Friday, 19 October 2012

filini, Radisson Blu Hotel Cardiff

I went along to filini at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Cardiff this week for a ‘Taste of Italy experience’.

The new ‘Amazing Grazing’ menu has been designed to be served both in the restaurant and in the nearby bar and lounge areas.
Executive Chef Mattias Wenngren invited us into the kitchen, where he demonstrated how some of the dishes are made. He even got us cooking.
Anti pasti are served on oak boards and are for sharing. Here Mattias applies the finishing touches to a meat and vegetarian version. Ingredients include roasted vegetables (e.g., aubergine, courgette), buffalo mozzarella, sundried tomatoes, olives, rocket and parmesan. This starter is accompanied by chunks of great-tasting bread with an olive oil/balsamic vinegar dip.

This sausage dish was made using, among other things, chunks of Sardinian sausage, passata, fregola (round pasta beads from Sardinia), chicken stock, chilli flakes, toasted pine nuts and butter. Rich comfort food indeed.
The risotto had al dente rice and was topped with wild mushrooms and truffle oil; garnished with rocket and a shaving of parmesan. A small portion delivers a big hit of flavour.
Hanger beef is used as the main meat event. This cut from the underside of the animal is not often seen on restaurant menus, but is full of flavour. Here it is cooked rare and succulent, with plenty of pepper.
I helped make the two salads that accompany it. The first has onion (chopped, though it was supposed to be sliced!) in balsamic vinegar mixed with strips of roast red pepper. The other salad is grated courgette mixed with lemon juice and grated parmesan. Simple, but very effective.
On the Amazing Grazing menu you’ll also find minestrone soup, sea food (Fritto misto di mare) and desserts (including tiramisu). Caesar salad, burgers and pizza are also always available at filini (they like their lower cases).
The set price for the Amazing Grazing menu includes wine, beer or a soft drink. Prosecco is on tap – a first in Wales.
Hotel restaurants can find it difficult getting non-residents through their doors. In part, this is due to an outdated image of what constitutes restaurant food and a reluctance to negotiate hotel lobbies.
Filini specializes in a distinctive style of Italian food. The versatile Amazing Grazing menu should appeal to those who fancy some back-to-basics Italian food. And filini is not hard to find, it’s just up the stairs by the front door to the first floor.

The Amazing Grazing menu: Two courses with a drink £18.95 (three courses plus drink £22.95).
Radisson Blu, Meridian Gate, Bute Terrace, Cardiff CF10 2FL
Tel (029) 2045 4777

All food and drink kindly provided free of charge by Radisson Blu.

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