I am not really much of a breakfast person, with my usual start to the day involving a cup of strong coffee and little else.
Yes I know that it is suppose to be the most important meal of the day, but I don’t tend to feel that hungry until I have worked up a bit of an appetite. During the working week that doesn’t generally happen first thing and then work impinges, so usually it is left for holidays and weekends (and rarely the latter if I am honest).
Oddly I think this make me even more appreciative of a good fry up. I suppose it ceases to be a treat when that treat isn’t a rarity.
As such when I saw that the Heathcock were doing breakfast/brunch, pre – firebreak, my thoughts were of admiration for how they continue to adapt to these most trying of times, how good it was likely to be and when does it open for business.
I, therefore, rocked up on the dot of the time they opened on the first day of their breakfast/brunch operation.
The set up is in the back space (old skittle alley), with a little shop and bakery up front
with booze and other stuff (I am sure the shelves will be progressively more filled).
Behind the shop are compartmentalised tables which shield you from your neigbouring tables. I know it is for covid, but I do like to have a nose at what other tables are having.Luckily I was placed on the first table up front so I could see other orders being delivered and thus my natural noseiness was sated.
The menu has a lovely feel to it, catering for both avowed carnivores, veggies and even the pescaterians amongst us.Both the wild mushrooms on toast and the kedgeree (hugely underrated breakfast dish in my opinion) tempted, but it was the full Welsh I eventually went for.
Lovely looking fully loaded plate arrived at my table, making me a rather happy bunny. Nice mix of stuff, with homemade sausages (properly meaty numbers – doubt any husk in these bangers), homemade baked beans (personally not a fan of Heinz beans – too sweet for my tastes – but these were great), laverbread, a huge block of black pudding, thick cut slices of proper bacon (none of that namby pamby, wafer thin, watery shite), a field mushroom, a properly runny fried egg (with the yolk positively busting to break free)
and a piece of fried “sourdough” bread (rarely seen on a fry up in this day and age, which is a shame as I love a bit of fried bread).
The star of the show was the black pudding/blood cake, which had a lovely crisp exterior, a yielding soft interior, with lots of lovely blobs of white fat and a nice peppery hit.
I know many are squeamish at the though of black pudding (calling it a blood cake probably doesn’t help), but it is so good when of top quality and cooked properly. This one was the absolute business.
I must admit (probably be evicted from Wales for this – ha, not during the firebreak you won’t) I am not a huge fan of laverbread. I don’t mind it bound together with something else (like a fried oatcake) but in its “au naturale” state I find the texture a bit meh.
This was probably the best iteration I have had, but I wouldn’t have missed it if it hadn’t had been there.
I do love the attention to detail applied to all things by the Heathcock. Here applied, amongst other thing, by way of the making from scratch of the beans and the sausages rather than defaulting to pre-made.
Condiments were on offer and I am definately a brown rather red sauce man (be it will bacon or sausage or indeed both). The Heathcock’s homemade brown sauce is very good, with a nice bit of spice to it – perfect with the sausages.
All in all a very fine fry up, which set me up for the rest of the day.
On the drinks front, a bloody mary (with a drop of fino – sherry makes everything better – and plenty of tabasco in the mix) wouldn’t have gone amiss, but it was a week day (and it wasn’t on offer, although knowing the Heathcock if I had asked they would probably have rustled one up) so a coffee it was.
I went for a flat white and very nice it was too, with a lovely rich fruity flavour and more than a touch of citrus in the mix This was a good cup of coffee, probably best drunk black. Very nice as a flat white, although it could have been just a tad hotter.
The shop itself includes a small selection of baked goods to take away (coffee can be taken away too)
on top of what looks like plenty of booze and other stuff.
On a second visit, just for take out, I picked up a sourdough loaf (£3.50) and a brownie (£3),
all nicely packed in a natty brown bag (my advice is if you are buying the bread take a back up bag to put it in).
The sourdough was an absolute behemoth and a belter at that, with a lovely crust to it and a nice crumb.
The brownie was a dozzie too, with a good crust and a nice, verging on the gooey, centre (when subjected to a touch of heat).
I do rather hope they will expand out the bakery side of things. Adding some of their fabulous focaccia to the roster would be marvellous, as would the doughnuts (refuse to call them donuts) at sister pub the Hare and Hounds.
Something alone the lines of this board of baked goodies to take away
could result in serious damage to my bank balance – I mean lemon meringue doughnut😍.
The Heathcock does it once again. Their ability to adapt and absolutely nail it each and every time they do so never ceases to amaze me.
Would I go back? Oh yes – really boon for me this as I can now visit the Heathcock at the start and end of my dog walk of a Saturday 😁.
I did ask if they were going to keep the shop/take away side going through the fire break and it seems not. I can see it being very tricky for those who can notionally open for take aways to be able to gauge likely demand as against ongoing costs.
One to remember when we come out the other side, although who knows what new restrictions will be applied come the 9th.
Edicts issued last week suggest that hospitality (usually the seeming sacrificial lamb at the moment) may be spared when Wales open up again on the 9th November and will be able
open as was the case prior to the firebreak (which will be a relief).
Who knows if the means back to normal or back to the pre – firebreak (curfew etc) position (suspect the latter), but I am really hoping it is not going to be a case of a death by a thousand cuts for the hospitality industry here.
Regardless of whatever the new norm may be, come the 9th, it is important to keep places like the Heathcock going so booking for a post firebreak meal or buying vouchers during it all helps.
I am becoming somewhat of a broken record on this, but if we don’t use these places we run the very real risk of losing them by the time we come out the other side of Covid (probably sometime in 2390, with the Federation declaring the Covid scourge has finally been eradicated from the Alpha Quadrant, but is still klingoning in the Beta Quadrant – sorry Star Trek geek joke).
Address: 56 – 60 Bridge St. Llandaff, CF5 2EN.
Tel: 029 2115 2290.
Instagram: @heathcock_cardiff and @heathcockbakery.