For those who subscribe to the blog and get each post by email, apologies for the “premature publication”, due to fat fingers (oh err), of the post during the course of last week. Below is the finished (ish – bound to be a few typos) version.
So back to the matter at hand, with me back on the takeaways as a way to support the ailing hospitality industry.
I tend to studiously avoid commenting on anything other than food and booze I have eaten and drunk on this blog, but the latest hit job on the hospitality industry smacks of collective punishment of the many for the sins of the few (who are seemingly) unable to act sensibly when out. Take action against them, rather than imposing draconian rules on the rest of us who behave sensibly.
We aren’t all banned from driving cars because some idiots drink and drive.
I understand the need for restrictions, but there needs to be a logic to them.
The latest set of rules seem to me to be scapegoating of the worst kind, with little evidence (all I have seen is either out of date data that was in play before Covid measures such as social distancing and masks etc. were in my experience pretty rigourously applied by the hospitality sector, or data that suggests transmission rates in the hospitality sector are actually low as against other still permitted activities) to back up assertions that transmission is so prevalent in restaurants, pubs and cafes that it warrants these damaging one size fits all measures.
I simply don’t understand (perhaps because l am not a virologist/epidemiologist) how it is fine for viral control to eat a sit down meal in a restaurant, pub or cafe with a coffee, but not a glass of wine and not OK to do either after the witching hour of 6pm. Can I not be trusted to sip my glass of wine rather than grab 3 bottles of it and shove the contents of each down my throat and then stumble around hugging every one in sight? Do I lose all of my (many, many) inhibitions at one second past 6pm?
This all seems to be a case of treating all of us like badly behaved 6 year olds, when it appears to be only a minority that are behaving as such!
Between a well ventilated restaurant, with social distancing, reduced capacity, well trained masked staff, your mask being on when ever you get up and details being taken for track and trace purposes etc. and a supermarket, I know which one I feel safer in and it ain’t the supermarket.
People who get sh#tfaced in the pub with their mates will do so at home (a totally unregulated environment) with their mates, having bought a shed load of booze at said supermarket. Not sure how that is going to help to be honest and presumably when it doesn’t we will all be to blame and punished accordingly (not least the poor sods who work in or supply the hospitality sector) by all being welded into our houses come January.
The phrase “Malus lex non est lex” (A bad law is no law) springs to my mind if I am honest.
Anyhow rant (and a rare non sherry one at that) over and our new dsytopian December (the now mirthless season of no you can’t say cheers) led me to Mira in Canton, a Turkish & Syrian (not sure what the Syrian bit is, if truth be told) place, which has hitherto flown below my food radar
My usual go to for my kebab fix in Canton is the excellent Sen BBQ, but as the saying going a change is as good as a rest and in these “hokey covidokey” times (Your in lockdown, your out of lockdown, in out, in out, shake all those jobs out, oh dear God do the politicians have the faintest clue as to what they’re doing, oh the hokey covidokey….!) I thought I would give Mira a try.
The takeaway process (pick up or delivery) is quite simple, with online ordering which operates on a very easy to use platform (even for a total technophobe like).
If you order for pick up rather than delivery (there is a 50p admin charge – pay cash on pick up) be aware that your order will be ready 15 mins from when you press the button, which handily counts down on your phone.
I live a 10 minute odd drive from the place and with parking up I got to the door with about 2 mins still on the clock. When I walked in the lady manning the oscabasi (charcoal grill) was just finishing off my order.
Lovely aromas of charred meat certainly got the gastric juices going and I bombed it back to Llandaff in the jalopy with great anticipation.
Have to say it was incredibly sad to see the restaurant area deserted. I find sights like this profoundly depressing, so God knows how it must affect the business owners and staff.
Once I got my bounty home and out of the bag, it looked a substantial meal for two (or me),
with lots of lovely stuff to unwrap (my kind of Christmas wrapping and unwrapping).
As ever I over ordered, going for a cold starter of baba gharnoush and the mixed grill special.
The baba have a nice texture to it, not too smooth,
and a really robust smokiness from the charring of the aubergine on the
The bread supplied made for an excellent starter dunked in the baba
and had a nice airy texture. A light soft interior with enough of a chew to remain interesting and a nice salty crust.
On to the main event in the form of the mixed grill, which came in two substantial boxes. The chicken wings, quail and lamb rib in one (saved for the next day)
and the chicken shish and kofta and lamb kofta and a “Brucie bonus” unadvertised lamb chop in the other box
It came with a garlic and yoghurt sauce, a quite fiery chilli sauce, a salad and rice – all for £14.50 (bit of a bargain that).
This all made for a very substantial plate (not much over a half of it on there in picture below).
The lamb chop was tender with a good char (could have perhaps been a toucher pinker) and the chicken shish had a nice spicing to them and were very tender and juicy. The stars of the show, however, were the koftas and, in particular, the lamb ones.
Again a lovely char to the exterior of these and inside all yielding with some excellent spicing. Clearly chilli, but also sumac and coriandar. Could have eaten these all day long.
The rice was nice and buttery and the side salad (so often a sad limp afterthought of an affair) was actually rather nice with crisp leaves and some rather zingy pickled red cabbage.
I had the second box of meat and rice left over (it defeated me) and ate these the next day.
Good meaty lamb rib (bone removed) and wings, were not adversely effected by being reheated. These, together with the buttery rice and remaining baba and bread made for a very nice supper the next day.
On the booze front, I was in the mood for a beer and this sour number from Yonder Brewing and Blending worked a treat
An initial hit sour raspberry and a salty twang, was tempered by sweet anise (from the sweet cicely in the mix). Great for cutting through the fatty richness of the meats and with enough ooomph to handle the spices without jarring on the palate. A relatively low (at least these days) ABV of 4.5° helped on that front and make this an eminately gluggable beer.
If I was going for wine, I would be tempted to opt for a sherry (great with spice). A good amontillado (this one from Curado)
or an oloroso (this one from #mercado44)
would have worked very well.
I was impressed with the Mira offering. Cooked to order (still on the coals when I arrived and still hot when I got it all home), with some lovely spicing, it all made for a rather fine couple of meals.
The mixed grill I had was easily enough for two people (even without the generous portion of baba I ordered). At £14.50 (plus a 50p admin charge when order on line) this really is excellent value. With the baba it was just under £20 which for the quantity and the (important thing) quality this was a excellent offering.
Would I order again? Absolutely – excellent chargrilled meats and an overall very slick operation getting the stuff on your plate still hot. Place inside looks nice and I will certainly give it a go in terms of eating in (if and when the powers – gone to their heads – that be allow it).
As ever the mantra is support you local indies as (to me) they are what makes a city. We will be poorer without them, if we don’t, come the end (God let it be soon) of this shitshow.
Address: 149 Cowbridge Road East, Canton Cardiff, CF119AH
Tel: 02921 323786
Twitter/Intagram: Not on as far as can see
Opening hours: Mon- Thurs : 15.00 – 23.00 (collections) and 15.00 – 22.45 (deliveries); Fri – Sun: 12.00 – 23.00 (collections ) and 12.00 – 22.45 (deliveries