We have been searching for a good Thai restaurant in Cardiff for some time. I think we have got our favourite Italian, Indian and British menus covered, but Thai has been a challenge.
On a long windy drive to Cardiff last week, Katherine started to research Thai restaurants for our dinner that evening. After discarding a few options we found the Bangkok Cafe located on the foodie street of East Cowbridge Road, just a few minutes Uber from Cardiff City Centre.
The photos looked good so we called up the menu to look at the options ; some usual satay starters, coconut and lemongrass soup and then one dish that caught our eye – Moo Pat. Katherine read this to me as ‘Cow Pat’ which immediately sounded like an opportunity for a blog post, “Eating Cow Pat in Cardiff.” It was actually Moo Pat, (not even Kow Pat) but it still worthy of a title!
The menu description for Moo Pat read, “Moo Pat Pet slices of pan fried pork in a red curry sauce with Thai herbs and green peppercorns. Served with Vegetable Tempura.:
I am not usually a red curry fan, but felt this had to be tried.
We arrived for an early table, grabbing a good seat near the back of the restaurant. The place was pretty funky, a wooden floor and grey walls showcasing the vibrant red and green banquettes. An eclectic soundtrack from Daft Punk to the Steve Miller Band via Isaacs Hayes kept the restaurant buzzing.
Service was quick (quicker than Chapel the following night)– water and Singha were ordered as soon as we sat down, leaving us time to review the menu in more detail. There were plenty of vegetarian options so we had no trouble in choosing our dishes.
Starters of Thai Toasties, Fresh Vegetable Wraps and Chicken Satay arrived quickly and disappeared even quicker. The presentation of good looking food, on bright coloured dishes set against the black table made for some great foodie shots!
We went off piste for the main courses, trying new dishes. Katherine tried the ‘Son in Law Eggs’ a dish we’d seen before but never tried. Sadly the Moo Pat was not available, so I I went for a house speciality of ‘Cow Kuk Gabee’ This was A traditional dish from North East Thailand, Rice stir fried in a roasted chilli paste with accompaniments of pork, green mango sticks, shredded omelette, dried prawns and chillis.
The eggs were well received; whole boiled eggs, fried until crisp drizzled with a sweet and sour tamarind sauce, topped with friend shallots and roasted chillis. Served with yellow rice, green vegetables and a spicy mushroom soup they delivered a good balance of sweet, sour and heat.
For me, the shredded pork was tangy and tasty, the rice was OK and the soup was nice. But my biggest issue was that the staff didn’t guide me on how to best enjoy the dish. Did I sprinkle the mango sticks into the soup? Did I pour the soup on to the rice and stir in the omelette and pork? What ended up happening was I ate most of the elements separately which meant for an OK dinner, but not the taste sensation I hoped for.
At the end of a spicy meal I like a bowl of vanilla Ice cream to finish off. But sadly, the Bangkok Cafe did not serve dessert. Not even some pre-prepared dishes. That was a shame as it brought the evening to an abrupt close. We grabbed the bill and headed home, thinking we may not yet have found our favourite Thai restaurant.
Have you eaten out in Cardiff? Where do you recommend we try?