Livin’ la vida (in my) local  – the new champagne and oyster Bar at the Heathcock, Llandaff, Cardiff.

I am not a great listener of pop music (classical music and Cuban jazz are more my thing – although I am quite partial to a bit of Nick Cave, as well as Matt Johnson), but I do like a pun blog title (be it pop based or otherwise) and I quite like the cheesiness of this one (on a par with my “Holding out for a Gyro” post a few years back). Rather fitting in terms of my recent multiple visits to my local – the Heathcock – I thought.

Their new “Champagne and Oyster bar” is an interesting and very welcome addition to the Llandaff hospitality scene.  Mrs. SF’s first reaction to the news of its opening was “Isn’t that a bit lar di dah for Llandaff“, mine was very much  “Ooh la la” and J’s was “Ooh, what time shall I meet you there?”

Located on the first floor, it has a rather speakeasy feel to it, with the entrance tucked away and the place accessed via a rather steep set of stairs.

Inside it has a very classy, but understated feel to it. They have wisely resisted the temptation to bling it up.

The reference to “champagne and oysters” is by no means the be all and end all of this place, with it (on the food front) offering a rather fine selection of cheeses (from Ty Caws, I would hazard a guess), charcuterie (from Trealy Farm) and inhouse creations (terrines and pâtés).

The cheese on display was certainly impressive (being a mix of British cheeses, including a number of Welsh ones).

There is also a wide selection of drinks (nice to see multiple glass and a carafe options available on some wines – wish these were available on all the wines mind) on offer, in addition to the fizz.

Lovely to see a few sherries (bit of a typo – lacking an “in” in the PX – hark at me the typo king, I shall just go and introduce myself to the kettle), with decent pours too (hallejulah) and a crémant (oddly not by the glass though).

Whilst I am not a huge fizz drinker, the £15 for 3 oysters (with the oysters from Porlock Bay) and a glass of champers is way too good a deal to pass up on and we ordered two of these to share between the three of us (Mrs. SF, J and I), with Mrs. SF (not fancying 3 oysters) having an extra glass of champagne (I am tightfisted but not so tight as to share a glass of fizz 😁).

We went for a mix of all those on offer (au natural, apple and tarragon, bloody Mary and lemon and tabasco).

Lovely meaty numbers, with the fresh ozony smell of the seaside and briney taste of the deep. I love a good oyster and these were great.

My favourites were the lemon and tabasco and the au naturel, although all were very good washed down with Pommery champagne (you can opt from rosé one as Mrs SF did).

I am not a champagne afficiando, but I rather enjoyed my glass which had a pleasingly delicate mousse and nice notes of almond, brioche and citrus.

Very nice paired with the oysters.

This is a fabulous deal as the 3 oysters come in at £10.50 (£3.50 a pop), so you are getting a very decent sized glass of good (at least to my palate) champagne for a mere £4.50 (usually £9.50)!!

We then moved on to the cheese and meat selection, with a first pass of 3 meats (coppa, bresoala and air dried  ham – a salami was also available) and 3 cheeses (perl las, truffled Gloucester and the Edmund Tew) for £17.

All three cheeses were lovely and in perfect nick, with my favourite the Edmund Tew (furthest to right looking at pic. which had a funky farmyardy rind and buttery interior imbued with citrus notes), J favoured the truffled Gloucester (lovely earthiness to it) and Mrs. SF the perl las (nice tangy blue tempered by creaminess).

These came with a very good chutney and plentiful (hate it when places are stingy with the crackers), very moreish, toasted fruit and walnut bread (from their sister pub’s Cowbridge bakery, the Hare and Hounds Bakery).

The Trealy Farm cured meats were equally as good, with the coppa the pick of the bunch for me.

It would have been rude to call it a night at this point, so a second round of cheese (3 for £9) was ordered to give us a taste of the full selection on offer.

Again all excellent, with the Gorwydd Caerphilly my favourite (the perl wen and Sinodun Hill were also very good).

We finished off the food proceedings with a chicken parfait on bioche toast.

Very nice this, with the richness of the smooth parfait and sweet chutney balanced by batons of crisp, sharp green apple. Some my think it a touch pricey at £7.60, but to me it was very much a case of you pays your money and takes your choice and the price was fine by me.

We washed down our cheese and charcuterie, with a couple of bottles of Portuguese red in the form of a Cassa Douro Reserva 2017 (£36 – retails at about £15 here, so a fair for the UK mark up)

Very nice drop this,

with lots of rich dark fruit (black cherry and blackberry) and a decent hit of vanilla spice and mocha as it lingered on the palate. Very easy drinking number.

We finished off proceeding (J very much leading us astray) with a carafe of the Visconti della Rocca primitivo (£13 for the carafe – retails for just over a tenner for a 75cl bottle). I am ashamed to say I can’t remember much about this wine (J and I had demolished a bottle of Tio Pepe en rama 2021 before we came out and thus were three bottles down plus fizz at this point – Mrs. SJ was wisely much more parsimonious), but it disappeared quite quickly!

The verdict

Love this new addition to the Heathcock, which takes an already very attractive proposition up a fair few notches.

Good booze (are they being supplied by Berkmann Wine’s now, as the quality seems to have gone up a notch or two – if so good call) and an excellent new nibbles food option ticks so many of my boxes and is such an alluring option for a end of week treat/ritual.

I simply can’t get enough of this place, with three visit in the last two week including a fab Sunday lunch.

and a great Summer tasting event.

The crab and asparagus dish at the latter will live long in the memory.

I mean who wouldn’t love to have this place as their local?! I feel rather blessed.

The Details

Address: 58 – 60 Bridge Street, Llandaff, Cardiff, CF5 2EN


Champagne and Oyster Bar opening times: Thurs – Sat evenings.



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