Sunday, 25 January 2015

The Smoke House Breakfast - Review

Going out for breakfast is not something I do very often any more, there was a time going out for breakfast was synonymous with a hang over. Back then the only place for me was the late, great Cafe Calcio on Crwys Road. I know it may not be a popular statement but after several years of frequenting said cafe the idea of a fry up is just not appetizing to me any more. If I do go out for breakfast, I now would normally order either eggs Benedict or eggs Florentine.  There is a certain beauty in a perfectly poached egg and rich hollandaise sauce but even this breakfast mainstay now seems a little mundane.
Enter The Smoke House breakfast menu, filled with options like Huevos Rancheros, Breakfast Burrito and Smoked Brisket Hash with Duck Eggs, reignited my interest in venturing out for breakfast again. So when the opportunity arose to catch up with some friends and their kids we suggested The Smoke House for breakfast.

Sorry about the creased menu!

The ever popular Smoke House based on Pontcanna Street is a fairly compact restaurant to say the least, anyone who has ventured there in the evening will know making a reservation is almost essential to guarantee a table. With this in mind we booked a table for breakfast which is always handy to know especially if you are a large group. However for breakfast things are a little bit more chilled. Much more space to spread out, chilled tunes playing and the oh so heavenly smell of coffee.
Being a group of four adults and three children we were able to try a good selection from the menu. First up, Pancake Stack with Greek yoghurt, fresh berries, toasted almonds and maple syrup.

Aside from looking stunning, the pancakes were quite dense and really needed the moisture from the accompanying berries and yoghurt to help lift the dish. That being said our friend who ordered it was very happy indeed.
Next up Huevos Rancheros, baked eggs, chilli, tomatoes, bell pepper topped with manchego cheese, coriander and avocado (usually there is some chorizo in the mix but I forwent it for dietary reasons).

I had heard of this traditional Mexican breakfast before but never tried it and was unsure how the long list of ingredients from the description was going to come together. Presented beautifully in a cast iron skillet and served with a soft tortilla and tomato salsa with watercress on the side this dish was superb. The richness from the egg yolk running into the spicy and sweet mixture beneath, seasoned by the strips of manchego cheese. The tortilla was great for dipping but ordered some toast to mop up the remains, the salsa cut through the richness of the dish perfectly. Delicious, filling and exciting to eat. However I'm not so sure what the avocado brought to the party. 
Lastly the dish I wanted to order but Mrs Clonc beat me to it (if you and your other half are any thing like us we have a rule about ordering the same thing) Smoked Brisket Hash with Duck eggs. Smoked beef brisket with potato and onion hash topped with either poached or fried duck eggs severed with a side of smoked baked beans.

Mrs Clonc ordered fried duck eggs and needless the say this was the dish I was most anticipating. Tender smoked beef in a potato and onion hash, with two pert fried duck eggs sat on top, what's not to like? The dish totally delivered, the mild smokiness in the deliciously soft beef was lovely, coupled with the well seasoned and flavoursome hash was enhanced by the richness of the runny duck egg yolk. The smoked beans were insane. Thick, sweet, smoky and completely essential, otherwise the dish would have been far too dry. Easily the best dish of the morning for me.
The two little ones who were eating with us had mini scrambled eggs on toast and smoked beans on toast. Great portions for kids and plenty for mums or dads to help finish off as well. Baby Clonc slept throughout the meal. High chairs are available and there is space in the corridor at the back of the restaurant for buggies, sorry travel systems. 
As for the drinks, the coffee was good and the tea was standard. The service was excellent and could not be more helpful.

The total bill came to £50.95 including a number of teas, coffees and juices. It must also be mentioned that the breakfast menu is only available at the weekends. The group consensus at the end of breakfast was a resounding thumbs up. For me, I just loved the chilled atmosphere and delicious food. I definitely recommend The Smoke House for breakfast especially if  you fancy a change from the usual humdrum. 

The Smoke House
77 Pontcanna Street, Cardiff, CF11 9HS
Tel: 02920 344628

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