Sunday, 25 October 2015

Child Friendly Places to Eat - Cardiff

With half term upon us I thought I would compile a small list of places I have enjoyed eating out as a family. Places that serve good food, in a great environment and that are not especially stress inducing when eating out with a child. Although Baby Clonc is 18 months old the places I recommend would be suitable for most children (depending on the child of course). 
The 'No Brainer': Chapter Arts Centre

This has been a firm favourite since Baby Clonc arrived on the scene and which we return to time and time again. The great open layout with light flooding in is a fantastic place for kids to roam about in. I love the feeling of space in this place, the diverse array of people there and the fact that no one even bats an eye lid if your kid decides to kick off. Food for both grown ups and a specific children's menu is good.  The portion sizes for children are excellent (dishes on the children menu will set you back £4.50) There are good baby changing facilities and parking outside if you can get it! I also recently noticed there is garden outside the main entrance with rosemary, lavender and even Figs! Essentially this is the place to go with minimum stress. Good food, good people, good times.

The 'Fancy One': Burger and Lobster Cardiff

If you could take 2 minutes to stop stressing about how expensive their burgers are and just listen up. This place is fantastic for children young and old! High chairs, check! Baby changing facilities, check! Cool lobster tanks, check! And now, with a the unique to Cardiff lunch menu that runs during the week, a little less pricey (see my full review of their lunch menu). 

The brilliant staff are more often than not happy to get a lobster out from the tank for your kid to see up close! I would have loved this as a kid! I love it now as an adult. In terms of food for kids, 2 burger sliders with fries and salad will set you back £10. Potentially some tasty left overs for parents to polish off. 

The ' Cool One': Wahaca Cardiff

I love this place and so does Baby Clonc. The tactile eating with your hands style of food is great for kids. Aside from the fact the children's menu priced at £5.25 it is excellent value for money (main and a drink included but ice cream is extra). Skip the ice cream and share a churros with the little one,  that is if you can bear to share it. 

Typical children's meal at Wahaca

Again all the basics are there, high chair and changing facilities. Not only that but kids get a free babychino! Only down side is it can get quite busy and the tables are tightly packed so go for an early lunch/dinner. (See my full review of when Wahaca opened in Cardiff)

The ' Adventurous one': Ichiban

This stalwart of the Cardiff food scene has been serving up excellent Japanese food for years. I've never had a bad meal at either of their restaurants and recently I've noticed that lots of families go there too. Granted the décor is dated but the sushi is excellent with service to match. I would probably avoid with young children as the facilities are not great but older kids who are a bit more adventurous with food should love it. I wish my parents took me for sushi.

By no means is this an exhaustive list but just a little something for those looking for inspiration. Food is my passion and I'm sure it's the same for many people too. I want to share that with my son by visiting exciting and imaginative places that serve up good food to both children and adults alike and not feel stressed out by the whole experience! So I hope the above helps!

Saturday, 10 October 2015

Foodie Five with Cyrus Todiwala

Last month by sheer chance I was lucky enough to have a five minute chat with the very talented and entertaining Cyrus Todiwala at Abergavenny Food Festival. Cyrus Todiwala is chef patron at the now legendary Café Spice Namaste in London which has been going strong for the last 19 years. Cyrus is a well recognised figure on the UK food scene and our TV screens, from multiple appearances on Saturday Kitchen, numerous publications and of course one half of the eccentric Incredible Spice Men along with Tony Singh.
I took this opportunity to ask one of the most renowned Indian chefs in the UK a couple of questions:

Pic courtesy of Huw John 

What do you make of the Indian food scene in Wales?
Ha! Good question! If I’m honest I haven’t had the opportunity to eat or visit many of the Indian restaurants around Wales so don’t feel I can fully comment. However I do know there are some good Indian restaurants in Cardiff.

Ok, if Wales is too specific what about the current state of Indian food in the UK?
Indian food has proved to be one of the nation’s favourite types of food and as a result restaurants must work hard to retain this position by delivering authentic Indian food but at the same time trying to innovate and keep things interesting.

This is not your first Abergavenny Food Festival what keeps you coming back to Wales?
I love Wales! In fact a lot of the produce we buy in for the restaurant comes from Wales including most of the lamb.

Pic courtsey of Huw John

There you have it my five minute chat with Cyrus Todiwala and not a bad person to start with for my very first interview. He was as likable and enthusiastic as he is on television and a true gent. Cyrus if you’re ever in Cardiff and want someone to show you where the good Indian restaurants are just let me know!

Friday, 2 October 2015

Lufkin Coffee

While ambling around my neighbourhood last Saturday I stumbled upon a little sign at the gate of 183A Kings Road in Pontcanna. This address happens to be the home of the renowned Pipes Brewery and is a little mews if you like in the heart of Pontcanna. It is home to a variety of businesses, studios a Dojo and now a new coffee joint.

I always like visiting 183A Kings Road, once you walk through the archway the hum drum and buzz of Pontcanna is dialled down as you enter this indie hub.

Lufkin Coffee has only been open for business for a month. Their pitch is simple, coffee beans are roasted on site in small batches then ground on site before your cup of coffee is made for you using the pour over filter method. This simplicity and transparency in what they offer is echoed in their refurb of this snug unit. It has been made to feel light, bright and bigger than it actually is. A real triumph.  There are some stools at the window if you want to sit in or have a seat outside if the weather is nice.

At present they offered 2 types of single origin coffee one from Nicaragua and one from Kenya. As I was actually born in Kenya this was a no brainer for me. Watching Dan prepare my coffee you can tell this is his baby. Such care and concentration as he pours the water over the coffee grounds that then drips into the cup below. The coffee itself was remarkably light and refreshing.

Speaking to Dan he expressed the whole idea of Lufkin coffee (apparently the name Lufkin means love) is to deliver a truly hand crafted coffee which incorporates some of the ethos from the slow food movement. Which brings me to mention that this place is the polar opposite of the generic high street coffee joint and that if you want Dan and the team to make you a hand crafted coffee you best not be in a rush.

So next time you find yourself in these parts why not take a stroll down 183A Kings Road, you never know what you may find.

Lufkin Coffee
Address: 183A Kings Road, Cardiff, CF11 9DF