Sunday, 22 May 2016

The Stable, Cardiff

I know I go on and on about food, but you may remember me harking on and on about a little pizza and cider haven in Newquay here called The Stable. Well back then I thought that Fistral Beach was the only one, but not only do they have numerous branches, they've also brought a piece of their West Country lovin' to Cardiff.

I've been dying to try The Stable ever since I missed their opening night, but life and all sorts of other food kept getting in the way. So with a quiet afternoon off work one day, Mr P and I headed into the capital to hunter gather ourselves some lunch.

We ordered ourselves a cider flight and had a nose at the menu. The cider tasting flights are such good value and a great way to try out a couple of ciders, if the 80-odd varieties on offer are a little overwhelming. They're served in 1/3 of a pint, so if one happens to taste like cat wee, you can palm it off onto your drinking partner... *look innocent*

Both the full and lunch menus were on offer, but surprise, we couldn't decide. Mr P went for the 'Monmouth Trotter' pizza from the lunch menu, and I picked the Wild Rooster pie from the main menu. I was sold by the roast potatoes, to be honest.

I know it might look pretty, but I really do hate it when someone shoves a lump of rocket on top of a pizza. It's so unnecessary and annoying, especially when said pizza comes with a side salad in a bowl next to it. Rant over.

Pizza was pronounced lovely and crispy, and with plenty of topping.  It felt a little on the small side, but that's probably our fault for being such naughty breakfast-skipping late lunchers. This was from the lunch menu too, so more than adequate with the salad for a normal weekday lunch. For those with normal sized stomachs.

I think I won in the food stakes to be honest.

Filled to the brim with big cubes of gammon and gooey leeks, it doesn't get much better comfort food than that. Combined with a couple of potato wedges and an amazing tomato salsa to dip them in, this was a winner. The pie pastry truly was very good, piping hot and flaky but sturdy, and went well with the ciders on offer. Even the salad was tasty and well dressed, and the pickled onion a nice touch. I do wonder what happened to the other half however...

A good start to a chill out date afternoon in Cardiff. It's not the same, however, staring out at Barrack Lane instead of a Fistral Beach sunset so I just can't quite get the same excitement as I did first time around. Nevertheless, I'm sure I'll be back with a bunch friends for a relaxed evening to make our way through the cider menu, and for some more of those lovely roast potatoes.

Thursday, 12 May 2016

Sunday Best - The Ruperra Arms, Newport

Next up in the Sunday lunch series is The Ruperra Arms, situated in Bassaleg, Newport. I've been looking forward to trying lunch here for a long while, after many recommendations from friends and family alike. We saw on their twitter that they had a last minute table free for Sunday lunch, and at a loose end, we nabbed it.

The Ruperra is a seriously cute looking little pub, cwtchy corners and log fires for winter, and a twinkling fairy light garden for the summer. We grabbed our drinks (Tiny Rebel on tap = points on the board already) and settled in with the menu.

Sunday lunch is offered at £8.95, £12.95 and £15.95 for one, two and three courses, and in the interests of a good blog (how long can I use that excuse?) we went for all three.

First up was a smoked bacon Caesar salad for me, and a smoked salmon and crayfish parfait for Mr P.  There's not a lot you can say about salad, but it was a perfectly pleasant starter. Creamy cheddar cheese went well with the salty chunks of bacon, and the crunchy croutons pulled it all together.

The salmon parfait looked very pretty, and came with plenty of the bloody Mary sauce which pleased Mr P who's partial to the spicy cocktail.

I usually go for the chicken dinner, but the 7 hour roasted beef brisket sold me, and I'm so glad it did. I don't know what they did to that beef, but it was incredible. Thick slices were piled high on the plate, and were as soft as butter. Definitely worth every minute of slow roasting time, and clearly good quality beef as it wasn't sinewy in the slightest.

Mr P went for the chicken, and his reports from across the table were that it was a very good roasted breast of chicken, and most importantly for a roast chicken, still moist and juicy.

As you can see, the yorkies were huge and pillowy, and it came with both new and roast potatoes, and there's a stuffing ball hiding underneath there too. I'm not too keen on the bit of green strung across the top though, a little bit unnecessary?

Along came an extra jug of heavenly 'Nanna' gravy, thick and flavoursome and made with those glorious beef juices. It was lush, the entire jug disappeared between us both, and Mr P declared it "the best gravy I've ever had in my life" - that's a serious statement from a man who's seen a lot of roasts! There was a good selection of crunchy and vibrant veggies. I love a green bean so was happy to see those make an appearance.

My only disappointment was the roast potatoes, which looked perfect on the plate, but they just weren't crunchy at all on the outside. They were a good size and bronzed nicely, but just lacking the crunchy edges that I love so much.

I was completely stuffed by now, especially after mopping up all the rich gravy, but I was too intrigued by the dessert menu, or more specifically "Steve's OMG brownie"...

A chocolatey hunk of naughtiness with a scoop of creamy vanilla bean ice cream and the most picture perfect of strawberries. This was a real slab of thick, rich chocolate. Just the thing for chocolate lovers.

Mr P went for the lighter side of dessert, with a lemon posset and shortbread biscuits. I'm not one for those type of desserts, but he absolutely raved about this. Probably the better option to round off a filling lunch and cleanse your palette, but this girl needed the chocolate.

For £15.95, I honestly walked out of The Ruperra feeling like I'd robbed them. The standard of each course was outstanding, and just unbeatable for that price. I can't wait to go back and try out the normal menu, and I'd go back for Sunday lunch in a heartbeat.

Make sure you book up ahead (details here) as this place gets very busy and booked up quickly. There were some walk ins turned away while we were eating. Oh, and have the beef. Trust me.