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!
A few months ago, I wrote about Who Cult in this blog post after Tom had brought some back for me. I finally visited the actual shop a few weeks ago so I’m writing again to show you the interior and more of their delicious donuts.
I’ve tried to visit on a few occasions but I usually try to catch them when they’re closed.
We went to pick up some doughnuts on the morning of Tom’s sisters wedding to treat the bridal party to some delicious treats!
Doughnuts, as before, were absolutely delicious and beautifully decorated. Everyone was a fan and loved them.
The interior of the cafe had seating for those who are planning on travel from further away or just want a break, but the decor spoke to me!
They also sell their own branded clothing which can be found in store and comes in a range of sizes and colours.
This was a brief post but I didn’t see the need to reiterate what I’d written in my previous post but I thought you guys would like to see the inside of Who Cult!
It did not disappoint, and Death before Decaf is my new motto!
I had the absolute pleasure of being invited to Tom’s sister, Kate’s, wedding a few weeks ago which was an absolute dream. Her and David got married in Coed Y Mwstwr Hotel in Bridgend which is tucked away in Coychurch, and conveniently only down the road from us.
I’m close to Tom’s family and love them like my own so I had the luxury of being involved in so many parts of the wedding, but with little responsibility!
In this blog post, I’ll write about all the little vegan bits that were thought about and catered for.
The Night Before The Wedding
We were invited to the hotel for a family meal before the nuptials the next day in the hotel restaurant. There was a vegan menu available and we were given the menus to peruse in the lounge area of the hotel.
We ordered and were taken into the restaurant when they were ready for us. We all ordered Tempura Vegetables to start, most of us ordered the Cauliflower and Pea Curry and Tom’s mum ordered the Chickpea and Lentil Roast for mains. To finish, myself and Hannah ordered the Vegan Chocolate Brownie and everyone else ordered the Grilled Pineapple with vegan ice-cream.
The food was lovely and the service was great. The Vegetable Tempura starter was a big hit with everyone and something that I highly recommend. It was a lovely start to the weekend!
Tom and I then headed home, ready for the next day…
The Wedding Day
Tom and I had a lie in as the ceremony wasn’t until 2:30! We were lucky to have an early check in at the hotel so we were able to check in at 12 so we started getting ready and packing some bags ready for the day!
On the way to the hotel, we stopped off in Who Cult Coffee + Donuts on Bridgend Industrial Estate on request of the bridal party, so it was impossible to say no! It was the first time I had actually gone inside so I took some photos but I’ll write another post. Here’s an older post from when I originally tried their doughnuts.
We arrived at the hotel and ran a few errands with Hannah, Tom’s younger sister and Kate’s maid of honour. We checked in and went straight up so that I could finish getting ready. Once I was ready, I spent the morning with the bridal party, taking photos and tearing up at the sight of Kate in her wedding dress. She looked beautiful.
The ceremony was lovely and there was so much love in the room. It was so clear to see that Kate and David shared so much together and were meant to be. It was an honour to be a guest.
After a drink and photos, we were seated fo the wedding breakfast. The favours were seeds to plant to help encourage bees, so we’ll be making sure we do that!
The wedding breakfast provided by Coed Y Mwstwr catered for both vegans and omnis. Kate herself is a vegetarian so she had the vegan option also.
The vegan option was: Vegetable soup, Black Eyed Bean Bourginon and Vegan Chocolate Brownie with ice cream.
For those who are curious, the omni option was: Leek and Potato Soup, Turkey Roast and Cheesecake.
I didn’t rate the bourginon. The mashed potato was delicious and creamy and the veg was great, but the meat replacement I found to be plain and dry.
The vegetable soup was really delicious. I could have eaten a vat of it! Tom appreciated the croutons too. He said he’d never had croutons before which shocked me!
The chocolate brownie was the same as the previous night but was much nicer with the ice cream.
Remaining on the topic of food… Kate and David’s wedding cake was made by the incredibly talented Vic’s Vegan Bakes. The cake was absolutely stunning and was made of 3 tiers:
Red Velvet and Chocolate
Salted Caramel and Biscoff
Vanilla and Raspberry
Every tier was absolutely delicious. Everyone loved it and I don’t think they even knew it was vegan. Vic bakes amazing cakes and makes them look like an absolute dream! Check out her instagram for all the inspiration.
The evening buffet came out around 9:30pm and has various vegan options and a small section of the omnis too. I picked up a cucumber sandwich, vegetable spring rolls and wontons and potato wedges. Tom had spicy falafel which he loved and couldn’t stop eating.
In between all of this, Tom and I spent the evening dancing the night away, pulling out all of our best wedding dance moves and trying to get everyone we know up on the dance floor with relative levels of success.
The Day After The Wedding
We stayed the night at the hotel. The room was lovely but I didn’t find the bed particularly comfortable. I had very particular comfort needs but it was a nice stay and it was very quiet.
What I did love was that instead of a hanging door sign to indicate you don’t want to be disturbed, they had the cutest cuddly toy dogs! “Let Sleeping Dogs Lay”.
We were invited to join the bride and groom for breakfast at 9am. I never usually eat much in the morning so I only had a coffee and juice but there was lots of lovely fruit on offer as well as cereals. We were also provided with soy milk for teas and coffees. Everyone else ordered vegan breakfasts which from what I remembered had sausages, toast, hash brown and a grilled tomato.
A huge thank you to Kate and David for having us and making the day so special for everyone. Thank you for catering for us and including us in so much of your day!
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.
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:
Moving Mountains Burger
Cauliflower Katsu Curry
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 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!
On the main road headed down to Ogmore beach, just before The Watermill pub, is a little cafe called Cobbles Kitchen. Cobbles Kitchen is only a small establishment but have so many food options to cater for various different dietary requirements.
A few weeks ago, my brother and sister came to visit and we went to Cobbles for brunch. My sister is making a conscious effort to cut out meat and has many vegan days. We ordered the vegan breakfast and my brother ordered the breakfast burrito. I also ordered a soy latte to accompany my breakfast.
My latte was fine. The coffee was a little more bitter than I’d like and the foam at the top was unusual and very thick, not what I expected. I didn’t actually finish my coffee and instead moved onto water.
Breakfast consisted of 2 sausages, mushrooms, baked beans, a grilled tomato, avocado, tofu scramble, a homemade potato hash and a slice of toast. I’ve had the cobbles breakfast before, but on this occasion, it was the best I’d had.
The toast was delicious and crisp. The avocado was perfectly ripe and the tofu scramble was flavourful. The potato hash was my favourite part. When I’d had breakfast on previous occasions, it had been soggy, but this time round it was cooked well and retained it’s structure.
My brother said his breakfast burrito was ok, but on the tomato-ey side. He still enjoyed it all the same.
Cobbles Kitchen has so many options so it’s a great location to bring omni friends and family. And of course, only being down the road from Ogmore beach is great too and ideal for a day trip.
Castellamare is located right on Bracelet Bay in the Mumbles in Swansea. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the beautiful area of Swansea, South Wales, you’re truly missing out.
Swansea is a truly beautiful part of Britain and the world. There are stunning views across the bay and to the ocean, and the Welsh are well known for their hospitality. Wales is a gem and I highly recommend every visit.
Anyway, moving back onto Castellamare. Even though I don’t live in Swansea, I’m a member of the Swansea Vegans Facebook page due to my proximity to the city. I found on the group the the cafe started offering vegan cheese for their pizzas!
Castellamare is made up of a restaurant and a cafe, but on this occasion we went to the cafe. I wasn’t 100% confident that the restaurant offered the same menu.
We perused the menu and there were lots of vegetables on offer. Tom ordered a vegan version of their vegetarian pizza which had lots of roasted vegetables. I ordered a vegan pizza and added mushrooms, spinach and olives. We also added a side of chips. I did ask what vegan cheese was used but the staff member wasn’t sure but she could confirm it was vegan which was good enough for me!
The pizza was lovely! For the 2 pizzas, 2 sides of chips and 2 drinks, it came to around £38 which is fairly reasonable. The pizza was a great size and the chips were lovely too. The cheese was lovely and creamy but you could tell it was different to the normal cheese they used.
There are many other vegan options in Swansea if you’re out and about. HappyCow will give you plenty of ideas! I would say, if you’re in the area then I recommend a visit, but I actually recommend you come and visit Swansea and then come here and also Boo’s Kitchen (which I’ve written about here) for your vegan food!