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.
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.
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.