A bit of Savoie-faire! Glass of Bandol, Whitchurch, Cardiff.

First off, the above title does not contain another inadvertent typo. I know it is not uncommon to have one in my blog post titles (a particular blind stop of mine it seems) or within the main bodies of such posts (if truth be told), but here it is actually deliberate (honest Gov).

Anyhow back to the matter at hand, readers of the blog will know I have a mild obsession with wine. I am a member of various wine tasting clubs (the Mystere Wine Club and the Jeroboam Club) and have built up (over the years) a 400+ bottle collection of wine (not a bad investment as it happens, in these turbulent times).

It, therefore, may seem odd to readers that this post documents my one and only (to date) visit to Glass of Bandol (a Cardiff wine bar and a very interesting one at that) and that it doesn’t really focus on their wine offering.

As wine posts seem to bore the pants off of most of you (I am not going to stop doing them you know), I am sure many of you will be breathing a sigh of relief at the potential lack of moans about the size of mark ups, the paucity of the sherry pours/ offering et al.

The place offers wine, cheese and charcuterie, which is the holy trinity as far as I am concerned and has been on my “to do” list for longer than it should.

Whilst the wine offering is pretty interesting, with an array of very neat wine dispensers (allowing for the wine to be opened without the risk of oxidisation) with various pour options, I was actually there for their lunchtime cheese offering (OK I had a cheeky wine or three, rude not to).

The trip was elicited by a WhatsApp message from J (we exchange a ludicrous number of food and dog related messages) with her sending Mrs. SF and I a rather alluring picture of a cheese toastie (I am a huge fan of a good toastie, despise – looking at you Cafe Nero et al – a shxte one).

The promise of toasted bread oozing cheese was far to much for my feeble mind to resist and, as a result, 5 of us (Mrs. SF and I, J and two mutual friends) nipped over to Whitchurch of a lunch time.

Slightly odd reference to “real” fine cheeses, I thought. I mean are there any unreal ones and surely (if you are a Yank at least) that is better as in “That was an unreal piece of cheese” (quite unlikely if my limited experience of American cheese is anything to go by mind)? You may at this point be rightly thinking this man has way too much time on his hands – which Mrs. SF and J will attest to based on the long black over Americano discussion from breakfast at Milkwood!

Nice looking place inside,

I thought, as we settled down to peruse the menu.

I was nursing a bit of a hangover from a rather fine evening of good food, good wine and good company at the Heathcock for the annual Mystere Wine Club dinner

and a cheese toastie rather appealed.

The non – toastie menu here also has a nice feel to it, with a focus on cheese and charcuterie.

To kick things off we ordered all of the toasties (3) doubling up on the Gruyere and cheddar one (one with chives and mustard and one with onion balsamic chutney).

The Tomme de Savoie one (had to have it, with the post title, didn’t I), with the rather fine addition of toasted walnuts into the mix – love a walnut me, was a fine looking beast

with copious amounts of the funky cheese working very well with the walnuts.

I can’t say the C word as it is not even past Halloween (a pox on any who have already), but I do like the fact that around that time of year there is an abundance of what I regard as brain food.

Both gruyere and cheddar toasties were similarly good,

with the sharpness of the mustard as against the rich gooey cheese the winning combo.

Because all of us at the table were pigs we ordered more. I mean it would have been a travesty not to.

The raclette was nicely done, with lots of gooey cheese, gamey wild boar salami and bountiful amounts of new potatoes and chopped cornichons (the latter’s acidity essential in cutting through the richness of the cheese and meat).

Decent value at £8.25.

The undoubted star of the show, food wise, was the baked camembert (£15.95).

Delightfully molten with an earthy, mushroomy, funkiness and a herb zing from rosemary. Great slathered on the toasted bread, but a bit more of said bread would be better as we needed to order extra (came with a very nice apple chutney) to complete the camembert mopping up operation

With the wine offering you can order by the bottle,

but where is the fun in that when you have a rather snazzy machine to play with!

You slot a card

into the machine and then choose your wine and pour (ranging from 50 ml to 175 ml I think)

Really interesting selection of wines available, which are far from your “by the numbers” numbers

On our visit wines on pour included a Uruguayan Nebbiolo, a Rousette de Savioe

and a Spanish Trexidura (from the Riberio DO in Galicia).

Lots of different styles to suit all tastes and nothing too pricey.

I started off with a small pour of a German riesling,

which had a nice orchard fruit aroma. Not particularly dry, it had a touch of baked apple on the palate. Very good with the toasties.

Next up was a small pour of the Uruguayan Nebbiolo,

which had quite a floral (rose petal) aroma and a pleasing hit of sour cherry on the palate. Went very well with the raclette dish, particularly the wild boar salami.

A final wine (for me) was a Roussette de Savoie,

which had a nice floral, honeyed, nose and a distinct peachiness on the palate. Great with the camembert.

Mrs. SF enjoyed glasses of the Trexidura and the Txakoli, whereas J opted for reds in the form of a Cote du Rhone and the Nebbiolo (which she equally enjoyed, preferring the latter on balance).

Whilst I normally moan about the size of sherry pours,

here I can’t fault the 120ml pour of PX at a mere £4.95. A bargain and bravo to that pour size I say!

I also heartily approve of the PX and ice cream dessert. If you haven’t tried this then you are missing a trick, as it is a real treat.

The verdict

Really enjoyed this place. Great nibbles and a very interesting wine selection in a very convenient (to try lots) format. We had a very good lunch for £20 (inc. a decent tip) per head. Can’t fault that in my view.

Already planning a return trip for a long boozy lunch! Have my eye on the Vacherin and a grand slam of the wines on pour.

Fact that it is dog friendly makes it even better for the likes of Mrs. SF, J and I.

The details

Address: 69 Merthyr Road, Whitchurch, Cardiff, CF14 1DD.

Website: https://www.bandol.co.uk/

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