Showing posts with label Pub. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Pub. Show all posts

Saturday, 9 February 2013

Cellar Funk - The Lansdowne Pub, Cardiff

The British pub is in decline, figures from The Campaign for Real Ale show that they are closing at a rate of 12 a week. Conversely other figures show that Real Ale is growing in popularity for the first time in 20 years, particularly in community pubs that focus on 'wet sales'. Here in Cardiff we have a prime example in 'new old pub', The Landsdowne.

Purchased 3 years ago by The Chameleon Group (The Meating Place, North Star, Vulcan Lounge et al), the upper floors have been converted into flats. The Chameleon Group has a track record of breathing new life into interesting and neglected buildings, and in a town that has a reputation for demolishing beautiful architecture and replacing it with steel and glass homogeneity (cf. St Davids 2, 97% of Cardiff Bay), this is to be valued.

Following public opposition to the original plans, the ground floor has been reopened as a rather marvellous pub by Spoon Cardiff Ltd, the directors of which include local councillor Cerys Furlong, and the team behind The Potted Pig Tom Furlong, Alexis Myring and Gwyn Myring.

The bar at The Lansdowne Cardiff
The bar at The Landsdowne complete with
cheery jugs of daffodils
I finally have a good pub within walking distance of my front door and I've made several visits to The Lansdowne since it reopened. It is testament to what can be done when free of the often choking hold of a brewery. Just as with Chapter on the other, posher side of Cowbridge Road East, the bar offers an interesting and changing line up of ales, lagers and ciders. 

On my last visit there was an ale from Okells brewery, one from Tomos Watkin, Cwrw Celt and Cwtch from Tiny Rebel micro brewery. Last weekend, having left it late to book somewhere for Sunday lunch, we decided to try the local. There are no reservations, no menus, no starters here. On Sundays the brief menu is augmented by a Sunday roast. By the time we arrived at 12.30 several extended family groups had already claimed the larger tables, so we found a small table in the back bar and ordered a Homemade Burger with Chips (£6) and the Rare Topside of Beef with Roasties, Yorkshire Puds, Proper Gravy, Cauliflower Cheese (£8.95) and beers.
The simple blackboard menu at The Lansdowne Cardiff
The simple blackboard menu
The food, for the most part, is simple home cooking. The Sunday Roast along with crispy roast potatoes, simply boiled carrots and cabbage and a decent gravy. Unfortunately the slice of beef was well done, rather than the advertised 'rare' and the cauliflower cheese strangely un-cheesy.
Sunday Roast with crispy potatoes at The Lansdowne Cardiff
Sunday Roast with crispy potatoes
The burger and chips was fine but unremarkable. The patty needed seasoning and the chips not homemade which was a shame. It was exactly what you expect when paying the austerity friendly sum of £6.
Burger and chips at The Lansdowne Cardiff
Burger and chips
If all of this sounds negative, let me clarify. The food is good value and consistent with the pricing but it is not the main reason people come here. It is a sideshow to the main event which is in the cellar not the kitchen. The impression I get is that The Lansdowne wants to be a pub not a restaurant and this makes me very happy. If you want a great meal go to The Potted Pig. If you want a great pint and maybe a quick, simple Welsh faggots and peas on the side, then this is the place for you. You won't be disappointed.

The Lansdowne
Lansdowne Road, Canton, Cardiff, CF5 1PU
02920 221312

Twitter: @thelansdownepub

Monday, 3 September 2012

Deer Prudence - The Stagg Inn review

As is now traditional for my birthday, my boyfriend went in search of a convenient Michelin starred venue within reasonable distance for a slap up meal. This year he turned up The Stagg Inn, a Michelin Starred pub in Titley, Herefordshire, a mere 2 hour jaunt away (!). We booked in for dinner and to stay overnight in one of the rooms above the pub. All the Michelin starred places I had eaten at before this meal had been fairly formal 'fine dining' affairs, and given that I would rather eat my own arm than get dressed up, this sounded like my kind of place.
The Stagg Inn
The Stagg Inn

Once sat at the table we were brought some homemade salted crisps and a super sharp balsamic foam which was a fun start and certainly jolted my palette into life! A quick look at the menu and we had chosen.

To start, he had the soup, a delicately spiced curried lentil with onion bhaji. The soup was fine but the bhaji was crisp and light and I would have been very happy with a plate of those and some mango chutney.

I had the Cornish crab cake, tapenade, tomato (£8.50) which was very good. The crab cake was crispy without a hint of grease with the very strong crab nicely balanced by the tapenade and sweet tomato.

Cornish crab cake
Cornish crab cake
For main, I couldn't resist the classic Fillet of Herefordshire beef , bearnaise, watercress, mustard dressing, chips (£22.90). I ordered the fillet medium and it was a touch overdone for me, however the Bearnaise and chips were absolutely wonderful! Light, crisp and fluffy chips, the sauce rich and buttery it was hard not to lick the bowl clean.

Fillet of Herefordshire Beef
Fillet of Herefordshire Beef
Yummy chips!
Yummy chips!
He ordered the Sea bass fillet,braised fennel, coriander, dauphinoise potato (£16.90) which came with perfectly crisp skin, creamy potato and a subtle braised fennel that cut through the fish well.

Sea bass fillet with braised fennel
Sea bass fillet with braised fennel
 To finish he went for the Cinnamon doughnuts with apple puree and milkshake (all desserts at £6.50). The shake was probably the most successful component, the doughnuts were a little heavy although they did have a heady hit of cinnamon.
Cinnamon doughnuts
Cinnamon doughnuts
 I opted for the Strawberries, Black Pepper Meringue and Cream which was a sort of deconstructed Eton Mess. The meringues were melt-in-the-mouth sugariness but the black pepper was a little lost on me.
Strawberries and black pepper meringue
Strawberries and black pepper meringue

We enjoyed our visit to The Stagg Inn very much, the menu isn't particularly challenging, being full of classics as opposed to experimental gastronomy but this ties in well with the lack of pretension in the service. They seem to be very well rooted in the local community listing their suppliers on a board in the 'bar' and with a small handful of locals enjoying a pint of real ale. If I had one tiny gripe it is that I was hoping for a bit more 'pub'. In the bar area there was only one table that wasn't laid out for food and I was hoping for somewhere that we could sit and have a beer before (and after!) dinner. As it was, once we had finished eating, we shuffled off back to our room and had a whisky there instead. Such a minor point certainly didn't spoil our evening and if I was in the area again I would be very tempted to call in for a bar meal.

The Stagg Inn Titley, Kington, Herefordshire 01544 230221


Stagg Inn on Urbanspoon
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