Guided down into the basement which previously served as a bank vault, we were greeted and seated with much attentiveness. And then it was time to indecisively try and choose one of the dishes from the seasonal menu. Their style is influenced by French and New York grill techniques yet the basis for the menu is very much focussed on British produce with a couple of signature dishes such as the offally good breakfast and, of course, their potted pig.
Potted pig with toast & pickles
Other starters devoured included potted shrimp and a leek terrine. Two rather gorgeous dishes were the smoked trout and the duck hash which was cooked with skin that crunched to perfection. Think of the best aromatic crispy duck you've eaten, got it? Now top it with a fried egg ready to dribble yolk, et voilà.
Duck hash with fried egg
Smoked trout with poached egg & béarnaise sauce
The mains were generously portioned in comparison to the starters and with an average cost of £13 per dish, ideal value. I had the New York strip Abergavenny steak, as recommended by the waitress, and rightly so. Verging on the side of sirloin and crossed with a T-bone steak this cut had less fat and less chew than the other rib eye and porterhouse options. The hand cut chips had a seriously good crunchy skin and fluffy centre, yet they did seem a tad dry. The cut of meat itself was cooked to medium-rare perfection and definitely worth ordering if you are steak fan.
10oz New York strip Abergavenny steak with green sauce
Same steak with béarnaise sauce
Other dishes we ordered were the whole bream, the roast chicken and lamb steak on the bone. The lamb was a little tough but otherwise tasted incredible, accompanied by kidneys. I've not acquired the taste for kidneys, however, if you're keen on the renal round things, they were apparently well cooked, blushing with pink centres.
Whole bream with Jerusalem artichokes, purple sprouting broccoli and béarnaise sauce
Lamb steak on the bone with jansson's temptation & mustard greens
Madgetts farm roast chicken with lemon, thyme & puy lentil broth
Now, who am I to pass up dessert, eh? There were only three options which are all what you'd consider to be British puddings: bread and butter pudding, rice pudding and jam roly poly. The portions were just enough after the huge main courses and surprisingly light for traditionally stodgy food, which was helped by the thin, creamy vanilla custard.
Bread and butter pudding
Jam roly poly
Rice pudding with jam
The drinks menu was also to be admired. Along with an affordable wine list, the range of spirits on offer included an impressive double page spread just for gin!
The restaurant is definitely a popular choice and on a Saturday night proves even busier. Once we had finished eating we were asked to move to the waiting area to finish our drinks as they needed to prepare for another set of guests. We had been there almost 3 hours and with a limited number of tables for a small venue such as this, it's understandable why they needed to ask us to vacate the table. The waitress was apologetic and offered complimentary drinks for the inconvenience which is refreshing (I'm not sure many restaurants in London would do the same)!
Now that I've finally paid The Potted Pig a visit I'm probably going to badger people to do the same if they haven't already. Surrounded by a slue of franchise restaurants this more recent addition to Cardiff town centre is a gem.