We had a whirlwind trip to Cardiff recently, and thought we’d have a quicker look at the highlights.
We visited the Tanners Arms in the Brecon Beacons, and had a tart from the Portuguese Bakery.
Then we had dinner in the self-explanatory Burger and Lobster, and a final drink in new CAMRA favourite the Hopbunker.
Controversially, Bethan insisted we drive a cross-country route – turn left at Llanrhystud, though Nebo, through Lampeter, joining the A470 at Libanus.
No quicker than my favoured Llangurig way, but a lot shorter.
And we got to call in at The Tanners Arms in Defynnog on the way.
This pub on the edge of the Beacons normally has a good range of beers, but it was a beer festival when we went, so there were too many to choose from!
And a very accomplished musician to listen to.
What a lovely place! Definitely worth the detour.
And they have old-fashioned (“proper”) beer glasses.
Not my best photo, but it reflects how I felt after eight halves of different, all-excellent beers.
Once in town, we were delighted to try the “Portuguese Bakery” opposite Cardiff CastleThis little chain is popping up all over the place, and I can see why.
We only had time to try a few pastries, but they were excellent, and I’d like to go back and give them a more serious looking-at, especially as I’ve now learned to spell “Portuguese” (2x “U” – who knew?)
Also near the castle is the Hopbunker (no website yet, but on Facebook)
It opened in 2015, and was crowned Cardiff CAMRA Real Ale Pub of the Year for 2016.
There’s a big row of beer taps, more taps behind the bar, and a big row of ciders. All the ones I tried were in excellent condition, and we had a nice chat with the friendly licensee.
I’m told the urinals are exciting (made out of old beer kegs) and I had to physically prevent Bethan from going in there to take a photo.
Hmm, that’s not a nice note to finish on – let’s have another pic of the bar.
Our final meal was at “Burger & Lobster”
I don’t eat anything that hasn’t evolved enough to drag itself out of the oceans, but Bethan loves all fings fishy, so this sounded just the thing for us.
Sophisticated metropolitan blogger GourmetGorro has undertaken a two-year quest to find the best burgers in Cardiff, and rates this place his Number1.
Finding Burger & Lobster isn’t easy, especially as their website is so tacky (a company with a website more interested in Flash design than content is normally a bad sign)
And once you find it, you have to be escorted up three flights of stairs as it’s above other properties in the St David’s centre.
But once there, it looks fantastic.
You’re up with the building’s stylish roof trusses, the designers creating a blend of light and shade that I found beautiful.
Bethan doesn’t like that sort of chair when eating, but there are booths too.
And look at this stylish DJ, spinning some 70s floor-fillers.
It felt a bit trendy for us, but the staff were friendly, helpful and chatty.
When B&L opened, it kept the same prices as its London branch. Ouch. Cardiff isn’t London.
Fortunately, management have seen sense and brought in local pricing.
Their £8 burger is a bargain, I hear, but I’d have needed to order sides so I went for the larger Nebraskan experience (£15).
My pictures of the food haven’t come out well as I’d chosen a darker table to hide my bingo wings from the attractive staff.
Hmm, and the burger looks small there.
It isn’t – the chips and salad are just big.
And it was DELICIOUS.
This import from Nebraska – where the cows are corn-fed – was succulent with big beefy flavour.
Great bacon, didn’t notice the cheese as my head was spinning.
The bun was tasty but a little soft and fell apart towards the end of its battering (but is that the price of using brioche?)
Chips were fine and the salad was good.
Is it the best burger? Do you know, I think it is.
I had a £10.50 burger of similar style at AberYankee a few days earlier, and this blew it away.
Yes, it’s dearer, but the burgers are bigger (10oz vs 6oz) and tastier.
If you want the best, you gotta pay.
Bethan’s lobster roll was similarly a best-in-class effort (£15).
Again, photo doesn’t do it justice.
There was A LOT of tasty lobster in there, mixed into a Japanese mayo with Chinese leaf, cucumber & spring onion in a very fine brioche roll.
The sweet potato fries were an extra for £4, and they were my favourite part. They’d been coated (cornmeal?) to make them crispy, and deep fried without going greasy. I’ve never had the like.
Drinks were very good too.
I had very good IPA from Newport’s Tiny Rebel (£4.20), and a glass of disappointingly ordinary Carmenere (£5.50), and Bethan greatly enjoyed her Vinho Verde (£5.50).
Cocktail menu looked good – they’re £7.50 each, but until 7pm they’re two for £10 which is very good.
If I lived in Cardiff again, I’d be sitting at that posh bar at least once a week.
Service is excellent, and the food comes very quickly (benefits of a very small menu).
We spent £50 in total, but felt that we’d had the best food in a wonderful environment.
I won’t be letting my Dafydd meet the manager though – a tall glamourous lady who looked like a model but was very friendly and chatty. He’d only get confused.