Review: The Admiral St David (St David's Hotel, Cardiff Bay)

Review: The Admiral at Voco St David's, Cardiff Bay {Cardiff Restaurants}

beautiful image of cardiff bay

Working in the centre of town, I do tend to find myself drifting towards the same chains of restaurants when I go out for food. Summer is the perfect time to stretch the legs and it's my goal to walk more and try new places, venturing outside of my restaurant-comfort zone. I've also started making more of an effort to pop down to Cardiff Bay, which is such a vibrant part of Cardiff, especially when the sun is shining and the sea is sparkling! I took my mum to sample the menu at The Admiral St David last week, which is pictured above, based in the five star St David's hotel.

cocktails over cardiff bay
Welsh 75 (Brecon gin, elderflower, lemon, sugar, Champagne - £12.95)

cardiff bay admiral voco st davids cocktail menu
Twisted cocktails menu! A great selection of rum cocktails were also available.

We were seated beside the window with a spectacular view of the bay, and received a very warm welcome from the staff (quick mention - Kat and Katarina were the names of the ladies serving us - both absolutely lovely!) who eagerly talked us through the menu. After a complete re-launch last year, The Admiral opened with a menu merging local sourced Welsh produce with Australasian and Asia-Pacific inspiration. This type of cuisine involves a fusion of flavours from Australia, Indonesia, Thailand, Japan and Sri Lanka, making up some exciting and eclectic dishes. Something quite a bit different, I don't think Wales has anywhere else similar...not yet anyway!

The restaurant itself has quite a laid back, classy yet informal vibe to it, a trendy, nautical theme with lots of cool tones, light blues and greys, that fits in very well with the setting and location. The cocktail menu featured 'twisted cocktails' consisting of classics with a Welsh twist, I really enjoyed the Welsh 75 (Brecon gin, elderflower, lemon, sugar, Champagne).

voco st davids admiral hotel cardiff menu
Chicken satay, peanut sauce, grilled lime (£8)

It was really difficult to choose what go to for as so many things sounded so great, it's such an interesting menu. We settled on sharing a chicken satay starter. The bold flavours were beautiful, chicken was perfectly cooked with a light, crispy coating and the satay sauce was spot on. No regrets on the choice whatsoever, I just wish we had got one plate each.

voco st davids admiral hotel cardiff steak
Dry-aged Cefyn Mawr Farm beef, fries, roasted beef tomato, portabella mushroom
(Market price, £2 for peppercorn sauce)

My mum hadn't eaten a steak in a restaurant for a while and she was extremely happy with her choice of main course. Her review was very positive - this is a direct quotation: 

"The most tender steak I have ever tasted, its deliciousness floored me. The peppercorn sauce added a peppery kick whilst not being too overpowering. The steak was cooked to perfection, reminding me of hazy, summer days around the barbecue with my family in Italy, reminiscent of the juicy steaks we all used to enjoy". 

Putting me to shame really, I think she should be the one with the blog! I tasted a few chips and they were light, buttery and fluffy on the inside, crispy on the outside. A more traditional option for a main, if you aren't feeling too adventurous.

voco st davids admiral hotel cardiff menu
Chicken laksa, egg noodles, fried Asian shallots, fried egg (£16)

thelittlecardiffblog eating at st davids hotel admiral voco

voco st davids admiral hotel cardiff menu
Most delicious chicken thigh!

I ordered the chicken laksa after a long time deliberating between that and two other options (Grilled Thai ginger-marinated lemon sole with chinese greens, or the Char siu pork belly, barbecued king prawn, spiced rice and pomegranate). It was absolutely divine! I was so pleased because if you know me, you'll know I'm really not a 'noodle person' so this wasn't the obvious choice. But I am a chicken person, an egg person and I do like a bit of heat in my food. I thoroughly enjoyed the contrasting textures, the rich, fragrant, coconutty sauce with a bit of a kick. The chicken thighs were so tender and flavoursome, just thinking about it all now is making me hungry. If you're visiting this restaurant I'd recommend you pick this, it was a very memorable meal.

voco st davids admiral hotel cardiff dessert
Milk chocolate brownie, yuzu ice cream (£7) & Ginger crème brûlée, poached rhubarb (£6)

voco st davids admiral hotel cardiff dessert

For desserts, I opted for the brownie and my mum selected the ginger creme brûlée. The brownie was served warm and was chocolate-fudge-cake-like in texture, with ice cream flavoured with 'yuzu' citrus fruit (a souring ingredient used in Asia). They went really well together and it was a lovely dessert, but my mum's choice stole the show. Melt-in-the-mouth custard with a subtle ginger flavour throughout, paired with hot poached rhubarb and sugary sweet meringues, absolutely incredible (and highly photogenic)!

We were in love with the food here and can't recommend it highly enough. You can tell everyone behind this restaurant is extremely talented, as well as passionate about the food. There were only two things which would have made the experience better. One would have been if my mum hadn’t gone for the same cocktail as me, so we could have had the opportunity to sample two. Rookie error! The second would have been if we had got lucky with some sunshine, because the outside seats overlooking the bay would have been amazing, but it was too windy. But in my mind, that's just an excuse to come again in a few months' time. Would like to try the bar menu at some point, or the Sunday dinner, and the afternoon tea sounds particularly nice.

More information on the St David's Hotel:

Disclosure: I was invited to sample the menu, all food was complimentary (minus one extra dessert!) but all opinions are my own.


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