There are an abundance of dining choices in the fair city of Cardiff of late, offering up all manner of cuisine to tempt your tastebuds. Let’s be honest though, there’s nothing quite like a steak to get your little carnivore’s heart racing, so when the Jones household was summoned to The Meating Place, the best grill joint in town, I cleared our diaries promptly.
The Meating Place is on the busy St Mary’s street, the modern and understated branding belies the warmth of the interior, exposed beams, soft lighting, an array of framed pictures and wooden tables and chairs create an intimate and cosy vibe, almost like you had stumbled into the dining room of landed yet slightly eccentric gentry for your evening meal. It was a pity I had already laddered my tights on the way in, of the manor born I am sadly not.
We were seating by friendly staff on a snug table for two and had a lovely chat with the waiter about what wine was on offer this evening. It’s surely a sign you have become a fully functional adult when you enjoy discussing wine pairings with restaurant staff of a Tuesday evening, I feel i’ve come a long way from the ‘Lambrusco in the park’ days of my youth.
Over a wine and breads with dipping oils we perused the menu, this was indeed a meat lover’s dream, we were spoilt for choice with signature steaks, hanging meat skewers, BBQ glazed pork ribs, lamb rump, pan roasted venison and pork tenderloin. I settled on a signature steak, for me there is nothing quite like a slab of medium rare sirloin, in fact it was steak that led to my downfall during my flirtation with vegetarianism as a sulky teenager out to smash the system by eschewing meat, steak always gets you in the end my friends.
Husband Luke chose a hanging lamb skewer and we also decided upon the delicious sounding hand cut chips and home made beer battered onion rings as our meaty accompaniments. Our waiter was happy to talk us through where our meat had come from and explained that the Meating Place uses locally sourced beef and pork from Celtic Pride, their fish is supplied by E. Ashton Fishmongers from Cardiff’s’ landmark indoor market and other menu items including cheese, venison and lamb are also sourced locally. This to me is always the mark of a great restaurant, when the staff converse happily about the local and seasonal produce you are about to eat. It’s lovely to dine in a venue that has passion and pride for the food it serves.
Our meals had arrived and I felt a great sense of anticipation over my steak, the dish placed in front of me was most Instagram worthy, the steak was grilled perfectly, the chunky chips cooked to a lovely golden colour and my side of red wine sauce had a splendid aroma. Luke’s hanging skewer was a delicious dangle of juicy lamb, his little face was giddy with meaty glee.
It was the critical taste test time, I carved into my steak to find it a perfect pink in the middle, just as I like it. It tasted heavenly, a great combination of grilled exterior with a juicy middle, this is how steak should be cooked. Luke’s lamb did also not disappoint, tender and flavourful, it was a real taste treat and he was very reluctant to share (I had to distract him whilst I slid a piece off the skewer).
It’s rare when dining to find the sides just as satisfying as the main dish but in the case of the beer battered onion rings they were frankly one of the best sides I have had in some time. Foodies know that a common problem with onion rings is that they are often a soggy disappointment and have long been relegated to mere pub grub fodder. Not at The Meating Place though, onion rings are given the care they deserve and crafted to battered perfection with Welsh favourite Brains Beer and have achieved the optimum onion to batter ratio. The chef should receive some sort a plaque of ‘onion ring excellence’ to display in the kitchen.
It was a very filling feast and I barely had room for dessert but in the interest of providing a full review of courses on offer, I soldiered on, not all heroes wear capes you know. I chose the chocolate brownie with winter berry compote and ice cream for us to share and by share I mean, ‘touch my brownie and you’ll get a fork in the hand’. I am a delight to be married to. The brownie was heavenly, lovely and gooey and worked really well with the berry compote, which gave it an extra zing. Brownies are one of my favourite desserts and this chunk of chocolatey loveliness was gobbled up with the usual ladylike manners I display when presented with a sweet.
When it was time for us to depart imagine my delight when the waiter had noted my earlier disappointment at not being able to finish all the onions rings and had wrapped them in napkins for me whist cheerfully exclaiming ‘I’ve never wrapped up an onion ring before’. Bravo Meating Place staff, you do indulge me and my peculiar whims, this is most excellent service. Imagine my momentary confusion the next day when I arrived at work the following morning to find an onion ring in the bottom of my handbag, though it’s not entirely unusual for me to find rogue food in my bag/coat pocket/sock drawer. I once made off with a pork pie tower at an event (Sorry Ten Mill Lane) and spent the next few weeks finding half eaten pork pies all over the house.
I would highly recommend the Meating Place for your next dining out venture, it’s delicious food that I think is fairly priced for it’s quality and you will be served by the most lovely and accommodating of staff. A wonderful addition to the Cardiff culinary scene, we will be back very soon.