The Flavour Diaries
Ellie Richards, also known as The Flavour Diaries on Instagram, shares her experiences on her favourite, most recent, eateries in the city.
Where I’ve been – Giggling Squid
Giggling Squid has ever so kindly made the journey across the bridge and brought their unique approach to Thai dining right to the very heart of the Hayes. If you haven’t yet had the pleasure, get ready to savour dishes inspired by Thailand’s abundance of natural ingredients in our very own city. With the offering of Thai classics alongside their iconic Thai tapas, there’s a delicious dish waiting for everyone.
As you walk through the doors, the intricate artwork sets the stage for an unforgettable dining experience, and the large open windows almost make you feel as though you’re al-fresco dining. Let’s dive into the real star of the show – the food. The vast Giggling Squid menu boasts an array of dishes, from fragrant curries to zesty stir-fries and aromatic noodle creations. Thai mealtimes are all about lots of dishes to share and enjoy together, so a varied sharing starter, specifically the delicious Chang Mai, was a no-brainer. Composed of Hawker-Style Moo Ping, Salt & Pepper Squid, Spring Rolls and Giggling Wings, we feasted on the perfect Thai tapas-style starter before it was time to tuck into the main event.
Although difficult to choose, my personal favourite was the Crispy Slow Cooked Beef: a delicious result of hours of meticulous cooking, allowing the flavours to develop and intensify. The crispy exterior of the beef added the most delightful textural contrast, providing a delicious crunch with every bite. Coming in at a close second is the Lamb Shank Massaman. Each tender bite melted in my mouth, releasing its rich, savoury flavours. The natural sweetness of the lamb combined with the fragrant spices and coconut milk left a lasting taste that I, quite frankly, never want to forget. So, if you’re after a Thai flavour sensation or simply just fancy trying out somewhere new in your city, this is your sign to book that table!
Where I’ve been – Vines x Ground
An artisanal bakery supplying specialty coffee by day, and a cosy pop-up showcasing the very best ingredients of our region, by night. This small yet completely varied menu, carefully crafted by chef Alex Vines with a residency in Ground Bakery, embodies the concept of supporting local suppliers and artisans. With each dish perfectly prepared for sharing and each wine superbly sippable, Vines fully embrace the joy of sharing delicious food and drink with those closest to you.
From Deep Fried Baby Broad Beans with Harissa and Aioli to the most delicious Stoved New Potatoes with Little Gem, Broad Beans & Golden Cenarth, each dish held the vegetable at its heart. Similarly, the Short Rib and Beef Shin Ragu (although a meat dish) allowed the courgette to take centre stage – quite literally through the dishes’ gorgeously rich taste and presentation. Last but not least, let’s not forget the flavours of the Fig Leaf Set Cream with Chocolate Sauce and Amaretti, where the fig gave a unique botanical twist, adding a touch of sophistication to every spoonful.
With every bite of each dish, you could certainly taste the passion and dedication that goes into sourcing and compiling the finest seasonal ingredients for us all to enjoy. Although this menu initially felt unfamiliar, as I usually centre my meals around meat, my initial reservations soon became a thing of the past. This charming and cosy space is a haven for food enthusiasts seeking a taste of Welsh excellence. Want in on the action? Of course you do. You can choose from Thursday, Friday or Saturday evenings to reserve a table to enjoy delicious natural wines and dishes centred around locally grown vegetables.
Where you should go – Green Door Bakery
After taking up baking in lockdown 2020, Rhian Jones (of Elyse Bakes) soared to success with her show-stopping celebration cakes, famous heart-shaped brownies and her moreish cupcakes. The success has led her to the current day, where you can find Green Door Bakery nestled in the heart of Cyncoed Village. With its exceptional coffee and homemade bakes, the bakery has truly captured the hearts and palates of locals since opening its doors in May 2022.
Whether you’re a sucker for a strong espresso punch or prefer to savour an extra hot skinny latte (yes, that is my go-to coffee order), they have you covered. Prepare for a caffeine fix to kick off your day the right way! Forget breakfast at home, you’ll also want to start your day with their delicious homemade goods.
Sounds great, right? Green Door Bakery doesn’t just stop at being extraordinary within its four walls. Order at the counter and get comfortable in their ‘Cyncoed Cwtch’ while the attentive staff bring your order to the table. You know where you can find me on a sunny Sunday morning!
Their fresh coffee, delectable bakes and remarkable use of space aren’t all that’s great about this place. You only need to have visited once to experience the true sense of community that Green Door Bakery embodies. From providing a welcoming space for all ages to enjoy to frequently raising money for charity and supporting other local businesses, there is no doubt that this bakery should be next on your list, especially when they supply some of the best cookies in the ‘Diff!
The Flavour Diaries