Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Bully’s Restaurant – tough to beat

The Good Food Guide neatly captures my opinion on Bully's restaurant in five words: “Long-running family-owned gem.” And it really is a gem of a place.

I’m struck straight away but two things: the eclectic décor and the excellent service. The owner’s son,  Russell Bullimore, is mainly responsible for this.

Russell is welcoming and knowledgeable about food and discusses the menu with me with passion which makes me think these guys know their stuff.

Russell’s enthusiasm comes as no surprise to me. He works in a reputable restaurant, winning numerous awards and he and his wife spend their holidays – five weeks a year – eating at nice restaurants across Europe. This holidaying helps influence and refine Bully’s food and wine menus, and it also forms part of the décor: the menu from their visit to the Fat Duck was proudly mounted on the wall near my table, and a copy of the El Bulli (2003/4) book by the bar.

There are several options available in terms of menus:

  • The most expensive option is the gourmet evenings, seven courses with accompanying wines for £75;
  • a la carte, again on the expensive side compared to other restaurants in Cardiff – but worth it in my opinion;
  • From 12th of June onwards, there’s an early evening fixed price menu (Wednesdays and Thursdays) – which is a bargain;
  • Lunch menu – five courses for £21 (accompanying wines at £14); or
  • An exceptionally reasonable lunch menu costing: £9.95 for one course; £14 for two courses and a glass of wine; or £17.50 for three courses and a glass of wine.

For those who don’t want to spend too much money or are a little unsure about French cuisine, opting for one of the last three options is a great way of sampling beautiful French cuisine. The chef, Gareth, worked with Raymond Blanc for four years and classic French influences are clear to see on each of the menus.

I went for lunch on 5th of June. With the sun shining outside I didn’t fancy anything too rich so I opted for the crayfish tail and sun blushed tomato tian, frisee salad, balsamic dressing as a starter. A light and simple dish with every ingredient fulfilling its role: the crayfish tail, meaty and tender and the sun blushed tomato, nice and sweet.

The simplicity of the dish meant there was no place for any ingredient to ‘hide’ on the plate and it demanded the best quality ingredients. The chef obviously respects his ingredients and the plate is a platform for them to shine.

Sesame bread roll with oak smoked salt on butter from Brittany
I fancied something light as my main course and the Scottish salmon and scallop nage, spring greens, and new potatoes hit the spot beautifully. The salmon was beautifully tender and the perfectly cooked scallops sat contently in the flavoursome nage.

With my lunchtime coming to an end and the sun still beaming outside, the raspberry sorbet instantly caught my eye and the fact that is was sat on a warm pear clafoutis was a bonus. The clafoutis was light and simple platform for the sweet warm pear. A perfect end to the meal.

I had an espresso before I headed back to work and the bill came to £43 for two people. An absolute bargain in my opinion. With the launch of the express menu, I’m sure it won’t be too long before I’m back at Bully’s.

5 Cilgant Romilly
CF11 9NP
029 2022 1905


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