Soliciting Flavours

Musings (more like rambling thoughts) of a Cardiff based lawyer obsessed with food and wine

Dipping it’s toe back in the water, French style – Milkwood’s take away menu.

Milkwood in Pontcanna was (after an initial burst of takeaway activity) dormant for most of lockdown, but in a very welcome sign of things slowly (oh so slowly) getting back to normal (post the “you can eat inside” date of the 3rd of August) they are doing takeaways and offering eat in dining again (currently inside, with reduced seating, out front and in a rear courtyard). When I visited it was just take away or eat on the benches out front

The offering is a rather fine looking mix of small plates, pizze (I am rather ashamed to say I didn’t know this was the plural for pizza – languages are not my forte and I include English in that) and sandwiches/burgers (and one sweet item).

Very nice looking menu I thought, with some rather tantilizing items at very reasonable prices. These days £8 for a good burger and fries is extremely competitive.

Whilst the burger sounded rather fine (post my visit Gourmet Gorro spoke very highly of it – always a good sign), I am a sucker for both a cubano (a good one only – again Gourmet Gorro really rated the Milkwood one) and a french dip.

The promise of roast beef and bread dipped in a good beef jus had me positively salavating and it won the day, order wise, over the burger and the cubano (close run thing with the latter I have to say).

As Mrs. SF was joining me with this takeaway, we also ordered the ribs n slaw, the pepperoni pizza (Mrs. SF loves a good pepperoni pizza) and a couple of doughnuts (nice to see the full, rather the donut, name on the menu). This all made for pretty much a three course meal

Whilst we ordered take away there were at the time benches outside (expanded now to include a courtyard out back which means you can “eat in but out” from the takeaway menu,

with booze on offer too.

All in all quite a nice set up.

Pick up was easy, with the order phoned through the day before and payment made on the phone.

The food

All nicely packed up, with not a bit of plastic or polystyrene in sight – which I know is important to many, it looked a very substantial meal for two

My French dip (whose origins are hotly debated) was a rather fine looking beast and the use of a round potato roll rather than (the, perhaps, more traditional) french bread did not detract at all (quite the opposite actually).

Loaded with wonderfully tender roast beef, with that full on flavour you only get from the properly reared and aged beef, sweet caramelised onions and gooey American cheese, it was fully on filthy.

The potato roll had lovely soft (non pappy) texture which enabled a good squish before inserting the sandwich into the gob.

It also worked very well as a sponge for an absolute killer beef jus which came in a pot to allow you to decided the dip bit.

There was so much flavour packed into this jus, I am not ashamed to say that not only did I dip and double dip my sandwich, I also drunk the jus straight from the bowl (when Mrs. SF wasn’t looking).

Dear God it was wonderful stuff, with the crispy bits from the pan adding that extra gloriously good flavour bomb.

Fries came with the sandwich (all in £8) making it a real bargin (in these days where more often than not chips are extra).

Skin on numbers, this were nicely crisp (heat retained and not soggy from trip back home). Great for dipping in the beef jus.

Mrs. SF went for the pepperoni pizza (£10) which had a descent base (in the Goldilocks zone according to Mrs. SF being not too soft yet not too crisp – I prefer my pizza base done just a tad more if I am honest) and a well loaded top.

All the toppings were good, with a pleasing spicy beef hit to the pepperoni, a rich marinara sauce and a decent amount of cheese.

The only slight qualm with it was it needed 5 mins in a hot oven to get it back to temp. Not sure if it lost heat during the journey back home (max 5 mins in the car) or it had cooled a bit before being provided to me.

Whatever, once heated up it was a pretty good pizza.

As I am a total pig I also ordered the ribs n slaw (£7 – total bargain).

Well flavoured, with a nice lick of smoke, these meaty numbers went down a treat

Good bark and tender meat that didn’t quite fall off the bone, yet came away with the slightest tease.

Whilst not perhaps quite matching the giddy heights of a Kapow rib, a high bar indeed, they were pretty darn good.

On to desserts, they offered on the night in question three flavours of doughnut (at £3 a pop), with these being chocolate, raspberry ripple and apple and cinnamon. We has one of each of the latter two.

Delightfully light these, with both fillings having flavour to the max. My apple compot one was really cinnimon heavy (just how I like it) and Mrs. SF’s raspberry ripple filling was very refreshing with no artificiality to the raspberry flavour.

Booze pairing

With this meat feast, you need something fairly big. A Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, a Grenache or a Cot (French name for Malbec) would all fit the bill, but in solidarity with the struggles of South African wine makers (they are going through a really tough time at the moment with domestic sales banned) I decided on a Saffer wine in the form of a Raats Family Jasper Red Blend (a Cabernet Franc dominated bordeaux blend which kept to the tentative French “dip” theme) that I had picked up from the Bottleshop here in Cardiff earlier in lockdown.

A “everyone’s in the pool” mix of Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon, merlot and Petit Verdot this was rather lovely.

Ripe black fruits, with a touch of tobacco wafts up from the glass. On the palate it has nicely intergrated tannins, making it silky smooth, and a good length. As it lingered on the palate, herbs and spice (mint and cinnimon) came into play.

It worked very well with the meatsfeast we had.

The verdict

Mrs SF and I really enjoyed our Milkwood takeaway, which hit that sought after sweet spot of quality, quantity and value – with it all coming in at a bargain £31. Can’t really asked for more than that can you.

Will I order again? Definately – really good food at an extremely good price.

I am very keen to try there “Eat in” option as, whilst I was waiting for my order, a family sat outside were having a fine old time. A plate of salt cod croquetas that shimmied pass me on route to their table had me positively drooling and determined to add them to my next order.

That’s the thing about a well judged menu like this one – you don’t regret ordering what you did, but wish you had ordered more. Croquetas and a cubano for me next time methinks

The outside area available for “eat in, but out’ now includes the courtyard out the back. Not got a pic. of it (not open at time of my visit), but from their Instagram feed it looks rather lovely.

In terms of opening,

I believe they now do Wednesdays as well with the ability (in eat on pavement tables, inside or the Courtyard) to take advantage of the Governments #EatOutToHelpOut scheme.

Opportunity to bag an absolute bargain on that basis and support a super Cardiff indie. Fill your boots and tip generously should be the mantra.

The details

Address: Pontcanna Street, Cardiff, CF11 9HS.

Tel: 029 2023 2226

Twitter: @milkwoodcdf

Instagram: @milkwoodcdf

Times: Orders taken from Wednesday for pick up, Wednesday, Thursday , Friday and Saturday. Also can rock up and eat on the benches or the courtyards outside (not sure how book yet).

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