The Ivy in Cardiff City Centre

The girls in work and I have very recently made it a tradition to go for a long lunch whenever we have a birthday celebration. Last month was of course my birthday (as if I haven’t mentioned it in every blog post!) and the girls treated me to a lunch at The Ivy in Cardiff.

The table was booked and some of you may know that The Ivy is renowned for being a bit more upmarket than your usual places so we dressed a little less casual than we normally would for work.

We were greeted at the door by the host who offered to check in our coats and then took us to our table. The restaurant is beautifully decorated with gorgeous wall papers and lots of plants. A quick note while we’re on decor, pop to the toilets upstairs. It is absolutely gorgeous up there and the ceiling is covered in flowers. It’s perfect for Instagramming!

We ordered cocktails while we perused the menu.

The cocktails were great. They did your usual classic cocktails like a Singapore Sling as well as signature cocktails which are a bit more interesting.

Shortly after, we ordered food. There isn’t much on the menu for vegans, but there are a few options which is better than nothing. I ordered the Keralan Curry which came with rice. I also ordered a side of thick cut chips, mostly because I just wanted to try them, and also it’s the classic Welsh staple.

I was delightfully surprised by the curry. It was delicious and full of so much flavour. It was filled with fresh vegetables including sweet potato and tenderstem broccoli. It was actually an excellent vegan option and I was not disappointed!

We didn’t get any dessert, but again, there wasn’t much in the way of vegan options for desserts. Sorbet and a plate of fruit… Not the most inspiring!

Overall, it was a pleasant experience. I really enjoyed my curry and the service was fantastic. I was lucky enough to have the girls treat me as a birthday gift, but the menu is a bit pricey. It’s a great location for a nice meal and an excuse to dress up a bit!

The Cosy Club in Cardiff City Centre

It’s taken me a while to write this post as it appears that birthday gifts and events make great blogging content!

Last month, Tom treated me for breakfast on my birthday before he headed to work. We went to The Cosy Club in Cardiff City Centre. I’ve been to The Cosy Club before and they have a decent vegan menu.

The service is always good and on this occasion it was no different. We were greeted by the host that morning, she asked us if we needed any allergen menus and she kindly gave us the vegan menu and took us to our table.

After a few moments, our waitress came over and asked us if we’d like to order drinks. Tom ordered a soy vanilla latte and I ordered breakfast tea with a side of soy milk. As we were ready with our food order too, she took our order.

Tom ordered crumpets with plain vegan spread. The option on the menu came with cinnamon vegan spread which sounds unusual and Tom wasn’t a fan but they were more than accommodating. I ordered the vegan breakfast with the addition of avocado and scrambled tofu.

Breakfast was great. The scrambled tofu was a great addition. It was full of flavour and wasn’t a standard scrambled tofu you can often find at restaurants these days. The falafel was great and I loved how crispy it was. And as a lover of carbs, the potato rosti was a great equivalent for hash browns.

Tom enjoyed his crumpets and coffee. He’s not a big breakfast eat so he always makes me look greedy when we go out for breakfast which I’m totally ok with.

The Cosy Club is a good chain for vegans. There’s a good range of options and they are tasty. The service is great and every time I’ve been there, the staff are friendly and helpful. The location is great for those who are shopping in the city centre so I recommend a visit if you’re looking for a convenient breakfast spot.

Planning a Vegan Wedding: Issue 2

So you have your venue sorted… What do you do next?

The Wedding Planning list is absolutely endless and is also completely dependent on what you want from your wedding day!

It was a little easier for us as Tom’s sisters had either just had their wedding day or were getting married very shortly so they had experienced everything they already could!

We decided to try a Wedding Fayre as Tom’s sisters had been to a few and enjoyed them. We booked and paid for tickets to The Big Welsh Wedding Show in October 2019 which was held in The Depot in Cardiff. I asked for a list of exhibitors from the organisers and I was interested in seeing what was there.

I found the whole thing incredibly overwhelming. As someone who’s just started planning a wedding, the event seemed a bit much and very ‘pushy’. We arrived and I had to fill out a form with my personal details. I remember specifically opting out of marketing e-mails, and yet somehow I ended up on the marketing list and receiving e-mails from various exhibitors as a few weeks went by.

There were A LOT of exhibitors which was great for window shopping. However, I felt a bit bored as I wandered around as I found that exhibitors were either too pushy and keen to talk to you, or couldn’t be bothered to make an effort with you at all.

I would like to take the time now though to rave about one company I saw there, Pretty Little Pictures. They are a lovely couple that run a photo booth company and they were so nice! They demo’d their photo booth box and back drop and we walked away with a cute little photo strip. I highly recommend dropping them a message if you’re interested in having a photo booth for any occasion.

Other exhibitors included:

  • Various venues, including Oldwalls
  • QuirkIt – A styling, rental company with the loveliest owners!
  • Paperdate Stationery
  • Photoboth companies with included PLP (as mentioned above) and Ultrabooth
  • And many more that I don’t remember the names of but included cakes, celebrants, car services, accessories and a string quartet.

We started talking to exhibitors just as the first catwalk of the day started. The catwalk was just models walking up and down in wedding attire, which is all well and good, but none of them had the same body shape or size as me so didn’t really encourage me . Additionally, the music was blasting so loud in the venue, it made it impossible for me to talk to any exhibitors at a reasonable volume.

As much as I would like to recommend everyone to go to a wedding fayre, from my first experience, I wouldn’t go again. I didn’t enjoy it, and you can usually find what you’re looking for online anyway!!

Saying that, I’m sure that there are plenty of you who would find it beneficial so don’t write it off just yet. I recommend checking the list of exhibitors and checking to see if any of them interest you. Go prepared with questions for those you do want to see!

Got No Beef in Cardiff City Centre [2]

In early December, I posted an exclusive first look blog post about Got No Beef before they opened their doors to the public. Since then, they have opened for the rest of the world and I cannot stop visiting! I am obsessed!

I’ve ordered something new each time and every visit the food is incredible. It is of such great quality and tastes amazing. The family work so hard and are so friendly. It’s a lovely experience!

The full menu is so extensive and I urge you to take a look. You can find the full menu on their Facebook page which is linked here and on their website.

Visit 1

The first visit was a quick lunch visit the day after they opened. I ordered the GNB Chick’n Burger. All their mains come with fries so there’s no need to order separately which is SUCH a nice change from every other restaurant you go to.

The chick’n has fast become my favourite dish on the menu. The texture is incredible and the flavours are so good. I highly recommend it, especially those who are going to try out Veganuary! It’ll really hit the mock meat spot.

Visit 2

The second time, I went with my brother for an early dinner and ordered SO MUCH FOOD! We shared it all so that we could try as much as possible and, again, it did not disappoint.

We ordered the Original Sharing Platter which consists of Shrimp, Potato Skins and Cauliflower Wings.

For our mains, we ordered the Loaded Mac Dog and the Freedom Burger, and we even upgraded to loaded fries for one of our mains to get the full food experience.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again… This is the most Instagrammable food you will ever see. But not only this, it is the most delicious vegan food you will ever taste. Everything is bursting with flavour and really hits the spot.

Some of you meat-eaters out there might ask why vegan want to eat things that look like meat… The simple answer is that some of us want to eat meat and enjoy the flavours but we don’t want to contribute to the cruelty and murder of animals for it.

I forgot to take a picture of the inside of the Freedom Burger but it was glorious. The smokey flavour and texture of the burger was delicious. I still truly believe that Got No Beef burgers are the best vegan burgers around.

The sharing platter had a bit of everything on it. The shrimp had an incredible texture, the cauliflower wings had a nice subtle kick to it and the potato skins were delicious.

The hot dog was great too. I love the idea of loading it with mac and cheese and it wasn’t too much, the perfect ratio. It was really filling with the texture of the hot dog being quite heavy. It wasn’t my favourite thing on the menu but it was still fantastic.

Visit 3

A few days later, my friends and I had our Christmas catch up so we went to Got No Beef as they hadn’t tried it yet and I had been raving about it.

GNB has a great drinks menu which includes cocktails and mylkshakes. 2 of us ordered Singapore Slings and then the other ordered a mint oreo mylkshake.

Her 1 year old daughter absolutely LOVED the mylkshake. There was some serious mess made with fingers and straws all over the face. I think she only managed a few sips herself and the rest ended up down her daughter’s dress.

The cocktail was lovely and didn’t taste too strong, which could be considered a downfall for some but it meant that I was able to enjoy it without feeling like I was drinking a strong alcoholic drink!

We all ordered Chick’n burgers, but mine was the hot one, and we ordered the cauliflower wings to share but I specified to have hot sauce on the side instead of a mayo or ranch sauce.

We finished the meal with a caramel cheesecake and churros. I forgot to take a picture of the cheesecake but it was a big hit! The churros weren’t bad either! Lots of chocolate and whipped cream, so who can say no to that?!

Everyone loved their food. They were amazed by the chick’n and were so surprised but how good it was and how much like chicken it was. All round, a fantastic review from the omnivores!

Visit 4

My addiction to Got No Beef has well and truly started by this point. I work a very short walk from Cardiff City Centre and it’s only 10 minutes for me to get to the restaurant.

I ordered a take out lunch of 2 chick’n strip and fries with a drink for £7. There was a bit of a wait at lunch time as the restaurant was full of customers but it’s to be expected when you’re ordering from a restaurant, not a take away.

My colleague didn’t want to get GNB, so she made the trip to Grazing Shed at the other end of Barrack Lane. I must have only waited around 10 – 15 minutes for my lunch, whereas she waited 30 minutes for hers!

I took my lunch back to the office and showed it off to everyone! They all looked impressed and I thoroughly enjoyed my food.

They have recently started offering a collection service via online orders! This will be so handy for those who don’t have much time for lunch so I recommend checking it out. It will save you on having to wait in the restaurant too as it will be a quick grab and go!

Visit 5

I’m going to finish this blog post on my fifth, and most certainly not my last, visit to Got No Beef.

I did a lone trip and ordered myself the GNB Hot Chick’n Burger again and an Oreo mylkshake.

As I continue to state, the chick’n items are my favourite dishes on the menu. The Oreo mylkshake was delicious and made a great American diner style dinner of a burger and a shake! Truly delicious and never a disappointment.

For those of you trying out Veganuary next month, this is the perfect food spot for you in Cardiff. After trying all the dishes on the menu, you won’t get that hankering for a meat fix ever again!

Got No Beef in Cardiff City Centre [EXCLUSIVE FIRST LOOK]

I had the absolute pleasure of being one of the first people to see and sample Got No Beef, a new 100% vegan restaurant, in Cardiff City Centre.

The Story of Got No Beef

Got No Beef is a family run business, based in South Wales and they are 100% vegan. Before opening this restaurant, you may have seen them at vegan events and vegan festivals up and down the country, selling their incredible double stacked burgers.

They’ve now decided to settle down in Cardiff City Centre and set up base for their delicious burgers, and many more additions to the menu!

For regular updates, make sure you Like them on Facebook and Follow them on their Twitter and Instagram accounts: @GotNoBeefUK.

The Location

If you’re familiar with Cardiff, you may know a little street in the city centre called Barrack Lane. This street houses other restaurants and is only a short walk from both Cardiff Central and Cardiff Queen St train stations. Got No Beef is situated on the end that’s closest to Debenhams.

For those of you who drive and park in St Davids 2 Car Park, the restaurant is a very short walk from the shopping centre.

The location is great as it’s so easy to find and get to. It really is in the heart of the city centre.

The Food

So down to the most important part… the food!

As well as maintaining their stamp on having the BEST vegan burgers (my honest opinion, and I’m sure shared with many others), they have left no corner unturned when putting together their new menu. There are plenty of options, you will be spoilt for choice.

I was treated to a feast of dishes which included Cauliflower Wings, Loaded Fries, Mac & Cheeze, Beer Battered Cod and 2 Hot Dogs…

I don’t even know where to begin… Incredible doesn’t even cut it.

Let’s start with the immaculate presentation. If the food isn’t the most instagrammable food you’ve ever seen, then I have no idea where you’ve been eating. The attention to detail was so clear to see, even down to the fabulous grease proof paper with the logo emblazoned all over it.

Now for the taste… YUM! My favourite dish was the loaded fries. BBQ Jackfruit and Cheeze sauce all over the fries with spring onions and slices of chilli. The beer battered cod had an amazing texture and it wasn’t greasy which is a pet hate of mine. The mac and cheeze was lovely and the ‘bacon’ bits were a delicious addition.

The Verdict

I may be a little biased, but Got No Beef is absolutely incredible. The quality of the food and the service is like no other. The restaurant looks fantastic with their gorgeous plant wall at the back and the rustic aesthetic really bringing that comfortable vibe.

This family have clearly poured their heart and soul into the building of this business and they deserve every success. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, it is truly wonderful to see local vegan businesses finding their feet in Cardiff and paving the way for the rest of the country and even the world to follow.

Make sure you follow all their social media pages at @GotNoBeefUK to ensure you don’t miss out on any important updates.

I urge you all to visit and support this small, ethical, local business. You won’t regret it!

Give the Gift of Sustainability

Sustainability is very much in fashion at the moment, and I hope it’s not a phase. A lot of us have made small switches to reduce our waste and lessen our impact on the environment. The biggest change we should be making is moving to a plant based diet, but you can’t gift that!

With the approach to Christmas, many of you may have read some of my gift guide posts. On this post, I’m going to include a few swap and gift ideas that you can give this Christmas!

None of us are perfect, but we can all do our best to make swaps in our lives to help improve things.

Face Halo

I switched to the Face Halo last year and it is still one of my favourite purchases!

For those of you that don’t know, the Face Halo is a make up remover pad. You can visit the website for more details, but it’s so easy to use and has yet to fail at removing my make up! I don’t buy disposable make up wipes anymore as I have no need for them!

I bought a pack of 3 straight away and so far I’ve only used 2 of them, alternating when 1 goes in the wash.

They currently have limited edition cherry ones which look absolutely fabulous and would make an excellent Christmas gift!

Chilly’s Bottles

My brother bought a Chilly’s reusable bottle and it encouraged me to buy my own. There are other insulated bottles out there that are cheaper, however the quality doesn’t match Chilly’s.

I bought both a coffee cup and a water bottle and I love them both. The coffee cup keeps my hot drinks warm for a few hours and I’ve been really impressed with it. The durability of the bottles is amazing and I highly recommend them.

Vegetable Shopping Bags

This may sound like a weird one, but it’s made a big difference for us in our home!

When we pop to the supermarket to buy our fruit and veg, we try and avoid buying the pre-packaged items and pick up the individual fruit/veg that we need for that day/week.

We used to use the plastic bags that the supermarket provide you. We stopped doing that and were placing the bar code stickers directly onto our fruit and veg so we didn’t have to pick up a bag.

I found these bags on Amazon, that have been so handy. We keep them in our shopping bags and now we can keep our fruit and veg separate from the rest of our shopping.

They might not be the most exciting gift to give, but for anyone who is looking to make these swaps, it’ll make a great addition to their lives.

Ripple on Albany Road, Cardiff

On my final note, we walked along Albany Road back to the car from Luna’s Vegan Corner last week and finally popped into Ripple. They are currently working on an expansion project which I think is going to be really exciting.

I wasn’t fully prepared for this visit so didn’t have any containers with me, but everything is amazing. You can buy containers there, but there are also donated containers which you can pick up for free. The range of products is amazing from cleaning products, to tea, to granola and to pasta.

For those of you in Cardiff looking for zero waste shops, Ripple is where you need to be. I was so impressed and I’ll definitely be making another visit with all my containers soon!

Mowgli Street Food in Cardiff City Centre

Last weekend, we went to The Big Welsh Wedding Show in the Depot in Cardiff and we went out to lunch afterwards with Tom’s family. We made our way back into the city centre and decided that we’d go to Mowgli Street Food.

This is not to be mistaken with Mowgli’s which is a restaurant on City Road in Cardiff.

Mowgli Street Food is a chain that has a few branches all over the UK. We walked in and the decor was lovely and atmospheric. There were fairy lights hung up, decorative trees and hanging lights.

The vegan menu was extensive with loads of options so we were in our element!

Tom and I ordered bits to share which included:

  • Fenugreek Kissed Fries
  • Temple Dahl
  • Calcutta Tangled Greens
  • Elephant brand Roti breads
  • Mowgli Basmati Rice

The food was amazing. I would like to say now, don’t order a portion of rice each! 1 portion for 2 people is more than enough.

The Fenugreek Kissed Fries were delicious. The potatoes were crispy and the whole dish was delicious. I could have easily ordered another one. The Temple Dahl was warm and flavourful and the Calcutta Tangled Greens were surprising but really good.

Tom’s mum and dad ordered the Holy Chow, which I didn’t try but it did look amazing.

Holy Chow

I absolutely recommend visiting Mowgli Street Food. The service was excellent, the atmosphere was great and the food was fantastic. The prices are incredibly reasonable and we spent around £16 per person!

Pizza Express in St Davids 2, Cardiff City Centre

A few weeks ago, my lovely friend Ella came to Cardiff to visit and we met up for some lunch. We were originally going to go to Yo! but the queue was long and we were incredibly hungry.

Pizza Express was only upstairs and I know they have vegan options so we settled for some pizza and doughballs!

To start, I had the Baked Garlic Mushroom. I’m a big mushroom fan and it was really delicious. The garlic flavour was perfect and not too garlicky (if that’s even a word!). The ‘cheese’ was lovely and being sat on a bed of rocket was a nice addition. My only criticism is that it was very oily, but I still enjoyed it.

For my main, I ordered a mushroom pizza which I don’t remember the name of. The pizza was as expected but I think I may have gone for overkill on the mushrooms!

I think the ‘cheese’ used is mozzarisella and it was lovely and creamy. The base was fine, nothing to shout about but it hit the spot so I most certainly can’t complain.

I didn’t order any desserts as I was so full but they have a few interesting options which you can find on their vegan menu.

It was a Saturday afternoon so it was quite busy but the service provided was excellent. They were quick and friendly and made sure we were well catered for.

If you’re stuck for options and just want an easy meal at a chain restaurant, I recommend Pizza Express. It’s not a usual place for me to visit as I’m normally at Zizzi’s but I enjoyed it!

The Alchemist in Cardiff City Centre

A few weekends ago, I visited The Alchemist in Cardiff for my not quite sister-in-law’s hen party!

I’ve heard many good things about The Alchemist. They’re renowned for producing interesting cocktails, with the full works, smoke and all!

We came for dinner and cocktails (booked at 7:15pm) and were sat in the restaurant area of the bar. I have a few criticisms of this area.

  • The tables were very close together which didn’t make it easy to get in and out when it was full. Especially with one of the party being over 6 months pregnant!
  • The music was incredibly loud, even though it was a separate and designated area away from the bar. I think they would benefit from lowering the volume to allow groups to hold a conversation without shouting.
  • They started dimming the lights half way through our dinner which I thought was really unusual. I understand wanting an atmosphere but sitting and squinting wasn’t what I was expecting.

Cocktails were actually quite a challenge to order. There was so many options and they don’t label things vegan here. There is one specific cocktail that was labelled ‘The Vegan One’ which made me wonder whether all the other cocktails were specifically non-vegan.

Generally, most spirits are vegan. It may be something you’ll have to research before hand if you plan on visiting because we were a little blind sided. The waitress, although lovely, seemed to be a little bit clueless on what was vegan or not. She advised that she thought most cocktails that didn’t have cream in them were likely to be ok.

I chanced it (which probably wasn’t the right thing to do) and I ordered a Lightbulb Moment which contained: TANQUERAY GIN, PIMMS, GINGER BEER, RASPBERRY, LEMON, MINT. It was served in a spherical flask with smoke pouring out of it.

Lightbulb Moment

We were a party of 10 and the service was great. They were very patient with us the entire time, especially at the end when we were paying the bill!

So let’s get started on the food. There were a few vegan options available here which was quite nice to see. For the mains, this included:

  • Chickpea Korma
  • Moving Mountains Burger
  • Cauliflower Katsu Curry
  • Poke Bowl
  • Seitan in a Basket

Not all of us were vegan, but between us, we managed to order the chickpea curry, poke bowl and seitan in a basket.

I ordered the Seitan in a Basket and was pleasantly surprised at the quality of food. The seitan was very good and delicious. At first, I thought it was chicken and was concerned that I’d been given the wrong dish. I chose a larger piece and cut it open and it was clear it was definitely seitan. The fries were great and the coleslaw was lovely too.

Again, to be critical, they served the dish in one of those chicken shaped wiry egg baskets… Why? Why would you serve a vegan dish inside a chicken shaped basket? Even more sadistically, the actual chicken in a basket was also served inside the chicken shaped basket. I’m not sure which was worse to be honest.

Overall, the food was much better than I expected. I was really full afterwards from all the fried food, but it was worth it.

They had a very small pudding selection which included a poached pineapple and 2 flavours of gelato. I ordered 1 single scoop of mango gelato as I was too full for 3 scoops, but it was lovely.

For all 10 of us, the total bill came to £176.80. The £45 deposit that we paid was deducted from this, but a £20 service charge was added which we weren’t expecting. We weren’t the kind of group to kick up a fuss so covered it between us and the service we got did deserve a tip so it wasn’t so bad.

If you plan on taking a visit to The Alchemist, I recommend planning well in advanced and deciding your cocktails prior to your visit so you can try to accurately gage which ones are vegan. Everyone raved about their food so that shouldn’t be a worry for anyone!

Alex Gooch Bakery in Pontcanna, Cardiff

A few weeks ago, we went to Kings Road Yard to try The Lazy Leek (which you can read on my post here). Further down the lane is Alex Gooch Bakery.

Alex Gooch is an artisan baker who specialises in breads and pastries. In the shop, you can buy these breads, but you can also buy pizza by the slice or whole.

Tom ordered a pesto drizzled pizza at £10.50 and received ticket number 71.

My brother ordered a slice of kimchi pizza at £3 and received ticket number 72.

There was a bit of a wait for food at 7pm on a Saturday which is to be expected. We were sat fairly close to the store at a table and waited patiently for our food to come whilst also on the lookout.

Tom’s came out first with a young girl asking for order 71. We acted quickly and got his pizza in return for the ticket. With my brother at order 72, we were expecting it to come out shortly after. It turned out it arrived quite a while later!

I only had a bite of Tom’s pesto pizza but it was thoroughly enjoyable. The base was incredible and the drizzle of pesto really made it. The cheese was melted beautifully too.

The only criticism of the pizza that Tom had was that there were a few slices that were a little salty and the pizza had quite a bit of oil on it. It probably didn’t help that it was drizzled in all that delicious pesto!

My brother enjoyed his kimchi pizza and said he could really taste the kimchi. He did have to wait quite a while longer for his slice and he said it was a little colder than he’d have liked.

Pop down to Kings Road Yard in Pontcanna to see what else is on offer and try a delicious vegan pizza for yourself!