A Family Meal at Cafe Rouge, Cardiff

We were recently invited along to Cafe Rouge in Cardiff to sample their Autumn/Winter menu. Cafe Rouge is conveniently located in St David’s shopping centre, we are huge fans of St David’s as it boasts a variety of shops, restaurants and cheap parking. You can get all of your shopping done and eat some good food without having to go outside which is almost always a plus with the wet Welsh weather!

blog review of cafe Rouge in Cardiff dining as a family with a toddler Autumn/Winter 2016 menu

bread and nibbles at cafe rouge cardiff olives garlic bread

We  decided to order the Rouge Olives (green, black and French olives with cornichons, caper berries and Roquito chilli drops  £3.50) and Fougasse À L’ail (artisan garlic sharing bread with warm garlic butter – £5.25) while perusing the menu. Aria was given a menu complete with stackable crayons to keep her occupied. All of which was a massive hit, the food for us and the activities for Aria.

cafe rouge starters - adults and children's meals

We  don’t usually order a starter for Aria but Cafe Rouge have a set kid’s menu where you get a starter, main, desert and drink for £6.95. The only starter option on the kid’s menu is baguette slices & crudités so that is what Aria had. The bread was lovely but a little hard for Aria’s little teeth. Spencer ordered the Egg Meurette (poached egg in a red wine, bacon & sautéed mushroom sauce served with chargrilled sourdough bread – £4.95) and I went for the Soufflé (twice-baked Brie soufflé topped with melted butter and toasted hazelnuts, with apple & pear chutney, frisée and a chive & vinaigrette dressing – £6.25).

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from Spencer’s starter as it is a very strange combination, but it was surprisingly delicious and full of complimenting flavours. I had high hopes for my Brie and it did not disappoint. The soufflé was light, fluffy and flavoursome.

Cafe Rouge Cardiff blog review main courses Autumn-Winter 2016

Aria didn’t eat much of her starter, she doesn’t like veg and the bread was quite tough for her, so for her main we made sure to go for something that we knew she would like, Poulet Goujons (breaded chicken fillets with frites, peas and sweetcorn). Spencer ordered the Poisson Frites (breaded hake fillet with frites and tartare sauce – £12.75) and I went for the Boeuf Bourguignon (slow-cooked beef in red wine, smoked bacon and mushrooms with roasted carrots, herb mash and crispy onions – £14.25) and a side order of French Beans (£3).

Aria’s Goujons were lovely, they were made with ‘proper’ chicken which is always a relief and unfortunately quite a rarity nowadays. Spencer enjoyed his fish and chips, although I must say it isn’t something that I would order as I find it quite a ‘boring’ option, but it goes to show that they have something for everyone! My beef was absolutely delicious, rich and full of flavour which is exactly how I like it. There was absolutely no need for the side order of green beans as the mains were very filling.

Cafe Rouge Cardiff Autumn-Winter 2016 menu review - the puddings

Now for the most exciting part of any menu, the puddings! For Aria we ordered a Chocolate Crêpe (crêpe drizzled with chocolate sauce with vanilla ice cream), Spencer opted for the Tarte Aux Pommes (warm apple tart with tarte tatin ice cream – £5.95) and I went for the Fondant Aux Chocolats (hot chocolate fondant with a melting middle served with chocolate & raspberry fondant ice cream – £6.25)

As with the other courses the deserts were all beautiful. Aria didn’t eat much of hers, in hindsight I should have asked for the crepe to be separate from the ice cream, I’m sure that this wouldn’t have been a problem. I almost always order a chocolate pudding when we go out and I must say this one was up there with some of the best, it was deliciously moist and the chocolate came trickling out as soon as I cut into it.

Overall I highly recommend Cafe Rouge, Cardiff for a family meal. We were well looked after, the staff were friendly, they provided Aria with crayons and a colouring in menu which kept her entertained and there was plenty of choice on all menus. The only small downside is that there isn’t much room to fit both a pushchair and a highchair around the table, but we did manage to squeeze both in without being in anyone’s way so it is definitely doable!

Have you eaten at Cafe Rouge recently? Did you enjoy it? Where is your favourite place to eat as a family? 

*Disclosure – We received a complimentary meal at Cafe Rouge in exchange for blog coverage – all thoughts are my own*

A Family Meal at Strada, Cardiff
*Disclosure – We received a complimentary meal at Strada in exchange for coverage – all thoughts are my own*

We were recently invited along to Strada in Cardiff Bay for a family meal for an introduction to their fresh meals, which includes homemade foods and local produce. Strada is an Italian restaurant and serves a wide range of foods including pizzas, pastas, burgers and more.

a review of a three course meal at strada in cardiff bay as a family including a toddler

On  arrival we were greeted by a friendly waitress who quickly showed us to our table, which had a baby seat waiting for us. We were handed adults menus and a child’s menu, complete with stickers, crayons and activities.

a review of strada at cardiff bay - GENOVESE flatbread and olives

We  decided to order some bread and olives to pick at while deliberating over the menu. On the recommendation of our lovely waitress we ordered genovese which is an Italian flatbread topped with Passata sauce, fresh oregano and basil pesto (£4.25). The olives were marinated in fresh rosemary, lemon and garlic (£3.25) and were super tasty. I can’t believe that just a few years ago I hated olives, I love them now!

starters at strada cardiff ARANCINI rice balls, BRESAOLA salad and garlic flatbread with mozzarella from kids menu
To  start I ordered the Arancini (£5.95) “Crispy rice balls stuffed with melting mozzarella. Served with spicy tomato passata and aged Parmesan”. Spencer ordered the Bresaola (£5.95) “Tender slices of cured beef carpaccio, shaved Parmesan, rocket and sticky balsamic.” We wouldn’t usually order a starter for Aria, she takes so long to eat that we tend to order her main to come out with our starters, at Strada you get a starter, main course, side, dessert and drink for £6.75 if ordering from the kids menu. As the starter was included lucky Aria got to have a starter too.

main meals at Strada Cardiff Bay CLASSIC STRADA BURGEr topped with caramelised onions and avocado - COTTO HAM & FUNGHi pizza - and kids MARGHERITA PIZZA
For our main courses I ordered the classic Strada Burger (£10.75) “7oz burger, lettuce, tomato, mayonnaise and skin-on fries” and topped it with caramelised onions (£1) and avocado (£1). Spencer ordered the Cotto Ham & Funghi pizza (£11.25) “Tomato, mozzarella, Cotto ham, brown cap mushrooms, Kalamata olives and fresh oregano” and for Aria we ordered the Margherita pizza with a side of skin on fries.

puddings at strada cardiff bay - CHOCOLATE FONDANT - PANNA COTTA - CHOCOLATE & HAZELNUT PIZZETTA from kids menu
Regular readers and friends will know that where I am concerned no meal is complete without a pudding, preferably a chocolate pudding. Naturally I ordered the chocolate fondant (£5.45) “Warm and oozy chocolate pudding with salted caramel ice cream”, Spencer ordered the Panna Cotta (£5.45) “Smooth and creamy, served with smashed honeycomb and fresh berry compote” on the recommendation of our waitress and for Aria we ordered the chocolate and hazelnut pizzetta “Warm dough topped with melting hazelnut chocolate spread”.

toddler enjoying food
We really enjoyed our meals and overall experience at Strada, Cardiff Bay. The staff were amazing and super helpful, the food all arrived in a decent time frame and tasted delicious. As you can see by Aria’s varying facial expressions even she thoroughly enjoyed herself.

Aria did end up eating a bread based dish for every course, but that wasn’t through lack of options on the menu, just poor choices on my part! The only drinks on offer for children are water, milk and organic juices and smoothies which are a great alternative to the usual sugary drinks on offer.

While we were at Strada we took a look at their Christmas menu and were impressed to see that almost all of the menu is Gluten Free and caters for pretty much everyone.

We will definitely go again.

Have you eaten at Strada?

A Family Meal at Wagamama, Cardiff*

I went along to Wagamama in Cardiff with my sister almost a year ago and we really enjoyed it. Recently we were invited back to review it as a family*, we knew it would be a challenge as Aria was teething and refusing to eat and drink, but we went along in the hope that a few hours out of the house would cheer little Madam A up.

A family meal at Wagamama Cardiff - header photo of baby sat in high chair with Wagamama menu on her head

Child eating in Wagamama Cardiff

When we arrived we explained that Aria wasn’t very well, probably wouldn’t eat her food and would definitely scream the place down at some point during our meal. The waitress offered Aria some crayons and a kids menu with colouring in and various other activities on it in the hope that it would keep her occupied.

kids meal at Wagamama mini chicken cha han

Despite the fact that Aria wasn’t eating we still ordered food for her, we went for a mini chicken cha han (£3.75) in the hope that she would be tempted by the rice that she usually loves. She had one or two mouthfuls and then proceeded to throw the rice all around the restaurant, her food was quickly taken away from her (by us, not the staff in case you were wondering!) and the tantrum to end all tantrums began. This has absolutely no reflection on the food, as I’ve said Aria was refusing food and drink due to teething. I tried her food and can confirm that it was really nice.

children's entertainment in Wagamama Cardiff

A few games of peek a boo under the paper place mats (they came in handy!) and a couple of silly drawings later Aria stopped crying which meant that Spencer and I could enjoy our meals.

main meals and side orders at wagamama cardiff

Spencer wasn’t too keen on his first ever Wagamamas meal a few months ago, I was convinced that I could change his mind this time and suggested that he try the teriyaki beef soba (bottom left, £13.95). I ordered my two favourite sides, chicken gyoza (£5.95) and ebi katsu (£6.95) for us to share along with a main of teriyaki beef donburi (£10.95).

Spencer was much more impressed with his meal this time than the last time that he went, although he still isn’t Wagamama’s number one fan and I am convinced that this is because the food is healthy! I on the other hand am still a huge fan, I love that we can go along as a family and eat a variety of tasty and healthy food. The atmosphere is relaxed and casual and we weren’t made to feel like crap parents when Aria had her meltdown.

selection of puddings at Wagamama Cardiff

Despite Aria’s incessant whinging we somehow managed to order puddings, three in fact, between the two of us as we had given up on Aria eating by this point. I HAD to try the banana katsu and salted caramel ice cream, the waiter recommend that Spencer try the white chocolate ginger cheesecake (£5.95) and I wanted him to experience the strange but delicious mochi ice cream sensation.

As expected, all of the puddings were mind blowingly delicious. The banana katsu exceeded my expectations and I would go as far to say that the salted caramel ice cream was the nicest that I have tried. Even Aria ate a bit which was very naughty as there were large chunks of salt in it!

All in all I highly recommend Wagamamas, Cardiff for a family meal. The staff were friendly and helpful, no one batted an eyelid over our tantruming toddler and they serve a wide variety of healthy yet delicious food.

Are you a fan of Wagamamas? Where is your favourite place to eat as a family?

Review : Shake Shack Cardiff

Spencer and I recently went along to Shake Shack Cardiff to trial their limited edition Yard burger*, the burger will be available in all UK branches from 1st – 22nd June 2016. We had visited Shake Shack once before for the launch event and were keen to go again.

Shake Shack in St David's Cardiff

limited edition Yard burger at all UK Shake Shack's review of Cardiff branch

The Yard burger features 100% Aberdeen Angus beef topped with Neal’s Yard Colston Basset Stilton and house-made pickled red onions and it is amazing. The sweetness of the pickled red onions and the powerful flavour of the stilton create a flavour sensation. This combined with the juicy, perfectly cooked burger is a winner.

meal at Cardiff Shake Shack

We both decided to double our burgers up (£10.50) and order some cheesy fries (£4) and a large strawberry lemonade (£3.25) to go with them. The cheesy fries at Shake Shack are amazing, the gooey cheese sauce is well worth the extra £1.

frozen concretes at shake shack wales cardiff crunch-stellation and welsh cake jam

I’m not quite sure how but we somehow managed to fit in puddings in the form of concretes! Concretes are frozen custard ice-cream blended with mix ins. Spencer opted for the double Cardiff Crunch-Stellation (£7.50) which includes malt, Paul A Young chocolate chunks and chocolate toffee; I opted for the double Welsh Cake Jam (£7.50) which includes a Welsh cake from Fabulous Welsh cakes and strawberry jam. I’m usually a chocolate person and will almost always go for the chocolate pudding, but this time I surprised myself by not only ordering something other than chocolate but actually preferring it to the chocolate version!

Both Spencer and I had a great time at Shake Shack Cardiff and highly recommend it. Shake Shack is expensive for a burger joint, but it isn’t just a any old burger joint. The food is delicious and filling, the staff were fab and the venue has a very hip feel to it.

Restaurant Review : Chiquito, Friars Walk, Newport

A little while back I was invited to my local Chiquito* to review their new Spring menu, I’ve only ever been to Chiquito once in the evening with friends, after a quick look on-line I discovered that they serve children’s meals so decided that Aria and I would treat my friend and her son to some good food and good company!

Restaurant Review : Chiquito, Friars Walk, Newport blog post

We went along on a Tuesday at lunchtime, as expected it was pretty quiet. We were seated quickly and highchairs were brought over straight away. Myself and Abi ordered our starters and asked for the chid’s mains to come out at the same time, there is nothing worse than Aria seeing my starter and screaming as she doesn’t have any food!

Chiquito Margarita 'Pizza' from kids menu

For Aria I ordered the Chiquito Margarita ‘Pizza’ with a side of veg. She absolutely loves pizza, she isn’t so keen on veg but I like to try. I ordered this from the kids menu so I was quite shocked to see just how big it was, even more shocked that Aria ate about three quarters of it, she clearly enjoyed it. The ‘pizza’ is actually two flour tortillas layered and topped with tomato sauce and cheese, which will be why she managed to eat so much! As predicted most of the veggies ended up on the floor.

baby eating pizza in Chiquito

Halloumi skewer at Chiquito Friars Walk Newport with salad and cranberry salsa

I decided to order the Halloumi skewer to start, £5.95, Skewered halloumi, onions and peppers baked in the oven and served over a citrus dressed salad with cranberry salsa. This was delicious, the flavours complimented each other beautifully, the cranberry salsa finishing it off perfectly.

Chiquito Friars Walk Newport review  Mexican Paella

For my main course I opted for the Mexican Paella, £13.95, authentic seafood and chicken paella, a popular dish taken from south of the border. King prawns, tiger prawns, chicken breast and chorizo in a Mexican spiced rice, with cherry tomatoes and our signature tomato sauce. Again, this was beautiful and packed full of prawns, chicken and chorizo.

garlic bread side order at Chiquitos

Myself and Abi also ordered a side of cheesy garlic bread to share. We both commented on how nice this was, as it is made with tortilla rather than bread it is light and easy to eat, which makes it very more-ish!

kids pudding at Chiquito

Then came the puddings! We ordered both of the kids a Mini Milk. This was the first time both of them had tried one and they weren’t really sure what to do with it! Aria insisted on holding hers like this (photo above), she enjoyed it for about a minute and then I guess her hand got cold because she handed it to me. I tried offering it to her again but she refused, clearly scarred by how cold it was!

brownie baked banana at chiquitos

Abi ordered the browie baked banana, £5.45, Banana stuffed with chocolate brownie and baked in the oven. Topped with fresh raspberries, a drizzle of chocolate sauce and served with vanilla pod ice cream. She enjoyed it but was disappointed with how little chocolate brownie there was.

Mexican Mess pudding at Chiquito

I ordered the Mexican Mess, £5.65, Our take on Eton Mess! Churros, chocolate brownie, chocolate sauce, strawberry pieces, raspberry ripple ice cream and strawberry yoghurt topped with cream, served in our cinnamon tortilla basket. I enjoyed this, it was a nice change but again I was disappointed with how little chocolate brownie there was, maybe they were running short the day that we visited?

Would I recommend Chiquito? Yes, but maybe not with children.  The food was filling and delicious, the prices were about average. The downside for us was the poor service. Our waitress wasn’t very welcoming or friendly, Our starter plates weren’t cleared when our mains were brought out and she seemed disinterested. Both of the kids did make a mess and the floor was covered in food, we did have to wonder if this was why she was off with us. We cleared up the majority of the food but we waited until the children had finished eating, there really is no point in clearing it up when they are still going. The desert plates were actually cleared quite quickly so I had to request a plate so that I could clean up the mess, I had hoped this would cheer her up a little but the requested was granted with a grunt. This really is a shame as both of the kids really enjoyed their food and the chilled out vibe.

Have you eaten at Chiquito? Have you been there with kids? If so, how did you find the food and service?