Cardiff Masters student, Peter Wolinski, kindly reviewed The Dough Thrower for Quench.
By Peter Wolinski
There isn’t much that tops a stodge binge. Whether it’s whilst you’re drastically hungover on the sofa, at a late-night takeaway or perhaps out somewhere slightly more cultured, bolting down a dangerous amount of carbohydrate is rarely an unenjoyable experience. And one evening, after a particularly miserable Cardiff afternoon, my partner and I were both up for shovelling some dough down ourselves. Conveniently, we’d taken note of a bougie looking pizza restaurant about 10 minutes away and quickly settled upon giving it a pop.
Having opened in 2017 at the top of Cowbridge Road East opposite Victoria Park, The Dough Thrower pizza joint has quickly made a name for itself. It recently featured in Wales Online’s 50 best restaurants in Cardiff in 2019 and, since visiting, it’s easy to see why. The venue disappointed in almost no aspect whatsoever.
“You’ll also be entertained with the eponymous display of raw pizza bases being flung through the air”
Sit without a view of their open kitchen and you’ll be satisfactorily surrounded by a laid-back mixture of hipsterish contemporary and rustic styling. Sit as we did, however, with a view of the chefs and their humongous log fired pizza oven, and you’ll also be entertained with the eponymous display of raw pizza bases being flung through the air. You’d be surprised how much the right kind of jeopardy can add to your dining experience.
The menu itself is similarly amusing, featuring quirkily named pizzas and animal themed sauces. There’s even a Benito’s Choice section which, initially, I took as the Italian equivalent of when a Chinese in Swansea served me a plate of their Chairman Mao’s spicy chicken. Turns out the owner is just named Benito and that, since eating the chairman’s chicken, I can’t stop seeing dictators on the menu.
Despite the choice of unconventionally named options, we decided to be a bit boring and begin with a £6.50 starter of meatballs made from smoked Pancetta and a duo of minced pork and beef. There was nothing boring about them, though: unctuous from the two minces and with a slight whiff of Pancetta smoke, they were covered with a sweet, tangy tomato sauce and a generous dusting of nutty Padano.
We then waited 20 minutes or so for the mains, ostensibly due to both a regular flow of takeaway orders and to a couple of mixed up tickets. This was the only real issue we had during our visit but, given that the longer we waited the more space we had for carbs, it didn’t really bother us.
“They come out of the oven a heroic sight, with gargantuan crusts puffed up and still bubbling from the heat”
When they did arrive, one Jhonny’s (Serrano ham, Rocket and grated Padano, £12.50) and one Flaming Goat (Roquito pepper, goat’s cheese and chilli honey, £12.50), all was forgotten. The pizza is good. They come out of the oven a heroic sight, with gargantuan crusts puffed up and still bubbling from the heat. They then handily shrink down to size as they reach the table, revealing a liberal volume of toppings. Their dough is light and slightly chewy, whilst the fior de latte mozzarella and the same zippy tomato sauce as above keep everything nice and oozy. The Flaming Goat was particularly tasty. Creamy goat’s cheese and a considered sweetness from the peppers and honey were an interesting combo on a pizza and, contrary to its name, it was never uncomfortably spicy.
We both left requiring a takeaway box. So, whilst not exactly student prices, the £31.50 that we spent ended up feeding us for two meals. Not too bad in the grand scheme of things. If your budget is tight though, consider either skipping starters or going for a starter each and a pizza between two.
If you’ve enough of your loan left for any of the options above, then, and enough willpower to get up Cowbridge Road in the rain, you should definitely give The Dough Thrower a visit. It does something really simple, really well: it takes unfussy food, executes it deftly and packages the whole experience within a lovely environment. But it also goes a bit further than that. You also get flaming goats on the menu, dangerous dough hurling and theatrically flamboyant crusts. It’s also a bit of fun.