Last week, on an after work trip over to Cardiff, we decided to pop down to Cardiff Bay and soak up the last of the evening sun.
I haven’t been down to Cardiff Bay in at least a couple of years, but it’s still just as buzzing as ever, with a lots of new exciting restaurants and bars around the waterfront.
Chai Street, Cardiff Bay
This is my second visit to a branch of the Cardiff local gem, Chai Street Indian Street Kitchen. It’s a really laid back restaurant, with the best, bright and dazzling decor; ideal for just dropping in on a whim, or for a special meal.
I went for the Traditional Chicken Thali (£11.95) – a spicy chicken curry, a potato curry, dal, raita, pickle, mini poppadums, rice and a naan bread. I love to try a bit of lots of different things, so thalis are ideal for that, plus the Chai Street thali is slightly different every time. Despite the heat, the chicken curry was definitely the highlight for me though.
Tom, meanwhile, went all out and ordered the non-vegetarian Chai Special Thali (£13.25). This was a meal and a half, it included: a starter (baji), a chicken curry, a lamb curry, and some of the potato vegetable curry, as well as dal, raita, pickle, poppadums, rice and a naan bread.
It was a really delicious thali (almost as good as Thali in Bristol), but I think next time I’m going to try out some of their ‘Street Delights’. The chicken lollypops (marinated with spices, ginger, garlic and then fried!), Prawn Chatpata and the samosas all sounded, smelled and looked incredible!
If you find yourself down at Cardiff Bay, hungry and fancy some authentic Indian street food, then definitely check out Chai Street. They also have restaurants in Canton and on the High Street in Cardiff – so there’s no excuse not to visit.
This weekend, I went down to Cornwall for a beautiful wedding – perfect, sunny weather, old friends, many many drinks, and a picturesque location made for a wonderful time.
We travelled down Friday afternoon, and went straight to our B&B in Harlyn Bay near Padstow. We were staying in the Harlyn Inn; a pretty basic room above a pub, but literally just across the road from the beach.
Sadly we didn’t have much time to spend on the beach, but it’s the perfect little spot for sunbathers, dog walkers and surfers. We did find a little time to dip our toes and take in the view before dinner though.
I picked this yellow floral midi skirt up in Zara’s sale this week. It’s a-line cut is so comfy and flattering, and I love the jazzy pattern, perfect for super sunny days like we’ve been having recently.
The restaurant is located in a holiday park, you go past a play area, up the steps and there’s a little inside area with a few tables and a covered outside seating area with the most stunning views across the fields to the sea.
I had the fish goujons, that came with a generous portion of fries and a delicious salad and balsamic dressing. Amy went for The View burger – beef, cheddar cheese and chutney.
The View is a lovely little, family run restaurant that’s definitely worth visiting.
Summer wedding in Trevone
The wedding was at the Well Parc Hotel, Trevone. The hotel has a perfect garden overlooking the beach and the seas, the ideal backdrop for an outdoor ceremony. And the weather was absolutely incredible.
Amsterdam is a city I’ve wanted to go to for so long, and one thing or another’s always got in the way. So we ended up going in December on a very last min, spur of the moment trip.
We stayed in the ClinkNOORD hostel, a quick (free) ferry ride across the water from Centraal station. It’s clean, funky and super convenient for a quick trip – our double private room was basic, but everything we needed as a base for exploring the city.
They also offer really great breakfasts, and have a pretty cool bar. We’ll definitely be staying at ClinkNOORD again for our next Amsterdam trip.
As for the rest of our trip, it was very very cold, icy and snowy – but there’s so much to do, see, explore around Amsterdam that it didn’t stop us at all.
My favourite Amsterdam highlights include (and yes, they’re mostly food related):
The Foodhallen is an indoor food market inside a renovated tram depot. With lofty ceilings, over 20 food stalls serving cuisines from all over and a really chilled out vibe, it was definitely worth trekking to the other side of the city for. We tried out some bitterballen, beers, and gyozas.
Foodhallen – Bellamyplein 51, 1053 AT Amsterdam
Not exactly an authentic Amsterdam experience, however BeerTemple is an American beer bar with 35 draft beers and around another 200 in bottles and cans – they also do a great cheese board if you’re feeling peckish while sampling the beers.
We had dinner at Kantjil & de Tiger based on a recommendation from one of Tom’s friends. It’s a wonderful Indonesian restaurant, and as soon as you walk in you’re hit by the most incredible smell.
Luckily we were able to get a table for two without booking ahead – but for larger groups it’s probably worth making a reservation.
I went for the Nasi Goreng Rames – spicy stir fried rice with rendang (curry), satay skewers, fried vegetable and an assortment of other delicious bits. Probably one of the best meals we had in Amsterdam, and for €17 was pretty good value.
Kantjil & de Tijger – Spuistraat 291/293, 1012 VS Amsterdam
We can’t go anywhere without trying to find the best burgers, and The Butcher, Amsterdam did not disappoint. It’s a very casual, diner, eat in or takeaway place: ideal for a quick, amazing dinner.
I kept it simple and had The Butcher with Cheese: Prime Aberdeen Angus beef, lettuce, tomato, grilled onion, gherkin, Dutch Edam cheese and The Butcher sauce. It was absolutely perfect, and they also do some incredibly indulgent milkshakes, if you feel like being a bit extra gluttonous.
The Butchers – Paleisstraat 14 1012 RB Amsterdam
We did one of the free (pay what you want at the end) walking tours around Amsterdam. It’s a great way to find out some of the history of the city, see the sights, and discover some local hidden gems like Cafe Sonneveld.
Our tour finished outside the Cafe Sonneveld, and the guide recommended it as a good place to try out traditional dutch food.
I had Stamppot with meatball, and Tom had it with sausage. It was a delicious, warm and filling meal – just right for the end of a pretty chilly December walking tour. If you want to sample local food in Amsterdam, then Cafe Sonneveld is definitely worth a visit!
One of Cheltenham Road’s newest offerings, Edit, is a unusual blend of classy tapas restaurant and cosy music bar. Labelling itself as an ‘audiophile restaurant’, the concept is inspired by Tokyo’s food and drink scene; offering Asian-inspired tapas style small plates, with an impressive Klipsch heritage sound system playing a range of ambient, soul, funk, electronica and world music. The idea is to delight all of your senses, and it achieves this, for the most part.
It’s very much a ‘drop-in’ place, with long high tables and bar chairs – making it feel casual yet a little sophisticated at the same time. The drinks menu is extensive and impressive, prepare yourself to be dazzled by a wide range of spirits, sake, beers and wine.
We decided to order and share a variety of their small plates and snacks; mushroom and miso bao, kimchi, fried squid with mango chilli sauce, chicken dumplings and prawn dumplings. For five dishes and two drinks it came to £32.
While the food arrived in seemingly random dribs and drabs (including one of our plates being delivered to the couple sat next to us), it was all incredibly delicious.
The slightly spiced, fried chicken dumplings in gyoza style parcels, were the standout dish for us. But the fried squid was a close second; it would be a perfect dish to pick at while having a few drinks. I would advise ordering quite a few dishes if you’re hungry, they’re little and delightful and definitely leave you wanting more.
Despite the slightly disorganised service, and a missing dish, we will definitely be returning.
As a concept, Edit is unique and quirky, just right for the Cheltenham Road/Gloucester Road junction that it finds itself on. However, it’s definitely more of a drinks,snacks and music venue, than somewhere you want to come for ‘dinner’ and leave completely filled up.
Over the last couple of months it seems like everyone has been talking about OOWEE diner in Montpelier, so last night I finally got to see what the hype is all about. Having made no dinner plans, but desperate for a decent burger this seemed like the perfect opportunity.
Tucked away in a corner of Picton Street, OOWEE diner is a tiny little place filled with the most incredible smell of burgers, fries and all things greasy and super unhealthy.
It was pretty hard to narrow down what we wanted to just one meals worth of food – it all sounds, and smells, so so good. I went for the The Pimento: a beef patty with spicy pimento cheese, pickles and relish, with added bacon. (£6.50 + £1)
The patty itself was well done on the outside but perfectly juicy on the inside; falling apart in your mouth kind of thing. The bacon was crispy and delicious, and the pickles were big – which always earns bonus points from me. The spicy cheese gave it that little extra kick to round off the flavour.
I also went for some of their dirty fries – Bacon Jalapeno fries (£4.50), and a side of Buffalo Shrimp (£5). The fries didn’t quite live up to my expectations, but they were still wonderfuly decadent in their excessiveness. The overwhelming highlight though was the huge, juicy Buffalo Shrimp, while there was only five in the serving they were absolutely amazing, so next time I’m definitely going to give the Shrimp fries a try.
OOWEE Diner is up there with some of the best burgers in Bristol. It’s simple, no fuss, dirty fried food that will fulfill all unhealthy food cravings. It’s also pretty good value!
I’m excited to write about Ljubljana because I had no idea what to expect from the city and it was completely amazing. Despite being the capital of Slovenia, Ljubljana has a small-town friendly feel, especially in the old part of the city.
We found some great places to eat in Ljubljana, although I did struggle a little as there was a lot of venison, veal and lamb on the menu, which I don’t eat.
Eating fresh, homecooked food is a big part of Slovenian culture – they have a market every day in Ljubljana selling all kinds of produce and you can really tell that Slovenian’s pride themselves on the quality of their food.
If you’re planning a trip to Ljubljana then make sure you are there for a Friday. They have an incredible food market where restaurants from all over Slovenia come to the city and set up a stall. It’s the best place to eat amazing, and cheap, food in Ljublana – your dining choices are almost overwhelming.
We went there for lunch after we had done the free Ljubljana tour, and then in the evening we walked around looking at restaurants and eventually ended up back at the food market having shrimp noodles and chicken from two different stands.
We had heard that Hood Burgers were the best burgers in Ljubljana – but they were based a little further out from the city than we want to walk. So when we stumbled across the Open Kitchen we were even more excited to discover there was a Hood Burger stall.
For just €5 I had one of the most delicious burgers I have ever had – I went for a cheeseburger while Chris had one with bacon. If you don’t make it to their Open Kitchen stall on a Friday I would definitely recommend making the trip out to Yams Road 105, Ljubljana.
On one of the main streets in the old town, look out for the giant sausage hanging in the air. Here you can sit outside in the street enjoying the sunshine and eat delicious, traditional Slovenian sausage.
We both had half a sausage with mustard, horseradish and bread for just €3.50. Klobasarna is the ideal place for a quick lunch in Ljubljana.
The riverside in Ljubljana is lined with restaurants and bars, and it’s a beautiful setting for an evening meal. All of the restaurants had great menus and we had a hard time choosing where to eat. Eventually we decided on Most, which is just next to Butchers Bridge. They have plenty of tables outside where you can enjoy the buzzing atmosphere along the riverside, but if it’s cold they also have a huge inside seating area.
We both had the Beef Broth with Noodles to start, as we had seen it on almost all the restaurants’ menus. When it arrived it looked watery, but the flavour was strong and delicious.
For the mains I had a really difficult time choosing between the Home-made Buckwheat Ravioli filled with porcini mushrooms and truffles in a leek and shrimp sauce, or the Spelt Spaghetti with Smoked Trout with champignons and semi-dried cherry tomatoes. I settled on the spaghetti (despite having sworn off pasta and pizza when we left Italy), and Chris went for the Tagliatelle Most with chicken breast, green peppers, home-made basil pesto, plum tomatoes, and roasted pine nuts.
The pictures don’t do them justice, but both dishes were delicious, and you could taste the freshness of the ingredients. The combination of trout and curry flavours with the pasta made it a completely different dish to the pasta that we over indulged in in Italy. If I ever make it back to Ljubljana, I will definitely be going back to Most to try the ravioli.
Not strictly somewhere to eat, but we loved Ljubljana’s cat cafe so much that we went twice in the two days we were in the city! It’s a little way out of the main area in the old town, but it’s worth the walk.
The cat cafe is a great place to sit down and relax with a glass of local Slovenian wine, in the company of five lovely cats – perfect if you’re having feline withdrawal.
Travel Tips and Recommendations
I can’t recommend enough the Free Map for Young Travellers for Ljubljana – pick up a copy as soon as you arrive! We had no guidebook and very few recommendations, so this map with useful tips and places to see, eat and drink was indespensable.
Do the Free Ljubljana Walking Tour – they run every day at 11am, starting in front of the pink church in Preseren Square and take about two and a half hours.
The Lazy Dog 112, Ashley Down Rd, Ashley Down, Bristol BS7 9JR 0117 9244 809
A modern, cosy pub in Ashley Down, The Lazy Dog is a great place to end the week with a Sunday Roast.
We turned up at about 1.30pm, without booking and it was pretty busy but we found a little table in a corner. The beef was perfect, the yorkshire was huge and just the right combination of fluffy and crispy, and there was plenty of roast potatoes and vegetable.
Right next to Temple Meads is Yurt Lush, is the one permanent home of Eat Drink Bristol Fashion. Inside is pretty warm in the summer so we sat on one of the benches outside. We didn’t book a table even though you can, but at 2pm on a Sunday there were two or three empty tables. The Yurt Lush roast is a little more than some others at £13, but the setting and the food make it worthwhile.
The appetisers were delicious, and an added bonus to a great roast dinner.
There was a fairly long wait for the food, and intially I was a little disappointed with the amount of vegetables, but there was a generous helping of meat and a huge yorkshire pudding.
The Social 130, Cheltenham Road, Bristol
Stepping inside The Social feels a bit like going into a Tardis, a brief look in the window made us think it was quite small and very busy but when you go in it’s suprisingly big – we easily found a table towards the back at about 1pm for our roast dinner.
The atmosphere is laidback and cosy, perfect for recoperating after a heavy night or meeting up with friends.
However, the wait for the Sunday Roast was well over 45 minutes, and by the time they arrived we were desperately hungry!
The size of the roast dinner made up for the wait though, plenty of tender beef as well as a generous amount of perfectly cooked vegetables. It might not look fancy, but it was just want a Sunday roast should be – delicious, fresh comfort food.
I’d heard really good things about roasts at The Volunteer Tavern, so I was pretty excited to try it out. We tried to book in advance, but apparently you can only book if you’re a party of 8 or more. When we arrived at 1pm all the empty tables inside were reserved, so we ended up sitting outside at the back.
We both went for the beef, and the food came out within about 5 minutes of ordering. Unfortunately, this was the only really impressive thing about the roast.
For me some of the meat was a little fatty and chewy, so much that I couldn’t cut some bits with a knife. However, there was plenty of meat that was tender and delicious.
The vegetables were a little on the stingey side – one brocolli floret, boiled carrots and cabbage – all well cooked but nothing special. And the yorkshire pudding was minimal. The roast potatoes were the highlight, crusty but fluffy on the inside.
Overall, for the price I wasn’t impressed with The Volunteer Tavern, there was nothing wrong with it, but I’ve definitely had better roast dinners in Bristol.
Located at the top of the harbourside in Bristol, Under the Stars is a lovely little bar and restaurant on a boat. It’s ideal in the summer when you can sit out on top and enjoy the harbour, but even in the winter the downstairs area is perfectly cosy. We had a little table by the window so we could look out over the harbour.
Under the Stars serves tapas and Pizza, all of which sounded too good, so we ordered both!
Under the Stars tapas
Oak Smoked Trout with roasted piquilo peppers, sherry vinegar and chilli oil (£5) Incredible flavours, the chilli was an amazing twist to the strong fish flavour.
Spanish Chorizo cooked with Somerset Cider, red onions and garlic (£4.50) You absolutely have to order this, the meat is soft and deliciously infused with the flavours of the cider and red onions. Use the extra bread to soak up the leftover sauce – don’t waste a drop!
Patatas Bravas with tomato chilli sauce and alioli (£3.75) Not the most exciting of the tapas dishes, but the chilli certainly added a kick. It worked well with the other two intensely flavoured dishes.
Pizza at Under the Stars
Calabria – Italian nduja chilli salami, buffalo mozzarella and black olives (£10.00) Thin and just a little crispy on the crusts, there was plenty of cheese and the salami was just the right amount of spicy, and of course the olives- a pretty perfect pizza!
Under the Stars is a lovely little boat perfect for a romantic meal, or a quiet evening with friends. I look forwards to going back in the summer and sitting outside enjoying the sunshine and harbour side atmosphere.
We left Bristol at 6am and by the time we arrived in Rome at midday we were absolutely ravenous. So we dropped our bags at the hostel and headed out in search of some hearty Italian food.
Walking down from Termini Station we stumbled across Tomoko Tudini on a little side street with tables outside.
The ‘tourist’ offer of margerita pizza or lasagna with a glass of wine and tiramisu for €8 might give you the impression that the food will be quick and cheap.
However, the lasagna was well presented and tasted delicious. The layers of pasta were soft and there was plenty of cheese – I was content! It was absolutely ideal for a relaxed, casual lunch at a great price.
Piazza dell’Independenza, 9, 00185, Roma
Again, we left finding somewhere for dinner until we were starving and tired. So we just wondered around the corner from our hostel and happened on Florians.
Sitting outside on the pavement the restaurant had a laid back, friendly atmosphere. We went straight in for the pizza, I had the Cappriciossa and Chris had the Pizza Paza (salami).
As our first experience of genuine Italian pizzas it was pretty good, the edges were crispy and the middles were laden with cheese and toppings (a generous amount of olives which is always a bonus!) The pizzas were around €8 each and a bottle of wine was €18.
Falmouth is one of my absolute favourite places, a long stretch of beach (no waves for the surfers though), and a cute, winding high street filled with unique shops, art galleries, cafes and restaurants:
You can’t book a table at Rick Stein’s so you just have to turn up and keep your fingers crossed that the queue isn’t too big. We went with the intention of going elsewhere if the wait was long, however once we were inside, and we smelt the fish, we couldn’t resist.
After about 20 minutes and we were sat at a high table near the kitchen. The atmosphere is laid back and casual, but definitely a few steps up from your local chip shop at home.
We were all tempted in by the three courses for £20 menu. To start with I had the Amritsari Fish, which was fried sea bream in a chickpea batter, garlic and ginger sprinkled with chat masala. It was the perfect combination of flavours – the pieces of sea bream were quite spicy but you could still taste the flavour of the fish and it was served with a cool cucumber raita dip.
For the main course we all went for the cod, after all Rick Stein’s is THE place for fish and chips in Falmouth. The batter was delicious and crispy, the chips were chunky but not too big, and even the mushy peas looked good.
For pudding there was a choice between strawberries with pouring cream, Lemon Posset with mixed berry compote, or sticky toffee pudding.
Rick Stein’s is definitely worth the wait, but the dishes are large so if you have a small appetite maybe just enjoy a main dish.
If you’re looking for somewhere to eat in Falmouth, then Discovery Quay is a good place to start – you have your regulars Pizza Express and Zizzi’s but also three sister restaurants The Ranch, The Shed, and The Shack, all catering to slightly different tastes
Half cocktail bar, half restaurant, The Shed’s menu is very simple but it captured our attention and I was keen to try the Shed Burger.
Cornish beef, bacon, cheddar cheese, lettuce, tomato, a big slice of pickle, onion rings, and BBQ sauce served in a brioche bun with fries. Just as incredible as it sounds. The only, only let down was the tiny portion of BBQ sauce – I completely forgot there was supposed to be BBQ sauce until I tasted it in the last few mouthfuls. But, it was still very nearly perfect.
I had the Sea Bass with sweet potato mash, green beans and capers. I can’t quite explain how good it was – the combination of flavours was spot on.
We also had some delicious lunches while in Falmouth, in between pasties, which are definitely worth mentioning:
Trelissick Trelissick is a beautiful National Trust property that runs down to the River Fal; it’s a great place to stop off for lunch. Entrance to the gardens is £8.50 for non-member adults, but you can park for £4 (or free for members) and enjoy their lovely cafe as well as take a look at the art gallery. They have sandwiches, toasties, pasties and hot food options..
I had a bacon, brie and cranberry toastie – a combination that’s hard to resist – and it was amazing.
In Falmouth we sat outside the Truro Arts Cafe, next to the Royal Cornwall Museum and had smoked salmon and cheese sandwiches surrounded by lovely flowers.
Charlotte’s Tea House
Located upstairs in the Coinage Hall, Truro, Charlotte’s Tea House is a step back in time to the Victorian era, with traditional cream teas and a selection of homemade cakes. They are only open until 4.30pm though!
Lastly, you can’t go to Cornwall without eating at least one pasty. Rowe’s bakery had some amazing combinations, including pork and Ratler cider, and steak and Doombar. My favourite was the extremely cute, and delicious, Pixie sized traditional pasty from Oggy Oggy.