Recently, I had to review somewhere I was passionate about in Cardiff for Millennium and Copthorne Hotels guide to Cardiff to the Welsh capital. My favourite places tend to be restaurants so I chose The Potted Pig, located in central Cardiff on High Street.
Opened in 2011, it is a former bank vault which has been reconditioned as a stylish, brick-lined restaurant serving quality but reasonably priced food. I went on Sunday afternoon with Phil, after a morning of Christmas shopping.
The restaurant is all open apart from the kitchen which is hidden away at the back. As we were shown to our table, I caught a glimpse of the wine cellar on the left behind a white gate, which gave an authentic feel to the place.
Upon arrival, we were greeted by a very friendly waiter who checked our reservation and promptly led us into the restaurant. He gave us a choice of tables to sit at, which was good. Of course, it’s not always practical but I think it’s great to be able to choose your table when dining out. After we seated, the waiter brought a jug of water to the table without us even asking. Fantastic.
There was a generous space between the tables and since the restaurant was dimly-lit, there was a nice level of intimacy. It would be perfect for a romantic meal for two! Other diners were older, dressed smartly (but not formally) and quietly chatting amongst themselves.
The menus are based on food we love cooking and eating rather than a single concept. They serve a varied and constantly changing menu of modern British food with French New-York grill inspired influences. They also make every effort to keep the menus seasonal, which means using as many locally sourced products from independent and local suppliers as possible.
The drinks menu was extensive. They carry an excellent range of wines as well as an array of bottled lagers, ales and ciders. And if you love spirits then you’re in for a treat – they specialise in bespoke gin with over 20 varieties on the menu. There are plenty of soft drinks too from regular coke to rose lemonade and ginger beer. Phil ordered a glass of merlot while I had a glass of Prosecco to finish off the weekend with a bit of fizz.
To start, Phil had the truffled Welsh rarebit, served with watercress. It was an absolute joy. The bread was toasted perfectly, soft on the inside with a delicious crusty edge. The cheese was so tasty, mature, rich and full of flavour. The dish was accompanied by a bottle of Worcestershire sauce – a match made in heaven.
I opted for the cockles, bacon and laverbread on toast. If I see any menu with a cockles or laverbread dish, I’m automatically drawn to it. My late Grandmother used to buy large tubs of them from Swansea market when I was younger and I’d demolish them in minutes! The fresh, briney flavour of the cockles paired wonderfully with the saltiness of the bacon and laverbread.
Phil went for the slow roasted herb stuffed belly pork, which was served with gravy, cabbage, carrots, roast potatoes and cauliflower cheese. The belly pork was excellent, the meat was soft and had a melt-in-the-mouth texture. The crackling was a delight. It was light, crispy and a far cry from how I usually imagine crackling – tough, hard and almost teeth-breaking. The Yorkshire puddings were airy and fluffy with a homemade taste.
I chose the pan fried haddock with new potatoes. The haddock was soft, delicate and flaky which was complemented by the bold, salty flavour of the caper berries. The hearty portion of potatoes was satisfying, let’s just say I didn’t feel hungry after eating them all!
For dessert, Phil set his sights on the sticky toffee pudding, a combination of light sponge, lots of sauce and their own vanilla ice cream on the side. At first, he was a little sad that there were no chocolate desserts to choose from but his disappointment soon turned to delight when he tasted it.
I had the lemon posset which was topped with toasted almonds and served with two crumbly biscuits. The lemon flavour was very strong but fortunately, I love lemon so I didn’t mind. I enjoyed the biscuits but my only complaint was that they weren’t big enough for the amount of posset there was. But perhaps it was just me being greedy!
Overall, we had a lovely experience at The Potted Pig. The environment was cool without being pretentious and the staff were helpful and polite. Since food is freshly prepared to order, expect to wait during busy periods but your patience will be rewarded with truly scrumptious fare.
Thank you to Joe Blogs Blogger Network and Millennium and Copthorne Hotels for inviting me to work with them.