Musings (more like rambling thoughts) of a Cardiff based lawyer obsessed with food and wine
With “the season of gravy” (otherwise known as Autumn) now upon us my thoughts (food wise – most of my thoughts if truth be told) tend to turn to the Sunday roast.
Actually it seems rather warm this weekend, but my sister is doing the half marathon here next month and needs a nudge regarding where she wants to go for lunch afterward (to refuel).
The Sunday roast is something that is seen (certainly by our European neighbours) as quintessentially British. The French even call us Le Rosbifs, due to our perceived penchant for roast dinners (particularly those involving beef) and friends from Spain always want to have a roast beef dinner (and fish and chips) when they come over.
Whilst some sneer at the merits of a roast dinner and see it as symptomatic of a perceived lack of adventure on the food front by the “meat and two veg” Brits, to me a good one is a thing of rare beauty. It’s easy to eff up (with overdone tough meat, waterlogged veg, soggy, palid, potatoes and thin tasteless gravy) though and requires top notch ingredients and a kitchen on its game to get it right.
When they do get it right it can be glorious, with juicy slices of top quality meat cooked à point, fabulous meaty gravy (there should never be a jus with a roast and the gravy should be of a copious volume) and properly cooked veg (be it with a bit of bite for non potato veg and a crispy exterior and fluffy interior for the roasted spuds). Oh and then there is the Yorkshire pudding.
I am old fashion and find a Yorkie on anything bar from a roast beef dinner a bit odd, but I appear to be very much in the minority in this view. Regardless of this non mainstream view, as part of a roast beef dinner (when and only when executed properly) it is just right. Mandatory to pour the gravy into it which requires a properly risen, light, Yorkie (not an Aunt Bessie ice hockey puck).
The added benefit of a restaurant roast is not having to wash up.
I like to think I cook at good roast and you can source some cracking quality meat these days in Cardiff from the likes of Oriel Jones, Martin Player and some of the butchers in Cardiff Indoor Market (first chap on the right as you come in from the High St. entrance, in particular).
When, however, I cook a roast (I tend to assume cooking duties at the weekends) it looks like a bomb has gone off in the kitchen and this tends to irk Mrs. SF (never a good idea, but something I seem to rather excel at – everyone’s good at one thing, so they say🙄).
As a result I am not at all adverse to eating out on Sundays and below are my favourite places (bit West of Cardiff centric as that is where I live and I like to walk and am often too tight to pay for a taxi) for getting my Sunday roast fix in Cardiff.
My local and what a local it is. Great beer, food and wine all bundled up in a very convivial package. It is a place I try to get too most weekends,
when I pop in (usually post dog walk) for a beer and a superior bar snack.
Their Sunday lunch is a doozy, with a mix of traditional Sunday roast fair, sharing dishes, fish and game.
The roasts are top notch,
with the meat cooked à point and full of flavour and the veg all hitting the mark nicely (properly crunchy roasties included).
Starters and puds. also hit the spot
If you don’t fancy a roast, there are plenty of other options, including some great sharing dishes
The sharing pies are fabulous and there is that heavenly souffle to finishes things of nicely.
A good selection of wines and beers puts the tin hat on it for me.
If you are in the bar of a Sunday lunchtime you may even be lucky enought to get access (gratis) to a bowl of their rather fine duck fat roasties.
For more details, read my full post on this place.
Address: 58-60 Bridge St., Llandaff, Cardiff, CF5 2EN.
Website: click here.
Price: Around the £32 – £35 mark for 3 courses
I am a big fan of Heaney’s (and it baby brother Uisce) on all counts, which to me offers fabulously inventive and above all tasty food.
Whilst I am a fan of its small plate format, it isn’t for everyone.
Never fear a damn fine Sunday roast can be had here – with Heaney’s also excelling at this more traditional format.
Starters are a mix of inventive (the duck likes of parfait, beetroot, smoked eel and fig) and classic (such as French onion soup) and all hit the spot nicely.
On to the main event, the roasts here is spot on. Rare sirloin (with a nice crust and proper beefy flavour), an exemplary Yorkie and a top notch gravy (with extra provided in a jug for pouring into the Yorkie)
The beef was cooked on the money for me, with a close to ruby red core.
The accompaniments were equally as good, with properly crisp roasties, red cabbage, carrots and some lovely new potatoes
All made for a very impressive roast.
If you don’t fancy a roast there are plenty of alternative option, which cover veggies and pescaterians as well as meat eaters
The puds are equally enticing and impressive.
Mrs. SFs custard tart with rhubarb sorbet was a fine example of how good this classic dessert can be.
Add to this a decent wine list – this Portuguese number worked very well with the beef
– and you have a fine Sunday lunch offering.
For further details of their wider offering read my full post on the place.
Address: 6 – 10 Romilly Crescent, Cardiff, CF11 9NR.
Website: click here.
Price: £25/2 course and £30/3 courses
Bully’s is one of those places in Cardiff that I know won’t let me down. The usual fair is upmarket French bistro style food (and very good it is), but on a Sunday they roll out Le Rosbif (with a French twist in the starters, some of the mains and the puds)
The Sunday lunch here is very good, with excellent quality, well cooked (as in rare), beef and some interesting starters and puds.
Veggies are plentiful and cooked correctly, with nice crisp roasties and al dente other veggies. Good gravy too.
The big selling point for me is they operate a very fair corkage policy (£10 last time I visited, but could be £15 – make sure you ask on booking rather than just turning up with your own bottle) which means you can bring you own booze.
Despite the corkage charge, bringing my own wine doesn’t half help with the bill.
Read my full review from last year here.
Price: starters all £6.95; mains all £14.95 and £6.95 for all deserts (bar from cheese that has a £3 supplement).
Address: 5 Romily Crescent, Cardiff, CF11 9NP
Website: click here.
Bar 44 is a old favourite of mine, due to my love of all things Spanish, with the tapas and wine offering (especially the sherries) being right up my street.
In addition to the top quality tapas, they also do a “Spanish styled” Sunday lunch offering that extends to meat and veg. to share between two.
Lovely Spanish twists,
with a spread including not only top quality dry aged beef, but also jamon fat roasties, chargrilled hispi cabbage with jamon, manchego infused cauli. cheese and a cecina Yorkshire pud.
The booze offering is fab, with some lovely Spanish stuff on offer. Some fab white wines (including oodles of lovely sherries) and cracking reds from beyond the usual (rioja) suspects.
This red (part of the Gonzalez Byass stable – far wider than just sherries), from Tierra de La Cadiz, is an absolute doozy.
All in all a very strong offering (as you would expect from Bar 44).
For full review click here
Price : the sharing platters are between £32 and £38 depending on meat choice.
Address: 15 -23 Westgate Street, Cardiff, CF10 1DD.
Website: Click here.
This place is currently seen as one of Cardiff’s standout restaurant serving up high quality British cuisine with more than a nod to the bountiful Welsh ingredients on its doorstep.
They have this year expanded out their opening hours to encompass Sunday lunch and the same high quality as is (generally – has a slightly disappointing meal a few weeks back with a bit of a bland main course, multiple wines being unavailable off an already quite succinct list, no ice and too warm red wine) evident in the al a carte and plat du jour menus is effortlessly applied to the Sunday roast menu.
Nice looking menu with a choice of 3 roasts, fish and a veggie option
Starters were top notch with the richness of my ox check nicely offset by some pickled mushroom and Mrs. SF smoke duck salad, an inspired combination of cherry (duck works so well with fruit) hazelnuts and locally grown salad leaves.
The main event was equally on point, with a lovely bit of aged top rump of beef for Mrs. SF and loin of lamb (both suitably pink) for me (skin could have been a touch crispier on mine).
Good Yorkies on both (not needed on the lamb in my humble, if seemingly in the minority, opinion).
Well (not over) cooked veg. including a very good cauli. cheese added nicely to the mix, as did a very meaty gravy. Only slight quibbles were the roasties lacked the extra crunch that are the feature of truly great ones and there was no gravy to pour into the yorkie (I am sure if we had asked they would have russelled more up). Minor quibbles these.
Puds. were very good, with a very fine cheese board (£3 supp. but it would have feed two easy so actually a bit of a bargain if look at it that way) and a lovely elderflower jelly number.
The wine list is short (fine as long as all are present and correct, but not if not), but not bad quality (could perhaps do with a refresh and revamp in my opinion). We had a pleasant enough (bit young) bottle of priorat (£40 – mark up OK, as it retails at £18), which worked with both the lamb and beef.
Price : £20 for 2 course and £26 for 3.
Address: 83 Pontcanna Street, Cardiff, CF11 9HS.
Website: Click here.
Nomad Kitchen Desi Sunday Lunch at Kongs
If you are looking for something a bit different for Sunday lunch then the Indian twist put in it at this place may be for you.
To me it blends the best of both worlds, with the traditional elements of a Sunday roast combined with some clever spicing.
We started off with a bountiful bowl of rainbow and more traditional poppadums, with a selection of chutneys.
Always a crowd pleaser these.
Next up we shared two medu vadas ( lentil doughnuts – £4.50 – here provided on the house, thank you), which were light in texture and had spicing to keep you interested even though it’s in theory only boring old lentils (one of the things I love about Indian spicing is how it lifts seemingly mundane ingredients).
In all sat on a rather good coconut chutney with some lovely fried curry leaves. Believe this may be going on the week day menu – hope so as it was great.
On to the main event, I went for the beef (£14).
Lovely bit of sirlion, cooked pink with a spiced crust on the fat. Cracking roasties (touch of spicing on top) and a Yorkie kept it looking traditional, but there were surprises galore in the mix.
A cabbage and bean thoran was heavy with mustard seed and curry leaf, whilst the chargrilled cauliflower had been cooked with gunpowder spice (worked a treat) and the carrot puree was on the money spicing wise.
Finally the gravy (extra marks for the extra pot of it provided without asking) was again familar but with the extra little sparkle from the spices infused into it.
Beer is the order of the day at Kongs (they do wine but it ain’t that great I am afraid). I had a Moors beer, Espana Hop that, I thought, worked rather well with the food.
Slightly rustic surrounding, but what you get food wise is deliciously different stuff and well worth a look.
Address: Kongs, Hodge House, 114 – 116 St. Mary Street, CF10 1DY
If you are looking for a good Sunday lunch, you aren’t going to go far wrong with one of these. Lots of other options in Cardiff and surrounds, but these are ones that I tend to stick to. The food is good and they generally don’t require my tight arse self to get a taxi to and from and also generally tick my other food and wine boxes.
I think it is fair to say we are somewhat blessed out West on the Sunday lunch front.
Suggestions for other options (West East or Central), as alway on the look out for a good Sunday lunch, gratefully received.
It seems Asador 44 are about to enter the fray,
which can only be a good thing.