Ted Shiress

“Food, glorious food, in the city of Cardiff!”

Posted on | March 26, 2012 | 2 Comments

For those who know me or follow me on Twitter you will know that food plays a very big part in my life. My type of Cerebral Palsy means I need an awful lot of energy to get by, and I see it as a mission to obtain the utmost pleasure out of receiving that energy. Having only so many hours with my assistant [and already using those hours so I can have a couple of well-prepared meals a week] means sometimes I eat out without her. Below is a list of where I go [in Cardiff] and where you should too.

Juno Lounge – I seem to remember this place describing itself as an informal neighbourhood bar/café, and while being far from shabby [actually it’s very nice inside] it still manages to have a very welcoming and relaxing feel. This is the kind of place that you can pop in for a coffee and a pastry, a couple of pints, a main meal or anything in between at all hours of the day and never feel out of place. (Well it opens at 9am so if you are popping in for a couple of pints then you ought feel out of place.)

It offers a highly extensive menu of all freshly prepared food and a fine list of monthly specials. The pre-midday breakfast deal is definitely worth getting my unemployed backside out of bed for, it offers the £7 all day fry-up for £5.90 with a coffee or a tea plus a glass of juice. A definite bargain as far as I’m concerned.
Juno Lounge is on Wellfield Road in Roath

Madame Fromage – I stumbled across this place for lunch on a Sunday about two years ago and to this day have barely missed a Sunday there (not that it offers anything particular on a Sunday to any other day of the week, it’s just a thing that stuck). This place is many things (a deli, a cheese shop, a place for a main meal, a place for a snack, a place for a slice of cake etc, and one that says it specialises in Welsh AND Breton cuisine) which can often be a sign of spreading ones base too wide and not excelling in one individual field. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth in this instance as everything is done with the utmost care and quality (even the lattes leave you with that dry feeling you only get after a decent hit of coffee!).

I have to say I would not recommend this place for a light lunch, simply because the portions are so damn huge! You may question the fact that the baguettes are £7 and want assurance that you’re getting something pretty beasty in size and contents for that money, however you can look no further than here for that assurance. These things are truly enormous. They also have their own mini-bakery which as well as making those hefty baguettes, comes up with a range of speciality breads that are served along side most main dishes. Oh, and I haven’t even mentioned the cakes, let’s just say you are in for quite a nice surprise!

One odd thing here is the amount of slightly passive-aggressive signs about customers having to be patient due to it not being a fast-food place – I’m not saying they’re everywhere, you just find one or two lying around. I find this strange as the staff are truly lovely people and cannot imagine anyone feeling the need to get shirty with them over anything. Plus even with their relatively small open-plan kitchen the food is pretty speedy. I guess they must have had a spate of very unreasonable customers, however unless you are one of them I have truly no idea how you could find fault with this place.
Madame Fromage is in the Castle Arcade in the city centre

The Potted Pig – I am trying my best not to rank these places at all and suggest any one might be superior to any others, however, I must confess this place is pretty flawless. It is in many ways everything you’d look for in an expensive fine-dining establishment except for the fact that the prices are actually pretty damn reasonable. I’ve often found myself paying around £30 for three courses and two drinks which at such a standard is truly unbelievable. As the name suggests this is a place for meat lovers, with an ever-changing menu of steaks, stews and unique cuts of meat cooked to perfection it will satisfy any carnivore’s tongue.

The slight downside is it books up incredibly quickly in the evenings, but rest assured, you can still pop in for a two-courses-for-£10 lunch deal most days of the week. This is apart from Sundays when it’s two-for-£15 on what is undoubtedly the best roast I’ve had out. Even the roasties are amazing, and, let’s be honest, how many times have you had a decent roastie out?

(Oh and the chips are something out of this world!)

The term ‘genuine’ is one that’s highly overused and horrendously clichéd but there really is no other way to describe the staff. As a regular I admit I have established a good rapport with all the team, I even know the manager and head-waiter Alex is a regular reader of this blog (hi!), but even with newbies they seem sincere in their friendliness and keen on advising the dish most to the customer’s pallet regardless of the price. Truly recommended.
The Potted Pig is at the top of St Mary’s st

Red Pepper – and so if there’s a cheap Indian restaurant within walking distance [yes, Cerebral Palsy walking distance] from your house it’s almost law that you go there and, providing you don’t contract food-poisoning, become a regular. Despite the bar being set so low Red Pepper still feels the need to clear it with a massive high-jump. Unlike most local-Indians, the ‘kormas’, ‘curries’, ‘madrasses’ and ‘vindaloos’ are saved for one dusty hardly turned page at the back of the menu, instead you are treated to an enormous range of unique takes on Indian cuisine. Most of the curries are very obscure and some are even their own creation.

With individual curries priced at £6-8 you could argue that while being far from dear your jaw is safe from dropping in total awe at the prices. However, it is then you notice the deals: starter, curry, rice or naan for £5.90 or poppadum, starter, curry, rice, bread and coffee for £8.90. Yes, you read that, the first of the two meal-deals is cheaper than any of the individual curries, it makes absolutely no sense! However, what does make sense is this is a total bargain, I have a general rule of only having one evening-meal out a week, but due to the shear brilliance of the prices, this place doesn’t apply to the rule.

The only problem with this place is hardly anyone goes there, and the best I have seen it is half-full, with prices and dishes as fine as these I really see absolutely no reason for this, and I urge you to check it out. Not for your benefit that is, I’m a selfish bugger and couldn’t care less, but I just couldn’t bear to see this place go as it definitely deserves to be thriving.
Red Pepper is on 4 Elms Street in Roath

Troy – if there is one thing I hate about doner kebabs is that it made ‘kebab’ such a dirty word, but thankfully you only have to go to Troy to realise how lovely a kebab can be. Troy is Mediterranean cuisine at its very best. Whether you go there for a main sit-down meal or a filling wrap to take away you definitely won’t find yourself disappointed. The portions are huge, the quality is great and the staff are informal, friendly while incredibly dedicated.

All food is prepared right before your eyes on an open BBQ/grill beside the counter showing you just how fresh and pure what you are getting is. There are a wide range of vegetarian options but I guess this really is a place for meat-lovers. Whether it’s a mince-based kebab or a shish you are after they will cook it right before your very eyes with a huge range of home-made sauces and accompaniments.
Troy is on City Road in Roath

Zio Pin – everyone has a local Italian that they frequent once or twice a fortnight and are considered regulars of even if this involves forgiving a slight inadequacy or two, and the truth is there is very little that needs to be forgiven here. This place seems modest in that there are subtle things you find out about the menu, which they don’t boast about, that puts it a fair way above establishments you may associate it with. For instance, the pizza dough is fresh and homemade [with a lovely flavour of olive oil], so are the desserts [minus the olive oil!] and the range of authentic non-pizza/pasta Italian dishes on the specials board is pretty extensive. It is these little features that make this such a great place.

The staff are very dedicated yet wonderfully warm, always dedicated yet brilliantly hospitable.
Zio Pin is on Albany Road in Roath

So, hungry?


2 Responses to ““Food, glorious food, in the city of Cardiff!””

  1. Gareth
    March 27th, 2012 @ 12:55 pm


    Top blogging, I’m bloody starving now!

    Have to agree with your choices, and I’m very glad you’ve included my all time favourite, Troy’s, the Rolls Royce of kebabs shops!

    Slightly underwhelmed by the Potted Pig on my visit, will have to give it another go me thinks.

    Keep blogging,


  2. Nikki Vivian
    March 28th, 2012 @ 3:57 pm

    Nice blog! I really must try out the Red Pepper.

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