I was thrilled to be invited to attend the sold out “vegan takeover” at The Potted Pig. I’d never visited the restaurant before so I was very excited to be a part of this event. The restaurant is located in the city centre of Cardiff, neighbouring the beautiful Cardiff Castle. Inside the venue is a refurbishment of the “old vaults” once used as a bank. The lights were dim and the room felt open and comfortable with a relaxed atmosphere.

We were greeted and seated at our table and were told that everything on the drinks menu tonight was suitable for vegans.
I ordered a Hendricks and Tonic which arrived presented with beautiful botanical garnishment and it wasn’t long until we were presented with the first of our five course meal. 

(With a Secret Ingredient)

I must admit, as a previous lover of meat and going vegan purely for animal welfare, I’m always delighted when vegan options have a “meaty” quality to them and after sampling the sliders, I could tell that this was a dish that even non vegans would really enjoy. A choice of seeded or floured bun met inside with onions, peppers and tomatoes with a chipotle bbq sauce and topped with a miniture gherkin. The dish felt authetic, yet the sauce came across sweet, so I had guessed the secret ingredient to be Agave nectar as a great alternative to honey, but I was suprised to find that the secret ingredient was infact “banana skin”. I’d never heard of that being used in a dish before but was told it had little flavour but gave an excellent “meaty” texture which I found to be true.

Next up was the SMOKY BEETROOT SOUP with onion and chive scones and beetroot crisps.
Vibrant red and smooth, I already knew upon reading this from the menu, that I was going to enjoy it and the dish even surpassed my expectations. I didn’t want this course to end. It was seasoned perfectly and the accompaniment of the onion and chive scone with the crispy beetroot placed in the middle, added even more flavour to this dish. I would hands down recommend this dish to any soup lover like myself because its unique, yet hearty flavours were out of this world.

Soon after we were served the ROASTED CAULIFLOWER CURRY with basmati and wild rice, naan bread, black onion seeds and mango chutney. This dish was probably the most popular of the night. It felt like a wonderful home cooked meal. Simple but absolutely packed with a variety of flavours and gentle spice that you definetly wouldnt miss out on the meat. Curry is one of my favourite dishes and the combination of textures and spice sat beautifully on the palette. Its also rare to find good vegan naan bread, so I was pleased with the overall thought and love, put into this classic dish.

Next we cleansed our palettes with PINEAPPLE GRANITA served in a shot glass with a pineapple on the side.There really isn’t much to be said, other than it was simple and satisying and got our tastebuds tingling for the next course.

ROASTED PEACH with pistachio and almond brittle, berry compote and vanilla soy ice cream. 
I’ll firstly start by saying that upon going vegan, I’ve found that dessert is often the course many places tend to forget about or put miminal effort into, but in this case it couldn’t be more opposite. This was by far my favourite course of the evening. Much like the cauliflower curry, this dish had an excellent range of flavours and textures. From the soft juicy peaches that almost melted in your mouth, to the delicately light and airy vanilla ice cream, the sharp and succulent berries and the crunchy and earthly almond and pisachio, this was honestly like no other dessert I’ve ever tasted. It had every tastebud having a party so much so, I would most definetly leave room for dessert if I saw this on the menu again.

And so we ended the night with our final course of MAPLE AND PECAN BANANA BREAD and what a fantastic end it was. Soft and spongey and infused with a wonderful taste of bananas, with the outside glazed in maple syrup and sprinkled with pecans. A huge hit among the tables around us and we all agreed it would be the PERFECT treat to accompany you with a tea or coffee to suit the mood of any time of day, be it an afternoon tea with friends or sat at home with a good book. 

Overall, I must say my experience at The Potted Pig far exceeded my expectations. I initially had doubts that a place named after an animal would execute a superb vegan night to the standard that they did, but I was so wrong. 

The atmosphere was warm, relaxed and welcoming, the staff were very friendly, chatty, knowledgable about veganism and seemed excited about the event which really made us feel like a lot of effort and preparation went into the night.

I would say the food was simple, yet hearty and comfort food with a twist. Its definitely something I would recommend to a non vegan or those looking to eat more plant based as the amount of flavours in each dish really were excellent. I want to thank the staff once again for the invitation and a wonderful night. 

I believe that due to the success of the night they are holding another “vegan takeover” at The Potted Pig on July 14th, so by all means take my advice and book for a wonderful experience of modern day vegan dining.

Written by 
Matthew Martini

Published by VALLEY TIMES

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