This post was a really hard one to write, as it was the first time eating out since my beautiful Pip sadly (and very unexpectedly) passed away at only 12 (utterly breaking mine and Mrs. SF’s hearts).
She was the most fantastic dog, who brought us 12 years (not enough, it would never have been enough) of joy. We loved her so much and miss her terribly, with the pain of losing her still red raw. I fervently hope she is just waiting for us over Rainbow Bridge, with all the dogs who have already passed who loved her too to keep her company, until we get there.
It seems so unfair that dogs give us their unconditional love and, even in the best case scenario, they are taken from us far too soon.
I so wanted more time with my little Pippo, but it was not to be. Sweet dreams my gorgeous little girl, you truly were my sunshine 😭.
So, after I have wiped away my tears (I am not ashamed to say I have sobbed my heart out over losing her), to Scruffy Pups dog cafe. This is a place that caters for both dogs and humans (very much in that order).
I think Pip would have approved of this place. She was a ruffty tuffty dog and (when needing a strip) a touch of a scruff (in an endearing way – she was very smart when stripped), so would have fitted the scruffy pup bill rather well. I so wish I could have taken her here.
Thankfully we have more than one dog, with Oscar still very much with us.
Oscar is a very food orientated dog and any mention of food (he is a fiend for a blueberry) will have his bat ears twitching. I swear he can teleport, as the millisecond the fridge door is opened he is there.
A place serving food for dog (as well as humans) is just ” bow-wow” for a dog like Oscar.
The pooch pound seems to be increasingly important these days, with hospitality finally catching on to the fact that dog owners like to eat and drink out the same as the rest of the population and quite often want to bring their dogs with them when they do so.
In fact, us dog owners are often out and about more than most, having to take our dogs out for a walk, come rain or shine, and we appreciate during or post such walks a coffee, a beer or something more substantial.
With Mr. SF at her Mum’s, J stepped in to get me out of my house and stop me getting too morose.
With J having got a new dog, Bruce the Barbarian (I added the “the …..” bit – he is actually a total softie), she thought an outing to introduce him to Oscar, with the hope that the two of them would be buddies, would be a good idea.
Intros made between Bruce and Oscar, who can be a bit of a grump (as opposes to Pip who was the most tolerant and chilled out of dogs – never came across a dog that the Pippo didn’t get on with), with the two getting off to a good start buddy wise.
We then departed to Scruffy Pups, which I was put on to by the ever reliable Ed Gilbert (aka Gourmet Gorro), who is now penning for Wales Online (very astute hire that).
I have no doubt I would never have come across this place without the Gourmet Gorro tip off and it seemed an ideal (out of house) environment for Oscar and Bruce to start a bit of a bromance.
The location is a bit out in the wilds and it is safe to say unless an avid walker (with or without a dog), it being on the Rhymney Trail, you are unlikely to come across it by accident.
We arrived and parked up, with plenty of space there to do so, and wandered into the inside area.
Everywhere is set up with dogs in mind, with both indoor and outdoor dog friendly areas.
Indoor there is plenty of space and they even have bungee leads that you can use to attach your doggy to D – rings embedded in the floor, so no buggering about with looping leads around tables/chairs. This sort of attention to detail is much appreciated by us dog owners.
The young lady fronting house
took a genuine interest in the dogs. Must help being a dog lover working in this place and from how engaged she was with our two dogs she definitely was a dog lover.
Nice to see the most prominent display is of doggies treats,
which show how this place is as much focused (if not more) on the doggie customers as us humans.
All in all a good set up inside, but it was a nice day so we decided to sit outside in the sun (got to take advantage of those last fleeting rays).
Out on the astroturf terrace, the bromance got into full swing as Bruce and Oscar got on famously (well to the maximum extent of chumminess with other dogs you get with Oscar – I swear to God he doesnt think he is a dog and we really should have called him Pinocchio).
The menu is split into various component for us humans and for the doggies (both on the food and drink front).
I went (after Gourmet Gorro’s eulogue) for the reuben (love a good one, loathe a shxte one) meal (£10 for the sarnie, crisps and a cold drink) and J went for the fried chicken sandwich and chips (£7.50). I added cheese fries (£4.50) to my order because I have eyes bigger than my stomach and because I clearly wasn’t listening when I was told what came with the reuben.
What a fabulous looking spread the reuben meal was when it arrived,
with Oscar thinking (incorrectly) “woohoo all for me😛”.
The reuben itself was a stonkingly good sarnie,
with pickle to the max (love a good pickle me and these had that balance of sweet and sour, as well as a great crunch).
Toasted bread – not too much of a doorstep, but a fill your face slice – encased (more pickle), a couple of slices of good nutty Swiss cheese (could perhaps have been melted a bit to give a bit of gooiness), zippy sauerkraut, a rather fine tangy thousand island dressing, mustard and massive chunks of fabulous salt beef.
Oh that beautiful beef,
with a gorgeous yielding texture that comes from a 7 to 10 day brine and 24 hour (sous vide) cook.
Lovely flavour to the beef, with 18 spices going into the cure. The richness of the meat, cheese and dressing was nicely cut by the sourness of the pickle and the kraut.
Lovely balance to this sarnie, which was really excellant for the price.
I mean wow for a doggie cafe, this stood up pretty well as against the salt beef I had on Brick Lane
at the rightly famous Beigel Bake a couple of months back.
My reuben came with a soft drink and crisps, with the latter rather made superfluous to requirements by me ordering the cheesy chips.
I, of course, prioritised the cheesy chips over the crisps,
with the former being skin on with a nice crunch, plentiful gooey cheese and a good whack of salt. I am very much of the view that chips need to be heavily seasoned and there was no need for me to add anymore, as they were bob on for my tastes.
J had the chicken burger with chips included in the deal
Good burger this, with excellent crunch to the coating and tender, 24 hour buttermilk marinated, thigh meat in the patty. Add to that a good squishy bun, cheese and pickles and you have yourself an excellent burger.
With a huge basket of fries, this is a steal for £7.50.
Oscar looked on in envy
with a “What about me?” expression before being told off for being a cheeky monkey and put back on the floor.
With us humans feeding our faces, Oscar and Bruce (actually just Oscar) were very much what about us doggies?
Well the menu for the dogs is certainly interesting and very much a step up from the normal doggie biscuit.
We decided the boys would like the chicken mousse (£2.50) and the chicken doughnut (£1.50).
Nice packaging on the doughnut, so you can takeaway, and it was a decent size.
Oscar loved it,
scoffing most of it before Bruce got a look in.
The chicken mousse looked good enough for us humans to eat, with rather artistic juliened carrot on top.
Oscar very much enjoyed this too,
with a “Please Sir, can I have some more” vibe. Brucie did get more of a look in with these.
Really impressed with the quality of the food for dogs here. Very much an integral, with lovely home cooked stuff, part of the offering. Oscar was a very happy boy.
My only very slight qualm would be the use of carob based chocolate in certain items (e.g. the pawccini). I know that carob (used here) is perfectly fine for dogs, but personally I not keen on encouraging them to eat stuff that looks like proper chocolate (which can be very toxic to dogs).
The menu is short and sweet with coffee and soft drinks
I had a latte and J a cappucino.
Decent coffee this, so good to drink in or to take on a walk along the Rhymny Trail.
Really impressed with this place, which serves excellent food for us humans and is just great for our four legged friends. On top of the food you have an agility area, as well as training and grooming options.
Talking to the owners, you can really tell how much they love both cooking and dogs and it really shows in the food and the set up.
Fancy treating yourself and your dog (or like Gourmet Gorro even if you haven’t got a dog), then this is a great place. Give your best friend a treat, you know they deserve it.
An added bonus is you have got a lovely walk on the Rhymney Trail, which runs by this place, to build up the appetite pre – visit or to work off the calories post visit.
Would we go back? Definitely – J has already booked in Bruce for a puppy association class, with the lure of breakie (for her) thrown in and all for a tenner!
A walk before and the wings, which look a bargain, after
will definitely be on the cards next visit.
The reuben here is certainly my current front runner for sarnie of the year come my 2021 round up.
Address: The Hut, Ball Lane, Llanrumney, Cardiff, CF3 4JS