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THÉ POT ****
18 Crwys Road, Cardiff. 029 2025 1246
Influenced by the time the co-owner spent in Paris and San Francisco, Thé Pot
provides reason alone to avoid the madness of the city centre, offering a chilled-
out atmosphere that works well for both after work drinks and post night-out
blues. For me, it was the ideal ending to a busy day in work, and to perk me up I
ordered a large Mocha. Large.The mug was big enough to swim in. Perfect.
To start, my dining partner and I shared the cheese plate (£5.50): a generous
selection of four organic Welsh cheeses served with slices of chorizo, a large bowl
of olives and several slices of bread. All were delicious, especially the chorizo and
for lovers of strong cheese, you’ll be in your element.
After our hefty starter, I decided on the smoked salmon and cream cheese half sandwich
(£3), fresh in taste and laden with slices of salmon, while my partner, following much delib-
eration between the San Francisco breakfast (a homemade bean cake, chili scramble, avoca-
do salad, a warm tortilla and crème fraîche) and the English breakfast (£4.95 – both served
all day), finally opted for the later, and again it was a more than a decent sized offering of the
usual suspects – bacon, sausage, mushrooms, baked beans, tomato, toast and egg.
After all this we couldn’t possibly have managed one of the large number of home-
made cakes on offer including muffins and tiffins, but we did manage a cheeky
glass of Ropiteau L’emage Sauvignon Blanc (£3.75 for a large glass or £10.75 for a
bottle). The fact that Thé Pot is now licensed is simply another string in the grow-
ing bow of this must-try cafe. CANDY TREASURE
157 City Road, Cardiff. 029 2048 2882
A lot of restaurants these days masquerade under the guise of ‘contemporary
Indian dining’, yet continue to provide the same tried and tested dishes in an
otherwise unimaginative setting. Not so with Haveli, the brightly decorated walls of
which betray a genuinely inspired approach to Eastern cuisine.
More of a venue than a restaurant, Haveli boats a Bollywood lounge, Indian tea garden
(soon to be finished), private dining area, art, cocktails and Bollywood movies and
music, all of which blend together in a fantastic fusion of contemporary authenticity.
My dining chum Veggie Boy, however, was more enamoured with the extensive and creative
menu. We shared a Rajasthan platter for starters (£5.95), a delicious, non greasy selection of
bhajis and samosas, complimented by cocktails; a fruity but dangerously alcoholic Bollywood
iced tea (£4.95) and virgin mango mojito (£2.90). I chose the tender and succulent lamb Mala-
bar thali (£8.95), and Veggie Boy happily made light work of the vegetable karhai (£7.95). The
side dishes, mixed vegetables, transgressed my normal boundaries of spiciness but VB made
no complaints, perhaps as he was aided by a wonderfully creamy mango lassi (£2.95).
Despite the unforgiving confines of our waistbands, we both went for the gulab jam
(£3.25) – sugar soaked sponge balls. Sweet on their own, the creamy vanilla ice cream
that accompanies makes a perfect companion and a moreish ‘comfort food’ style dish.
Great food, great atmosphere. Haveli certainly delivers on its promise of con-
temporary Indian dining, and makes a refreshing addition to Cardiff’s Eastern
restaurant landscape. CHARELLE LEGAUND
Old Raglan Road, Abergavenny. 0187 854220
I’m sure many of you religiously watched the Great British Menu recently and were delighted
when Stephen Terry scooped the prestigious first place award for Wales. Since obtaining this
enviable accolade, Stephen has opened The Hardwick Restaurant in Abergavenny. Not only is
he continuing to create superb dishes whilst maintaining his strict usage of seasonal and local
produce, the result are almost culinary alchemy. Whilst not base metal to gold it’s a transforma-
tion of honest simple ingredients into holistic beauty, greater than the sum of its parts.
These dishes act as metaphor for modern society at its best and as it should be:
thoughtful, responsive, disquieting and reverential, yet always iconoclastic. The
experience of dining here is akin to finding a new friend, who you’d like to keep secret,
someone who knows what you want and what you need to feed your soul.
To mention the food would be mistake and an injustice. Make the pilgrimage to my
secret friend and find out for yourself. You will be converted.
However, we’ll drop you a few morsels to whet your appetite, the starters on offer are a
collision of epic proportions that would even embarrass the Hadron Collider: provincial
style fish soup with aioli, gruyere cheese and croutons (£6.50), Colston basset stilton,
dandelion, spinach and endive with walnuts and baked croutons (£6.75), and fresh coco
beans on toast with local black trumpet mushrooms, garlic and parsley (£9.75).
The mains really are the god particle personified: homemade Gloucester pork, onion and
sage sausages with polenta, rocket parmesan, onion rings and lentil gravy (£12.95) or
corned beef hash with organic egg, greens and grain mustard (£12.95).
The desserts were simply heavenly, my favourite being vanilla, local honey (made by Mr
Chirnside’s Busy Bees at Upper Llanover) and peanut butter and jelly. All desserts are
£5.75. Nirvana. ANTONIA LEVAY
OCTOBER2008.indd 38 25/9/08 3:23:15 pm
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