The Admiral St David in Cardiff Bay is an Australasian and Pacific-inspired restaurant inside the sumptuous St David’s hotel. I was invited along to experience the menu and have shared my thoughts on the new style and what you should try…
WHAT’S IT LIKE?
Not to be confused with the insurance company, The Admiral refers to a navy chief as the restaurant holds a commanding presence over the passing little sail boats crossing Cardiff Bay.
A cool relaxed vibe has washed over the former Tempus At Tides restaurant with sofa seating, driftwood furniture and a fresh white, beige and mint blue palette.
Any ties to Wales hasn’t been lost at sea with subtle references like Roald Dahl-inspired cocktails and quotes in picture frames, and the nautical theme of course refering to the iconic Cardiff location.
Whilst I really enjoyed my Afternoon Tea experience at Tempus, I think this new style will encourage casual walk-ins and longer stays.
WHERE IS IT EXACTLY?
51°27′ N 3°10′ W if you’re arriving by boat! The St David’s Hotel is five star luxury in Mermaid Quay with a Marine Spa, 142 bedrooms and over 10 function rooms for corporate events. The Admiral restaurant is located on the ground floor, just to the right of the grand hotel entrance. There’s a pay and display car park on Havannah Street and it’s around 10-15 minutes walk from the Wales Millennium Centre and the Bay train station.
WHAT’S ON THE ADMIRAL MENU?
The Australasian menu brings something new to the city, taking familiar Welsh favourites like mussels and lamb and infusing them with far-flung flavours such as lemongrass, Korean bulgogi sauce and Loa tomato salsa.
There’s a ‘Bar Menu‘ and ‘All Day Menu‘, the former having sandwiches and wraps (ideal for lunchtime snackers) whilst both offering a ‘Small plates‘ and ‘Large plates‘ section. Prices are around £4 to £14 for small plates and £10 to £26 on larger plates, excluding on the day market price for freshly sourced fish and Butcher’s prime cut beef.
On the ‘All Day Menu’ I started my dinner with the succulent Beef bon bon on Welsh beef carpaccio and a colourful tomato and coriander salsa. Other options include Chicken satay with peanut sauce, Breaded Pant-Ysgawn goat’s cheese and Three tempura king prawns with chilli and garlic mayonnaise.
For main I tried the Thai sweet potato curry with spiced vegetable rice, flatbread and tomato salsa. This was an enjoyable vegetarian option with a medium heat, although a cooling mint yoghurt or sweet chutney would’ve been welcome for balance.
I dined with Miss Nicklin who opted for the Welsh mussels and was perplexed by the unusual mix of flavours that gave the sauce a rustic taste. We both agreed the fries are very moreish and crispy with a coating of various spices.
All eight desserts on the current menu are incredibly tempting, Clotted cream creme brûlée, White chocolate parfait and a Welsh cheese plate all make the cut.
The peach melba sitting in a nest of chocolate was delicious and the Lemon Tart also got Hannah’s seal of approval.
The drinks menu is loaded with seasonal draught beer, white and red wines from across the world (including Australia, South Africa and Chile) and they’ve stuck with Tempus’s choice of award winning Novus Tea.
WHAT SHOULD I HAVE?
My favourite three dishes were the Beef bon bon starter, Chicken laksa and egg noddles main course and the Dark chocolate cremeux dessert. I tried some of the chicken laksa, noddles and stir-fried veg as it’s not something I usually have but it was really delicious. The cremeux dessert marries dark chocolate with mango sorbet and coconut – unusual, exotic and sums up the bold east-meets-west direction The Admiral is sailing.
The Admiral St David
Havannah Street, Cardiff
(+44) 02920 454 045
Disclosure: My dining experiences were complimentary of The Admiral in exchange for this honest review.