Musings (more like rambling thoughts) of a Cardiff based lawyer obsessed with food and wine
Update : the curse of this building strikes again with this place closing due to non viability. Mystery to me that nice place like this cant survive when piss poor place likes Jamie’ Italian and Miller & Carter do.
The beautiful building, in the centre of Cardiff, that is the Old Library has had a bit of a hex on it in terms of finding an appropriate new purpose since the library itself relocated. Such uses have included establishments selling food and drink, with the previous tenant, The Toad (a pretty odious place) quite simply failing to do this lovely building justice.
I am perhaps somewhat behind the curve in considering the latest tenant, Locke & Remedy, as it has taken me a while to write it up my thoughts (nothing new there really). Better late than never I suppose.
Anyhow the question I have pondered is “Have they stepped up to the plate and given us something this landmark building deserves”.
Of course the outside is lovely and they have (quite rightly and I suspect on pain of death planning law wise) done nothing to it bar from a modest sign under the entrance.
Inside it is a whole new ball game and it has been subject to a very extensive makeover which has given it quite a classy, think speakeasy, feel to it.
It looks and feels like a fair bit of cash has been spent on it.
I had a good nose around the place during their launch event, but wanted to give it the once over in the cold light of day (with wallet in hand as a paying punter). I, therefore, suggested it as a venue for a lunch with the usual bunch of reprobates at work. A pizza and burger joint seeming to be ideal fodder for a lads lunch.
Whilst it is owned by Marstons (which has a 1,700 plus pub portfolio), it looks nothing like a chain outlet and has very much a one-off feel to it. My kind of place.
The menu offers a choice of pizzas and burgers, sides and desserts.
I generally dislike pubs with mega sized menus and this is nicely succinct and doesn’t try too hard.
Again I like.
On the pizza front they are pleasingly not too random with the toppings (with one notable exemption) and all have ultra thin bases. Prices range from £7.95 to £12.50.
On the launch night the surprise package was a smoked mackerel, egg and prawn number.
I wasn’t at all sure about this as a pizza, but it was actually very pleasing with (wisely I think) the traditional tomato base being dispensed with and replaced with confit garlic butter. Subtly smoked mackerel on a crisp garlic butter laden base worked very well despite my initial misgivings.
Burger wise they start with the basics – a cheese burger and a maple cured bacon and cheese burger – and move up to more showy ones – with added black pudding and short rib. Thankfully nothing ridiculously wacky (i.e. no jumbo sized, donut encased, monstrosities) on there.
On our lunch time visit we all went the burger rather than the pizza route.
The beef patties here are hand made with dry aged beef (with a classic mix of chuck, brisket and flank).
They come wrapped and in a seeded bun.
I am a fan of the seeded bun and it is nice to see it used here over the all conquering brioche roll.
My cheese and bacon burger was pretty much all it should have been and I had hoped for, bar from lacking the hint of pink I like to see (we were not asked nor did we stipulate any doneness preference – I think we should have been asked but should have said when we weren’t).
A decent bun, gooey cheese, quality crisp (but not incinerated) maple cured bacon and, the main event, a very tasty patty (if a bit over for me). The decent sized patty had a nice yielding interior texture, a good exterior crust and a proper beefiness to it.
One of the better burgers currently on offer in Cardiff I would say. Similarly priced (at £8.85 – sans any side – for my cheese and bacon burger) to a Five Guys’ large cheese and bacon burger (£8.75), but infinitely better tasting and served up in much more convivial surroundings.
Others had the plain cheese burger (£7.95) – requested with no mayo and coming without it, a black pudding topped burger (£9.95)
and a buttermilk marinated southern fried chicken burger (£8.50)
All these got the thumbs up, with the latter a particularly impressive beast involving a huge hunk of crispy southern fried chicken. I have also heard very good reports about their veggie burger offering.
Sides wise (all extra), I had a voucher which entitled me to free chips/fries for a table of up to four (if have the burger or pizza, but sorry chips and pizza is just wrong hence our choice of burgers all round) and we, of course, took full advantage of this.
The chips were nice French fry style, properly seasoned, and a decent enough portion size (£2.50). They could perhaps have been a tad crisper if I was being ultra plicky. May try the parmesan ones (£3.50) next visit which sound rather nice.
Only slight bum note was a somewhat watery and not very spicy “spicy” coleslaw (£2).
Chopped too finely for my liking and as a result it was a bit meh.
They have a breakfast/brunch menu which looks interesting.
The short rib bubble and squeak, with fried eggs (£8) sounds lush, as does the maple smoked streaky bacon, poached eggs, marmite hollandaise (oooh – seriously liking the sound of that) on a muffin.
They have a strong offering on the booze front, with an extensive and inventive cocktail list and lots of craft beers
Their cocktails and beers (I had a selection of these at the launch event rather than at lunch) were fine looking and tasting.
Looking at the list, the booze is a touch on the pricey side and I do find it somewhat odd that a bottle of Meantime here (at £4.55) is seemingly more expensive that the price charged by Pitt Cue in Central London (Soho) for the same beer (£4.50). That can’t be right surely!
The wine list is short but reasonably well formed with some stuff of interest (including a decent Lebanese red and a nice Gavi – a white – from Italy). I like the fact that most wines are sold by the glass (but this does beg the question “If most are, why not do all of them by the glass?”). The reds hold more interest for me than the whites though (why two New World Sauvignon Blancs on what is a pretty short – only 6 whites on it – list?).
I would have liked to have seen some wines more suited to the pizza element of the menu (a Montepulciano d’Abruzzo or a Sangiovese based wine for your standard pizzas and an oaked chardonnay for the smoked mackerel one), but I am again being perhaps a tad picky (how unlike me!!!!) here.
As it was a work day lunch we were on the soft stuff and rather strangely they had no available soft drinks menu. This lead to the somewhat unnecessary “Have you got this? No, sorry. What about this? No, sorry not that either” etc. conversation. We settled for lemonade and Fever Tree ginger beer in the end.
Need to get a soft drinks menu sorted chaps.
I have to say I was pretty impressed with Locke & Remedy, which is very much to my liking.
The bill, with vouchers for the 4 fries and another one for a free burger (nice to see they took off the most expensive rather than the cheapest one), was £36.80.
Adding these back on takes you to over £56 for 4. Not cheap, some would say a little pricey, but I thought reasonable value all in all. A week day lunch time offer of some sort would be nice in an ideal world to lower the expenditure mid – week.
Would I go back? Definitely – good food and booze in a nice environment is pretty good in my book
A very nice place for lunch and fab for after work/weekend drinks and/or food.
Service was friendly and efficient and could not really be faulted, bar from not being asked (but we didn’t say) for burger doneness preferences.
Apologies for the somewhat epic length of this post, but it is perhaps apt it is novelette in length when about a place located in what was previously a library :).
18 – 19 Trinity St.
Tel: 029 2167 6982
Web address : http://lockeandremedy.com
Sun : 9am – 10pm (Breakfast 9am to 12 noon)
Mon – Wed: 8am – 10pm (Breakfast 8am to 12 noon)
Thurs – Sat : 8am – 11pm (Breakfast 8am to 12 noon)