If you woke today in a cold sweat and wondered frantically, ‘Where on earth am I going to find a black and white picture of a panda in a fez today!’ – and I know I did- then The Discovery has you covered. It’s one of several arty shots in the elegant but homely dining room at this Lakeside pub.
The menu here changes frequently, so it takes over a large blackboard. What’s good and what’s fresh is clearly to the fore. There are your diehard pub classics, of course- a pub without fish and chips or a house burger is a sad thing indeed- but the daily specials are what grab our attention.
It’s a happy dish which conjurs up cherished memories, and my friend has one of those moments prompted by his starter. Toast piled high with excellent brisket recalls childhood trips to grandparents who would roast the meat overnight in their wood-fired oven, and all the welcome and home comforts that implies. The meat is a dense, tender tangle and as good a starter as I’ve sampled in a pub this year.
Croquettes combine roughly-chopped chunks and shredded turkey with cranberries and a piquant sauce with a hint of chilli warmth. It’s an impressive start, almost a Spanish twist on the Christmas staple.
Huge crisp onion rings (gents- if you’ve forgotten one of Those Occasions, one of these will happily double as a golden bracelet to avoid doghouse-related ignominy) are lightly done. Chips tick the chunky and fluffy boxes, but could do with a little more colour to these eyes.
Lamb- we are told that chef likes to cook it pink, which is more than fine- is a standout piece of cooking. Fondant potatoes are buttery and golden with still some ‘give’, but what sends this dish spinning in an unexpected direction is an unconventional baba ghanouj with an aniseed kick which is immediately pronounced ‘superb’. It’s an interesting indication of the inventiveness of the kitchen.
Belly pork has my name all over it: tenderstem brocoli and skilfully rendered meat are layered on top of crushed new potatoes. The mushroom ragú is a lovely thing, several varieties combined in a cream-based sauce which still managed to let the meatiness of the fungi sing.
By this point it is abundantly clear this kitchen knows how to present good ingredients with a minimum of needless fuss. Serving sizes are large- you won’t go hungry- but we battled manfully to sample desserts.
Snickers tart (why anyone thought that name was preferable to ‘Marathon’, still baffles) comes with a salted caramel ice cream and a peanut brittle. It’s a hefty one-two of dark chocolate ganache and nuts and comes highly recommended, the buttery biscuit of the base the evidence of skillful baking. The apple and plum sponge carries a hit of cinnamon and balances sweetness and is comfort food writ large.
Unable to decide between coffee and a cocktail, we slump back with espresso martinis and that sense of contentment when you know you’ve been well cooked for.
The Discovery has something for everyone- they have a tempting steak night on Wednesdays and 30% off your bill Monday and Tuesday- and it is certainly worth the trip. Just book a nap afterwards.
Disclosure: I was invited to visit The Discovery on behalf of Cardiff Now magazine, and as such all food and drink was complementary.
029 2075 5015
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This blog is a very simple thing.
I won’t try to sell you any hand lotion, exercise programmes, coffee syrups or Patagonian nose flutes. You won’t find tips on dating, ‘wellness’ or yoga mats.
I write because I love it (and food, as indicated by my increasing girth). Greed happens to be my Deadly Sin of choice, but at least it is never shy of providing me with subject matter.
A simple thing, then: all you get is me wittering on semi-coherently about places I’ve eaten at; hence a ‘restaurant blog’ rather than a ‘food blog’, although there are a few recipes scattered throughout.
From mezze to Michelin ‘fine dining’ and all points in between.