Tuesday, 21 June 2011


“Recipes from around the world, food from around the corner” – this slogan sums up the philosophy of the Milgi Lounge on City Road, Cardiff. Coined in-house, I am told, this concise manifesto hangs prominently by the kitchen.

There is much creative riffing on world cuisine using local ingredients: Asian Tofu Salad, Blackeye Bean Burger, Cinnamon French Toast, Indian Scrambled Eggs, Mexican Bean Quesadilla and Milgi Falafel. Today's specials included Spiced Lentil and Spinach Soup, and Butter Beans and Tomato in Dill Sauce.

The food in Milgi is 100% vegetarian, so don’t go expecting steak and chips. The sausages on the breakfast menu, and with the mash, are therefore all vegetarian. Chef Simon is committed to 100% Vegetarian after customers voted meat off the menu in a poll last year. There is a Veggie Roast Dinner and currently a Thali Summer Sunday (two vegetarian curries and all the accompaniments on one plate). Sourcing is local, ethical and organic. Fruit and vegetables are supplied by Blaencamel Organic Farm and organic Calon Wen is the default milk.

The eclectic home-cooking vibe is complemented by the décor, which is quirky/hippy. A lounge area (settees and turntables) at the front leads past the counter to the café area. There's jolly plastic tablecloths, a mounted deer’s head (wood, appropriately), garish 1970s-style oil paintings, Russian dolls and other travellers-presents bric-a-brac. It’s cluttered, but in a pleasant, witty and homely sort of way.

Milgi opened in 2006 with the aim of bringing together food, drink, music and art under one roof. Actually, it’s two roofs now, because in the garden, along with outside beer-garden tables, is the magnificent Milgi Yurt. This cozy and surprisingly spacious tent is home to a range of events. Supper and Storytelling is on the third Tuesday of the month (guest storyteller and harpist tonight), for example, while the Supper Club is a sociable dining event with a different theme each month (June's is Murder Mystery). There is also Life Drawing in the Yurt and the Art Club (curry served).

DJs provide the soundtrack for the Milgi Lounge - in the evenings when the place turns into a bar (and at other times via playlists). After enjoying the background music selection at lunchtime I checked out the website, which gives access to Milgi Lounge playlists and podcasts. I'm listening to the excellent Early June Playlist as I write this (“Lounge Chillout Downtempo”).

I enjoyed my sandwich and coffee today, and will certainly return to explore the meal menu and one of the events. Can’t believe it was only my first visit to Milgi. Six months blogging about affordable and local food in Cardiff, and I’m still only skimming the surface!


Milgi, 213 City Road, Cardiff CF24 3JD

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