Foodie. Food Porn.#yum. Sounds familiar? Of course, no smartphone owning human being can deny the guilty pleasure of posting that delicious medium rare rib-eye for dinner, that perfect cuppa at the new coffee shop near the office or that time they dined at that Michelin starred restaurant. The screen generation is always on the clamor for that perfect food porn picture worthy of Instagram glory. Foodies have emerged everywhere and this has changed the scene for the food industry immensely. Today, one click is all it takes.
Today’s trend of obsession with food did not come as a surprise to me as I came from a country that celebrated life events with massive amounts of food. Birthdays, graduations, Christmas and New Year – all these days would be incomplete without the Filipino handa. We may have not taken a picture of every dish back then but the essence is the same. Good food not only provides sustenance – it simply makes us happy. And I guess food induced happiness was indeed what I found during a recent visit to Cardiff – my accidentally discovered haven for foodies.
I was only planning a simple and relaxed couple of days away from city stress but I think I ended up biting more than I could chew – literally. Cardiff is budding with restaurants and unique dining experiences from the usual food business giants to those humble local start-ups. The irresistible culinary scene around this city has brought the foodie out of me and I have to say – I enjoyed every bite! The flourishing food scene in the heart of Wales is inspiring and could easily become an exciting foodie destination in the future.
The Potted Pig
27 High Street, Cardiff CF10 1PU
Care to dine in a restaurant nestled in a former bank vault beneath the city? Head over to The Potted Pig, owned by two self – made chefs and is a recent contender in the list of UK’s top 100 restaurants . Some say this place has helped massively in marking Cardiff as a culinary destination. The ambiance was unique and the interiors simple in a way yet surprisingly not claustrophobic despite the location. Fair warning: Brace yourself for cute figurine piglets scattered around!
The menu changes daily as the team prides themselves with serving dishes from the best available local produce. They also have a wine selection and a bar for those who need more than a good meal. What makes it a great starting point to get to know Cardiff is locals actually eat here – a promising sign of trust in the quality of the food they whip up in every plate.
There was an interesting selection of starters but we decided on Deviled Whitebait & Aioli, a dish comprised of fresh whitebait in a spiced coating then deep fried to a crunchy finish. The fish was light and crisp without too much oil and the aioli had a creamy citrus hint that I liked very much.
Next came my order of perfectly cooked Duck Leg Confit lying on a bed of well seasoned greens. We could not miss out on ordering the Pork Belly, which was not impressive in presentation but was surprisingly delicious and tender. It came with a side of cabbage in a delicate sauce and a pillow of vegetable mash. In the end I had to fight for that tasty pig’s head croquette!
My only regret was they did not have the Crispy Pig Ears and Braised Ox Cheek when we arrived but they assured us it would be available next time. I am definitely coming back for that! For more information about The Potted Pig, click right here.
28 Castle Arcade, Cardiff, South Wales
The Castle Arcade is home to an array of homey coffee shops and restaurants but for the ultimate ice cream experience be amazed and indulge at Science Cream. What makes this place standout from the rest of Earth’s ice cream parlors? Every order of ice cream goodness is made in front of you using liquid nitrogen, ensuring freshness every time. It’s a sensory experience as you can see the electronic mixers billowing with white clouds while your dessert is churned into freezing point . The ambiance is enhanced by the use of beakers and cylinders as containers for sprinkles and other toppings. The lady preparing the treats was also sporting a lab coat and proper lab goggles. Talk about dedication! Buzzfeed declared this as the ice cream you have to try before you die – need I say more?
I had the Ultimate Banana Split and a Malted Chocolate with toasted marshmallow topping. It was a decadent treat! The banana was caramelised to a warm piece of heaven on Earth and a perfect pairing to the silky ice cream. I couldn’t get enough of the toasted marshmallow and my Malted Chocolate ice cream was rich and lush. A dessert born from magic! It was just the right kind of sweet and even in the still nippy Spring breeze, it was a welcome comfort food.
21 Castle Arcade, Cardiff, CF10 1BW
Conveniently located in The Castle Arcade as well, Madame Fromage is a shop hard to miss. The aroma of melting cheese seems to lure you into this quaint and lovely place. I adored that the place was not in a hurry – it was the perfect spot for a slow hearty lunch in the midst of Cardiff. The menu had a LONG disclaimer at the bottom quickly warning people in a hurry that they were in the wrong place and even suggested a fast food place instead where they serve reheated microwave food. In that moment I fell in love with Madame Fromage. Haha.
Aside from being a cheese specialist , Madame Fromage serves some good Welsh food. I had a taste of my first rarebit here – a Welsh delicacy, and I recommend you do the same. I love everything with a little spice so I ordered the Dragon Rarebit which was an open sandwich poured with a savoury cheese sauce, topped with spicy pepperoni and chunks of fiery chorizo. The side salad was fresh and complemented the dish so well in taste and texture alike. The dish, together with the vibe and pace of the place, made it so worth the visit.
Be sure to make room for dessert because they serve a rocking chocolate milkshake too. Coffee lovers with a sense of adventure can order the Candy Cane Coffee – a green (yes, green!) caffeine concoction with hints of peppermint but still with that round coffee flavour. Happy days indeed! Click here for directions to your own cheesy afternoon moment at Madame Fromage.
Cardiff Central Market, St. Mary Street, Cardiff
Satisfy your sweet cravings with homemade Welsh Cakes baked on site by Cardiff Bakerstones conveniently located in Cardiff Market. These small tasty sweets are perfect as snacks on the go or paired with your afternoon cuppa tea. I like that they’re not overwhelmingly sweet with a texture that’s half cookie and half cake. All cakes are baked on the shop with a clear window showing how the cakes make it from batter to boxes. They have an assortment of flavors such as classic, lemon curd, jam and cream and many more. There is even an innovative Diabetic and Vegan range. At 30p a piece it is an absolute cheap eat in Cardiff you cannot skip.
All my friends will tell you that I am a diet freak but with Cardiff, I forgot to count calories simply because the gastronomic ride was a big part of the travel experience itself. Every taste, every smell and every bite a portal back in time to this city. And I am sure the next time I bite into a Welsh Cake or fancy myself a Rarebit from around London, I will always remember that time Cardiff gave me a firsthand experience of what it’s like to be in a food coma.