Where to eat in Bath: The Green Rocket, Yak Yeti Yak, Chapel Arts Café

Bath_eatsWhen it came to choosing places to eat while visiting Bath, we were spoiled for choice. Well known for being a foodie destination, the city attracts restaurants serving up just about every cuisine you can think of.  Our limited time meant we had to be selective about the places we ate, so we ended up choosing places that we felt offered something unique – and weren’t disappointed.

We made a beeline for our first lunch stop as soon as we stepped off the train; Chapel Arts Café was conveniently located halfway between the station and our hotel. Although it’s right in the centre of town, you’d be forgiven for skipping past this quaint little vegetarian joint, which is hidden away in the basement of St James’s Memorial Hall on Lower Borough Walls.

delicious-the-farmerVenturing in from the stone steps outside, the space is a hip and cosy combo of mismatched tables and chairs, gig posters, chalkboard menus and artsy knick-knacks. The café’s signature is its wood fired flatbreads, so naturally we both opted for one. Mine was was topped with a perfect balance of goats cheese, caramelised onion and roasted veg, while Amy’s was a spicy concoction of houmous, harissa, salsa and tabbouleh. Both were delicious, and combined with a coffee and a cuppa came to £20 – not bad for a wholesome lunch in one of England’s poshest cities.

This filled us up nicely until our evening meal at the hotel (I could write many more paragraphs on how incredible that was, but you should probably just check out the review I wrote here).

Lunch at Thermae Bath Spa’s Springs Café the next day took relaxed dining to a new level. Straight from the steam rooms and into the light, airy eatery, we sat eating serrano ham sandwiches and an olive salad in our robes and slippers, surrounded by similarly dressed down guests. The salted caramel and chocolate cheesecake at the end of the meal was undoubtedly the highlight – an extra slice of indulgence that I couldn’t resist in the midst of a seriously decadent day.

yakyetiyakBy dinnertime we were feeling adventurous, so decided to mix things up with a cuisine neither of us had tried before: Nepalese, courtesy of Yak Yeti Yak. Similar to Indian food but switching the blistering heat of traditional curry houses with subtle and smoky spice combinations, it was exciting to visit a restaurant where veggie food received equal billing to the meaty choices. Our mains consisted of Chyauko Tarkari (stir-fried mushrooms with earthy spices and tomato) and Pork Sag Aloo (slow cooked with potato, spinach and coriander). Both, however, were outshined by their irresistible accompaniment, Musurko Dal (mildly spiced orange lentils and garlic infused vegan ghee). It was so moreish that we had to order an extra portion.

We probably saved the best for last by squeezing in a visit to award winning café The Green Rocket before catching our train back to Cardiff. This vegetarian and vegan wonderland serves up an unpretentious array of fresh, healthy and original recipes, from satisfying mains to tempting home baked cakes.

IMG_7564IMG_7542 IMG_7545Everything on the lunchtime menu sounded good, but our individual choices really stood out to our respective tastebuds. Amy’s mezze offered a refreshingly different variety of light bites, from the mild and smooth baba ghanoush to the warm and soft dukkah flatbread. It looked incredible, but nothing could distract me from my awesome mushroom, sundried tomato and basil rice burger. Combined with halloumi and a cool green salad, even the stubbornest hamburger purists couldn’t have turned down this animal-free winner.

There were so many highly rated restaurants in Bath that we couldn’t possibly visit them all, and we’re already hungry for our next trip back to this flavoursome city. We’d love to hear about your foodie recommendations in a comment or a tweet @Creative_Hacks.

Matt

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Café Pure: guilt-free indulgent food in Cardiff Bay

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If healthy eating summons up images of protein-guzzling hulks downing their powdery shakes during a relentless gym sesh, it’s time you paid Café Pure a visit. This Cardiff Bay eatery has a varied menu of super nutritious breakfasts and lunches, packing barrowloads of flavour into every portion.

Good health and good eating are combined here. Every meal on the menu is accompanied by a clear indication of its nutritional information, with a massive grid at the back indicating the presence of common allergens. If only all restaurants were this considerate.

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This labeling system also means you won’t necessarily feel guilted into going for the salad after a particularly gluttonous Christmas period – more or less everything on the menu makes for a well-balanced treat. That said, salad was the first choice for both of us. I’m not usually one to go for leafy greens over a burger or pizza, but the Paleo Fuel option mixed up loads of my favourite things in one massive salad – topped with a tuna steak and served with a sweet teriyaki dressing on the side, it was seriously scrummy.

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Amy’s Superfood salad with tofu and ‘Café Pure Sauce’ (a surprisingly nice blend of berries and balsamic vinegar) went down just as well – it’s always refreshing to eat somewhere with an abundance of choice for vegans, and she wasn’t disappointed here.

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Both our meals were washed down with vitamin packed drinks – the Berry Beauty smoothie and Tutti Fruitti juice jar were filled with anti-oxidants and meant we both had the majority of our five a day in a single delicious drink.


Feeling brave after such a wholesome lunch, we both decided to try one of Café Pure’s signatures before leaving: wheatgrass shots, squeezed from blades of the plant grown on-site and served with a juicy slice of orange to counteract the bitterness. Each shot contains the same nutritional clout of 2.5 pounds of dark green vegetables. It wasn’t the tastiest of tipples – Amy definitely wasn’t keen on the earthy tang or potency – but it did leave me feeling energised and ready to face the bracing Bay weather outside.

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A quote on the back wall of Café Pure reads “You are what you eat, so don’t be fast, cheap, easy or fake.” A visit here means you can fill yourself up with a nutritionally balanced meal made from fresh ingredients, prepared with care and full of natural flavours.

Matt

Street food at The Depot, Cardiff

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This time a year ago, street food in Cardiff was more likely to be a greasy kebab on Chippy Lane than gourmet grub made from local ingredients. Now it seems like you can’t go to any big event in town without a yummy mobile eatery being present too.

Something Creatives have jumped on the back of this popular pop-up trend in launching Street Food Cardiff in a disused warehouse on Dumballs Road – better known as The Depot. We took a trip down to the hippest foodie spot in town for their Thanksgiving themed evening. The queue was long – we waited over an hour to get in from the cold – but it was definitely worth the wait.

Hand-painted wooden signs, mismatched furniture, an abundance of fairy lights and sculptures of trees, along with hundreds of hungry people and 11 food stands, transformed the metal shell into a colourful street dining extravaganza. Follow our footsteps below!

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All the cool kids in Cardiff have heard about SFC by now, so it was a bit of a wait to get in

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Once inside it was difficult to miss all the street food stalls, but these signs pointed us in the right direction

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These happy punters can vouch for that!

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This boutique bar was serving up cocktails from a converted caravan

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London restaurant Burger & Lobster made their Cardiff debut at the event ahead of their first Welsh restaurant opening

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Bangkok Café‘s fragrant and creamy vegan Thai pumpkin curry. More please!

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The Brûlée Bar proved pretty popular for its fancy blowtorched puddings

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…and thank you, The Depot, for a fun and filling evening!

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Sunday stroll at Riverside Market, Cardiff

MillStadSunday is the perfect day for hitting local markets. The fridge is empty, there’s nothing on telly worth watching and, as you’ve not got work to tend to, you may as well spend a few hours strolling outdoors.

Riverside Market in Cardiff has been operating since 1998, bringing fresh produce and exclusive local wares to visitors for over 15 years. It’s not just the goods on offer that make Riverside a treat – it’s the smells (mediterranean, Indian, sugary, earthy), the colours (vibrant organic veggies, deep amber spices, opaque ruby red jams) and the sounds (buskers, jolly traders, the occasional gossiper).

We went to Riverside Market on a chilled Sunday morning in September and took a few photos of the Cardiff landmark. We can’t promise that you won’t be tempted to attend (and hey, if you see us there, come say hello over a cronut!).

SceneTo set the scene: river (check), market stalls (check), punters (check)

PiesMr Nice Pie‘s offerings living up to the name

PastaSuper-bright and completely natural fresh pasta from Casa del Cymru – zingy!

FlowersA beautiful bunch of fresh flowers pulled together by The Flower Hive (these guys know how to match colours)

BriochePillowy, sticky brioche oozing with blueberry sweetness

MimimmmnomOh, and they are vegan! Happy Amy! (Thanks Wigmores of Monmouth bakery)

CronutTa-da: the mighty Cup and Cake cronut! So so sugary, so worth the wait…

Mattmarket…as that big grin confirms. The Caffeine Kid‘s coffee (washing the sweet beast down) is 100 times better than any high street cafe brew

BombsveganBig thumbs up to the amount of vegan produce on sale. These beetroot bombs from The Parsnipship are naturally neon

BreadIf you like speciality bread, you’ll love the San Francisco by Riverside Sourdough. Malty, edgy and robust

SpiceSpice of Life, one of the best spice shops in Cardiff, bring a mini version of their Roath spice and herb mecca to Riverside

OliveOlive Bar’s wooden buckets were bulging with plump goodies. If only you had smell-o-vision…

There is a real sense of community that buzzes through the bustling riverside street of stalls and marquees. If you go once and return again next time it’s in town, you’re bound to recognise someone or be recognised by somebody who was there the previous week. In cities, this is really hard to come by – yet another reason why Cardiff ticks our boxes.

Have you been to Riverside Market in Cardiff, or another market worth recommending? Get in touch @Creative_Hacks or leave us a comment below.

Small city adventure in Llandaff, Cardiff

Summer holidays are off the cards for us this year – it’s been a crazy few months with both of us leaving education and starting full time jobs, so we decided that we’d save up our collective pocket money for an adventure abroad next year instead.

We might not be able to afford plane tickets or stays at fancy hotels, but there are a few places that we haven’t explored just a short ride from home. Like Llandaff, for example – the “city within a city” that’s home to an impressive cathedral, some cosy cafés and Roald Dahl’s childhood memories.

Yep, the Roald Dahl – he was born here in 1916 and became notorious with the locals after putting a dead mouse in a jar of gobstoppers at the local sweetshop. That sweetshop is now a Chinese takeaway, but the story lives on in his autobiography Boy, and there’s a plaque on the building to make sure no one ever forgets Llandaff’s most mischievous resident.

We spent our afternoon wandering up and down the small high street, pottering around thoughtfully arranged gift shops and stopping to refuel with tea before marvelling at the colossal Cathedral and its well-kept garden. It goes to show that anyone can have a lot of fun simply by hopping on a train and exploring a local spot that, for one reason or another, had escaped their radar until now.

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Amy sipping tea in Garlands

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…where they also serve up delicious lunches, like this super fresh salad

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This cute little gift shop, Halls of Llandaff, stocks crafty cards and homeware

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Me trying to be a tour guide

llandaffcemetary llandaffsteeplellandaffstepsAmy hanging out in the grounds of Llandaff cathedral

Regardless of where you live, there’s probably someplace cool nearby that you haven’t checked out yet. Next time you get the urge for adventure, try being a tourist a couple of miles from home – it did the trick for us.

Matt