Great proper British grub cooked with elegance and flare; a fantastic wine list and an even better cocktail list, with attentive and friendly service on top.
6-10 Romilly Crescent Pontcanna Cardiff CF11 9NR 029 2034 1264
Tucked away in the leafy residential streets of Pontcanna – just a stone's throw away from Cardiff's city centre – sits the family-run Arbennig. The restaurant started out as a dream shared by husband and wife John and Ceri Cook. Their aim was to create and run a restaurant which reinvents the somewhat stale notion of fine-dining. The food would be the star, by preparing & cooking great locally sourced, seasonal produce, and packing it with flavour. That's it. After all, fine-dining doesn't always have to involve minute portions, smoke wafting in your face and dry ice overkill. So now with the dream restaurant a reality, its clear to see the innovative intentions of award-winning head chef John and restaurant manager Ceri have worked. Not only is the service humble and warm – whilst still exuding the attentiveness you would expect from fine-dining establishments – but the seriously delicious food comes in proper portions, with flavours that actually compliment each other triumphantly, and not just thrown in for the sake of being avant-garde. The seasonal menu is based on proper British fare – all sourced from local suppliers – which leaves you to enjoy line-caught sea bass, Welsh coast mussels, free range belly pork and Welsh lamb as fresh as it comes. The veggie options aren't just an afterthought here either, as the chefs pay as much respect to the humble vegetable as they would a fillet of beef – try their Sunday roasts if you don't believe us. We'll leave you with a secret (& dessert fans you might want to take note): John happens to make one of the meanest and most decadent chocolate brownies around. Fact.
If you'd like to learn how to make one of John's brownies (which you will after you've tried one), then Arbennig also has a cookery school, where you can work alongside John and his team, as he teaches you food prep skills, baking & bread-making, vegetarian cooking and fish & meat preparation right in the restaurant kitchen itself.
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Starters around £5; Mains from £10.50; Dessert £5. 3 course Sunday lunch is £15.95. They also do daily lunch specials where you can enjoy 2 courses for just £12.50.
- Fine Dining
Weds–Fri 11.30am–2.30pm, 6pm–9.30pm; Sat 11.30am–10pm; Sun 11.30am–9pm.