So, another rib/grill/BBQ/low and slow/US themed/big portion restaurant hits the capital - this time it's the turn of The Smokehaus - following in the footsteps of Feather and Bone, Hangfire Smokehouse and others, this style of food and dining is firmly taking a hold in the foodie scene in Cardiff.
I should point out at the onset also that I was invited to the evening to try the food, so didn't pay for the food on this occasion.
So, then, housed in the former Hooters venue, it is clear from the onset that this new venue is no sappy themed venue, but a nice cosy, welcoming place to take a few hours and enjoy some food and drink.
The interior has been really nicely done, and I could see myself stopping here for a few drinks, as well as the occasional evening out for a meal.
The evening was one of the final run through evenings for the staff to get up to speed before the official opening earlier this week - and let me say they did an excellent job. Every member of staff we interacted with was knowledgeable, polite, and did the job well - my only criticism was that in some cases, this meant you were left waiting a while whilst they chatted to other customers - but it's a small negative.
And so to the food - who can't resist a whole load of meat when you dine at this type of restaurant so I went with the The Smokehaus Threesome, a splendidly sized portion of pulled pork, beef brisket and pastrami. Served with fries and coleslaw it was a good sized portion and the meat, especially the brisket was melt in the mouth moist and beautifully cooked. The pastrami was delicious and I must admit, my least favourite, and somewhat disappointingly, I wasn't overly impressed withe the texture or the taste (or the temperature) of the pulled pork. Personal taste I guess but it wasn't for me.
Another small gripe - and this may be explained by the fact that the venue was full and we all arrived at roughly the same time - the food was swift in arriving - great - however, along with the pork, for me the fries were particularly tepid in temperature, and failed to hold any heat by the time I was only halfway through my meal.
As for the coleslaw - well it looked and tasted fine, but not freshly made, not fresh looking, not zingy, it looked, to be honest, straight out of Tesco express next door ! Sorry guys but at £1.95 as an extra side it needs to be a lot more exciting than that !
My partner went with the The Donut Burger - a cheeseburger topped with grilled smoked streaky bacon, sweet sauce then placed between two sweet glazed donuts - and this was really good! It shouldn't work should it - but it does - definitely worth you trying it !
Drinks wise - great to see Penderyn Welsh Whisky on the menu, and there's the usual range of beers, wines and cocktails that you would expect, including one of my non-Welsh favourites, the American wheat beer, Blue Moon.
So did we do desert ? Hell yes...
I'm still buzzing from the sugar rush! I had the Mississippi Mud Pie which was ace, and my partner had the Marshmallow Topped Waffle - which was even sweeter and stickier!
Overall, the whole experience was professional, welcoming and definitely worth a return trip or two. Staff were excellent, the food was mostly damn good and the few gripes I had were personal taste as opposed to any major problems, so judge them for yourselves.
Go on, you know you want to.... Go get that bus....