Friday, 1 February 2013

Pontcanna 1

We are in Pontcanna, Cardiff. Walk down Romilly Road, from its junction with Llandaff Road.

On you right:

The Romilly
69-71 Romilly Crescent CF11 9NQ (2025 6345)
The Romilly Hotel is a traditional Brains pub, with a strong sense of community. It’s family-friendly and has a pub garden. There’s bar snacks, classic pub meals, Sunday roast, and vegetarian options. The tricky Pub Quiz has its own website, where you can buy past questions to help you get up-to-speed before hitting the lounge on a Sunday evening.

Pass the junction with Conway Road. On your left:

14 Romilly Crescent CF11 9NR (2037 2768)
Family-run Stefano's Ristorante Italiano has been serving Italian food with a modern twist since it opened in April 2002. Stefano Caramella and his team must be doing plenty right, as this week they were voted Best Italian Restaurant in the South Wales Echo Food & Drink Awards 2012/13. Regional Italian cuisine gets highlighted, for example, earlier this week there was a “Taste of Sardinia” night. Notable dishes include Seared scallops on a bed of sweet potato, Italian meatballs, and fishcakes. You will also find numerous pasta and pizza options, with vegetarians being well catered for. There is also a children's menu. Tuesday is live music night.

On an enjoyable visit to Stefano's in November last year, I liked the Agnello (tender lamb fillet served with pesto) as a starter, followed by the excellent Cervo al vino rosso (wild Scottish venison in a rich red wine sauce, served with polenta mash and seasonal vegetables). My partner went for a vegetarian main, with courgette, ricotta, parmesan and salad. The dishes of seasonal vegetables, which we shared, included rosemary-flavoured sweetpotato, roast potato and mushrooms. There is a take-out menu, which includes a number of their distinctive restaurant dishes, available from Mon to Sat evenings.

6-10 Romilly Crescent CF11 9NR (2034 1264)
Oscars of Cardiff opened in April 2011. Head Chef John Cook has assembled wide-ranging brunch, lunch and dinner menus. The international range lends itself to interesting fusion opportunities. On Wednesdays, Oscars put on a range of themed evenings (e.g., Vegetarian, Fish Supper, Sizzling Steak, and Burger Nights). Sundays feature roast dinners, although a range of other ‘lazy Sunday’ options are available during the afternoon. Oscars is family-friendly, and its dedicated children's menu is served until 7pm. The current evening menu includes Lamb confit, Chicken schnitzel, White bean and cauliflower curry, and Cornish crab cakes. There’s an extensive wine list. Oscars is located on the site previously occupied, from May 1998 to Feb 2011, by French restaurant Le Gallois.

I have not eaten at Oscars of Cardiff, but I have eaten recently at its older sibling - Oscars of Cowbridge. Much of the menu is the same, although the different clientele in the two places means that it is starting to diverge. My partner had one of the day’s specials: a beef and chorizo meatloaf with mashed potatoes containing feta. I had the Classic Oscars Burger, with aged beef, a popular menu item at both locations. It had a quality seeded bun, a thick moist patty, included bacon and cheese, and looked like this:

I don’t often go for the burger option, so if you want to know more about burgers in Cardiff then I recommend you seek out Gourmet Gorros’s blog. Ed Gilbert, for it is he, is looking for Cardiff’s best burger. He writes: “Oscars’ Burger is the epitome of tasteful… a burger for the refined individual.” He says he likes his burgers a little filthier, but with budget and fast-food burgers containing up to 85% meat filler and reconstituted meat slime, not to mention horsemeat additives, I’ll settle for refined!

The Fat Pig Deli
4 Romilly Crescent CF11 9NR
This café deli opened on 13 Dec 2012, next door to Oscars. In its day, La Gallois used to have a deli here; though Fat Pig Deli is a new company, owned and run by Barry Pickup and his partner Carys Simpson, so is not connected to Oscars of Cardiff. The Fat Pig serves breakfast and lunch. A range of home-made deli sandwiches, soups, stews and cakes are available to eat in or take-away. There is a Welsh and Spanish flavour to the food (e.g., Full Welsh or Spanish breakfast). You can get a Bloody Mary at 9am, croissants, or indulge yourself with American pancakes, maple syrup and bacon. I met a friend here for lunch this week. I had the Albondigas (Spanish meatballs in a roll) and he had Garlic mushrooms on toast; both no-thrills and substantial. There’s an eclectic range of tinned and bottled items at the back to browse, although I assume the impressive row of cookbooks are for their reference and not for sale.

Across the road:

5 Romilly Crescent CF11 9NP (2022 1905)
With its distinctive modern French cooking, Bully’s has carved itself a unique and much-admired niche on the Cardiff food scene since it opened in 1996. Scallops and crayfish, more unusual fish such as black bream, Welsh beef, venison, Barbary duck, and a limited number of interesting vegetarian options, feature on the menu. There are popular Food and Wine Gourmet evenings (up to 7 courses), while a lunchtime Tasting Menu has been introduced. Owner Russell Bullimore previously wrote with intent on a 2012 menu that "you can have fried foie gras on anything". There is a notable wine list, with suggested wines for each dish on the menu. It’s small and intimate; you may need to book. The quality and originality of the food on offer has garnered Bully’s a number of awards, and it was Highly Commended  in the General Restaurants section on this week’s South Wales Echo Food and Drink Awards.

On the junction of Romilly Crescent with Severn Grove, Wyndham Road, Wyndham Crescent and Severn Road:

Monk’s Bakery Coffee Shop (90-92 Severn Road CF11 9EA) is currently closed. A notice on the door states that it will reopen in September, but I guess that was last September, so things don’t look promising. Next door:

Pete’s Plaice
89-98a Wyndham Crescent CF11 9EG
Traditional small fish and chip shop, concentrating on a small menu. Pete is keeping up the fine tradition of punning fish and chip shop names in Cardiff.

Across the road:

Philip Morgan Wine Merchant
126 Wyndham Crescent CF11 9EG (2023 1450)
Philip Morgan & Sons are an off-licence selling wine, beer and spirits. Beers from Untapped Brewing Co. and other local breweries can be purchased here.

Turn left up Severn Grove.

On your right:

Robin Hood
16 Severn Grove CF11 9EN (2037 8829)
The Robin Hood Hotel was originally built in 1901 and is a traditional, relatively small, but very lively pub; with bar, lounge, beer garden (rear) and terrace (front). Pub food is served at lunchtimes and in the evening; steak and chips and other pub classics, with a mid-week curry night. There’s live music at weekends, a quiz night and other community activities, including French boules in the garden. This former Hancocks pub was once run by Charlotte Church’s mother Maria; the current landlord is Paul Careless. Brains beers on draught.

1 comment:

  1. Hey Stephen,
    We just wanted to give you a heads up that we really liked the blog, and featured your blog on our site. Have a look here:

    The Cardiffian