Food & Drink Guide 2011
Puccini is a real gem, offering delicious home-cooked food in a warm and friendly atmosphere. Whether you’re eating in the small dining room or the larger room beyond, the decor, temperature (even on a freezing January night), and the background music will transport you straight to the Mediterranean.
The menu does the same, offering dishes from Spain and the Middle East as well as from Italy. With the help of the knowledgeable staff, we decided to visit every region, starting with tapas. Our falafel, halloumi, lamb couscous and Spanish potatoes were delicious. Although I was tempted to order some tapas for my main course too, I headed for Lebanon with a main of shish tawook – skewers of chicken with rice and a garlic dip. My companion opted for Puccini chicken – ham-wound chicken breast stuffed with basil and mozzarella on a bed of roast vegetables. Both dishes were cooked to perfection. Having missed out on the pizza and pasta dishes, we ducked back into Italy for our dessert, sharing a delightful tiramisu.
With a redecoration
planned in 2011, and a pianist from the Celtic Manor playing on selected
Friday nights, the only way is up for Puccini. We will be back.
Eat Out Cardiff 2011
Last weekend, my fiance and I were invited to eat at Puccini in Roath. Chances are you haven’t found this place yet. Hidden amongst the shops on Albany Road, you would be forgiven for walking past Puccini but next time pay attention because this is a real hidden gem and somewhere you definitely need to try if you like tapas and mediterranean food.
From the outside, Puccini looks quite modest but also warm and inviting with it’s big windows and gorgeous coat stand in the window. When you get inside it has a real homely feel with quirky furniture and big comfy sofas. The decor is completely to my taste with bright colours, mis-matching furniture and lots of pictures adorning the walls. We took a seat at a small table near the front of the restaurant. On a previous visit, I sat at the back of the restaurant in a room joining the main room. I love it out the back, you are immediately transported to the mediterranean, with the tiled floor, terracotta colours and a gorgeous mural covering one of the walls. The old furniture and red paper table cloths really add to the effect for me, it feels very authentic.
The atmosphere was great when we arrived with lots of people eating and chatting and a guest pianist playing. ‘The Dr,’ as the pianist was called, was fantastic. When I heard that he was playing I wasn’t sure what to expect, I thought it might be a bit over powering when we were trying to eat and talk but it really made the evening for me. The music was the perfect volume and the music choices were in keeping with the tone of the restaurant.
Our waitress was very helpful. She showed us to our table and was happy to recommend dishes to us when we asked. She was very natural and friendly which I like. I really don’t like it when we can’t relax in a restaurant because the staff are so unnatural and stiff. This certainly wasn’t the case here.
To start we had Saffron Mussels (recommended by the waitress) and Stuffed Pepper. Both were from the tapas menu which was extensive and varied. I have eaten tapas at Puccini before and can recommend the stuffed Jalapeno Peppers and the Whitebait with Devilled Sauce along with the mussels we had this time. Prices are reasonable at between £3.50 and £5.50 and very well presented. The mussels were an especially good deal as we had loads and they were perfectly cooked. I would also suggest you try the Zataar Bread.
For our main, I had Beef Medallions with Blue Cheese Sauce and Marinated Potatoes and my fiance had the Kofta Bruchettes. Both dishes were very nice. I asked for my beef rare and it was so I was impressed as I usually get medium rare when I ask for rare. However, my blue cheese sauce was slightly lacking in blue cheese but this was only a minor thing in an otherwise delicious meal. The main courses are an average of about £12. The star of the meal though was the desert! I chose Baklava which was lovely but my fiance had Mediterranean Cheesecake which was like nothing I have ever tasted (unfortunately for him he was falsed to share it with me). It was made from mozzarella, semolina and golden syrup. It sounds like a strange combination but it really worked!
I would definitely suggest paying Puccini a visit. They are actually planning a renovation and I am intrigued because I love it as it is and I’m very interested in how they are going to improve the look of something that I already rate so highly.
Customer Reviews published online
"This Mediterranean restaurant is a little jewel in Cardiff.
It has a fairly wide menu and most people will have no difficulty in finding something that they like. Service is very helpful and pleasant."
"It deserves a high rating for Mediterranean cuisine. This is because everything in it is made by the same person, you can tell that the pizzas were just done and are original to the place. This restaurant is a cross between an Italian and a Lebanese, but it doesn’t lose identity because of that it actually gains some uniqueness.
I ordered a Lebanese pizza, which in fact is a Calzone with Halloumi
cheese and Spinach. It came with a sald by the side and it really tasted
good! And was actually quite cheap (lunchtime deal, pizza/pasta £5).
"The decoration is pretty Italian cliché but still quite pleasant, it feels larger from the inside than when you walk in. Which is always good. They have some sofas next to the dining tables, for me that is very comfy and that was what this restaurant felt to me. The owner/waiter is friendly and the food is also pretty nice. It was a discovery which I will certainly repeat!"
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