Nestled amongst the hustle and bustle of St Mary’s Street, The Meating Place is the ideal location for slightly lost tourists who have just stumbled off the train at Cardiff Central and equally, city locals looking to explore the contemporary grill house cuisine that the restaurant promises. Emma Giles gives us the lowdown…
Amidst a barrage of rain, wind and rugby fans, the rustic yet refined décor delivered a welcome intimacy. With lights hanging at various lengths in the window, big exposed wooden beams and old fashioned wooden chairs, the restaurant successfully evokes a sense rural comfort right in the heart of the bustling town centre; a far cry from the rugby chants and gaggles of hen dos that line the streets outside.
Showcasing a meat-centred menu comprising of various steak cuts, hanging skewer dishes and other carnivorous dishes, it stays true to its contemporary grill house label. Along with the more predictable menu appearances, there is also an interesting choice of swordfish and venison, thus diversifying the traditional grill restaurant experience. While there is a reasonable amount of choice for the carnivores amongst us, vegetarians are left with limited choice. But, what else would you expect from a restaurant titled ‘Meating Place’? In terms of delivering a grill house style meal with a contemporary sophisticated edge, ‘The Meating Place’ surely delivers.
Opting for the whole three-course experience (it’s got to be done), the starter selection proved vast and somewhat multi-cultural with a range of meats and flavours from peppered squid, to confit duck with plum chutney. The service was very punctual and within a matter of minutes we were greeted by the beautifully presented starters that managed to master the balance between artistic presentation and a decent sized portion of food. The confit duck scrumpet with plum chutney proved a wise choice, partnering the roll of meaty duck, a light crispy breadcrumb crust and a rich, fruity chutney. Whilst the dish was fairly rich, the portion size meant that I still had room for the other two courses that awaited. I also tried a bit of the salt and peppered squid which was perfectly cooked in a delicate batter, remaining soft and proving that squid can be cooked without being chewy.
The mains were equally as prompt and again, a substantial sized portion presented in a contemporary fashion. The rump of lamb dish was an obvious choice for me, served on a bed of bubble and squeak, an underrated accompaniment in my opinion. Made up of a combination of potato, cabbage, carrots, the bubble and squeak was smooth, flavoursome and an interesting change from more traditional sides. The lamb was deliciously tender, retaining a bit of pinkness inside which aided to its juiciness. Whilst I was impressed with the meat, the advertised ‘roasted carrots’ were somewhat unjustified in the fact that there were only two little slices on the plate. The meal would have benefitted from slightly more carrots but nonetheless, the delicacy of the meat convinced me that the meal was an excellent choice.
Employing my separate stomach for desserts, I opted for sticky toffee pudding. The dish was a great end to the meal, managing to retain lightness even under the powerfully sweet sauce. There was not a choice between ice cream or cream which would have been advantageous but the dessert confirmed my opinion that a sticky toffee pudding is always a wise choice.
Although the standard price of the meal may be slightly out of the standard student’s budget, students do get a 10% discount on food so if you’re looking for somewhere to take the parents (and you know they’ll pay the bill), or somewhere a little bit special, then The Meating Place is an excellent choice that ultimately promises what you desire in a meal: great tasting food.