It was an exciting day in the Jones household when we received invitation to the new Porro restaurant on Wellfield Road in Cardiff, many a blogger friend had enthused over their menus, so expectations were running high. Fetch me my best dress and least scuffed shoes darling, date night is happening!
This is the second Porro venture, with the first located in Llandaff High Street, both restaurants are run by the fabulous team behind acclaimed Cardiff restaurant the Potted Pig. Porro are advocates of Italian philosophy of ‘celebrating simple, quality ingredients’ and strive to use locally sourced ingredients where possible. A little pre-visit research on the website reveals that they have a constantly changing and seasonal menu. I have long been a fan of seasonal menus, wannabe hipster that I am, it invites intrigue as to what new offerings will be served up, there’s nothing worse than a bland and unimaginative menu at an establishment.
Porro’s style of food is stated as ‘Modern British cuisine inspired by Italian cooking and eating’, husband Luke and I frankly love anything even remotely Italian thanks to a long standing love affair with ‘The Godfather’ and Chianti, so we were keen to see what the menu offerings were.
I was impressed by the classy and understated décor as we walked through the door on a brisk winter’s night, I am a lover of a bit of exposed brick and simple-yet-chic design. I was pleased that I was wearing my ‘smart dress’ that only had a very tiny biro stain.
Friendly staff seated us and were happy to talk us through the wine list and their range of bottled lagers and ales that would be sure to help the night go along merrily.
The menu offered a range of tempting and inviting dishes such as ‘Parrardelle with braised Welsh ox cheek’, ‘Sea bream with squid’, ‘Roast pumpkin tortellini’ and ‘Orecchiette with wild rocket, datterini tomatoes, chilli and zuccini’. We opted for ‘Pizza Porro’ featuring leek, taleggio mozzarella and rocket and ‘Fennel Roast Pork Belly’ with hispi cabbage, baked shallots and pork croquettes.
Pork just so happens to be one of my most favourite meat dishes and this dish did not disappoint. The pork was the perfect balance of crispy crackling and tender meat, scented with the smell of spice and taste of glorious meaty juice. I chomped my way through it at an alarming speed, there is nothing more satisfying to a foodie that the crunch of crackling in one’s mouth. The caramelised shallots and fabulously tasty croquette acted as superb accompaniment to a very tasty meal.
Luke’s pizza was received so well that he had to be cajoled, harassed and eventually threatened, into sharing a slice. The strong but tasty aroma of the taleggio cheese worked very well with the leek and peppery flavour of the rocket. This felt like a light and fresh pizza that didn’t seem to cause the ‘carb overload’ feeling that most pizzas generate.
After proclaiming myself ‘completely full’, I predictable and inevitably cracked when asked if I would like to order a dessert, I would not make a great MI6 agent it would appear, I would sing like a canary for a whiff of cheesecake.
I could also hardly be expected to pass up on the chance to devour a dark chocolate torte with hazelnut ice cream. The professional staff even managed not to smirk when I let out a little whimper when presented with said torte. Needless to say it was heaven, dark chocolate and hazelnut is always a cracking combination and this dessert knocked it out the proverbial ball park. I think I may have licked the plate, I’d had a few wines to be fair.
It was time to leave and reflect on our evening in Porro during the cab ride home, like a low budget, mildly intoxicated ‘Come dine with me’. We concluded that great thing about Porro is how it creates dishes with local produce whilst paying homage to Italian cuisine and is still reasonably priced for a venue of its class and location. I would highly recommend a visit, treat a loved one (or me) to a lovely evening out, (really take me, I’ll be ever so good).