miss Woods and I'm seriously hoping that the Pilotage Building doesn't end up housing another chain restaurant.
    • While we're on the subject of Woods, former chef Andy Aston has taken a 3 year lease on Brains pub The Kings Arms in Pentyrch following the exit of Otley Brewers.
    • Vegetarian favourite Canteen on Clifton Street, faced with the opportunity of buying the building, are raising money by selling shares at £80. They are also looking for structural engineers and builders interested in bartering services in exchange for food or cookery lessons. If this is you, get in touch with the restaurant direct.
    • Bryn Williams wrote this interesting piece for the FT naming his five favourite places to eat in Wales.
    • And finally, shouty 'sleb chef Gordon Ramsay has confirmed that he will be competing in Ironman Wales which takes place in Tenby later this year.

    Dates for the diary

    March 3rd - 8th, The Fig Tree Penarth welcomes back guest chef David Tomlinson and the return of their vegetarian week

    March 7thThe Discovery, the latest addition to Knife and Fork Food opens in Cyncoed

    March 14th, Just the one date for  Pop-tŷ this month, first come first served!

    March 3rd, 17th and 31st The Meating Place has launched a series of dates through March 'A Taste of...' starting with South Africa, Ireland and Australia. 

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