Earlier this month, I was introduced to Grey, the new restaurant at the Hilton Hotel on Kingsway, Cardiff, in the form of a tantalising thirteen-course mini tasting menu. Overlooking Cardiff Castle, the restaurant gets its name from the order of Franciscan Grey Friar monks that used to live where the restaurant now lies.
Grey opened a few months ago on the ground floor of the Hilton Hotel, replacing what used to be Razzi restaurant. It has a glass front, covered by beaded metal curtains, swanky purple lighting and its own private entrance. Whereas Razzi restaurant was owned by the Hilton Hotels group, Grey is an independently-owned venture, despite its location within the hotel.
Concoted by Head Chef, Mark Freeman (formerly of Laguna Kitchen and Bar at Park Plaza Hotel, Cardiff), Grey’s menu has strong Welsh and British influences, making the most of locally sourced, quality ingredients.
We were invited along to Grey along with some bloggers, to sample some of the highlights of the menu and taste some of Eccentric Gin’s unique range of infused, locally brewed gins.
Here is the run-down of what we ate:
1) Grey’s feel good salad, £6 /£10
A nutritious mix of quinoa, avocado, butternut squash, sweet potato, tender stem broccoli, golden & candy striped beetroots, pomegranate, pumpkin & sunflower seeds, pine nuts, chilli and lime. Surprisingly filling, this is packed full of goodness – you’ll be practically glowing by the time you’ve polished it all off!
2) Crispy beetroot gnocchi, £4
Two perfectly formed soft, doughy balls served with a beetroot puree.
3) Sesame seared tuna loin with wasabi, £10
You cannot beat the meaty taste of pan-seared, raw tuna. This sesame-crusted tuna loin served on a nest of oriental salad, with fiery wasabi, was my favourite course of the evening.
4) Corned beef hash and fried quail egg – actually served with a choice of hen or duck egg (£8/£9)
Corned beef hash is the ideal comfort food for these cold winter months, and a runny fried egg makes for the perfect companion. In a pleasant twist on traditional corned beef hash, melt-in-your-mouth pulled beef was mashed with potato, onions and herbs, rolled into a ball and coated in golden breadcrumbs.
5) Grey’s lobster club sandwich, £18
A beast of a sandwich even for a mini version, this was modelled on the classic club sandwich of chicken, egg, bacon, lettuce, tomato and mayonnaise, the chicken was replaced with succulent, fresh lobster. I’d love to sink my teeth into a full-sized lobster club next time I visit Grey.
6) Dry-aged Cefn Mawr sirloin steak, £20 for 227g
Served pink on a pink Himalayan salt stone, this tender cut of sirloin smelt rich and meaty and it had a juicy, well-seasoned taste. It was paired with a grilled tomato and mushroom in a creamy, cheddar cheese sauce.
7) Ty Gywn cider-steamed mussels, Trealy Farm chorizo, baked ciabatta, £7/£12
This was actually my first time with mussels (yes, really!) I’ve always been a little fussy about certain kinds of seafood and shellfish, so I’ve never given them a chance before. However, I hadn’t been able to find a single flaw with any of the courses Grey had dished up for us so far, so I just went for it. At first I was unsure of the slightly chewy texture of the mussels, but once I tasted the cider-infused broth and the smoky chorizo, I was sold!
8) Locally made pork sausages with caramelised onion mash, £12
A large, butcher-style pork sausage sitting on a mound of tangy caramelised onion mash, surrounded by a pool of thick, meaty gravy.
9) Smoked haddock risotto, £6/10
Another comfort food go-to for chilly December evenings, this smoked haddock risotto with curry oil and spring onions was creamy, flavoursome and satisfying. Usually served with a hen’s egg.
10) Fish finger bruschetta with homemade tartare sauce, £8
A lean fillet of cod coated in a crispy, golden batter, sitting on a slice of bruschetta spread with homemade tartare sauce.
11) Lemon and ricotta cake, £6
Flavoured with vanilla mascarpone and rosemary syrup, the sweet, lemon-y taste of this cake was balanced well with the smooth, neutral mascarpone.
12) Nutella gnocchi
Yes, you heard right. Nutella gnocchi; two balls of freshly made gnocchi filled with rich Nutella, in a bitter dark chocolate sauce. Gone in seconds.
13) 5$ shake, £8
To round off a sensational mini tasting menu at Grey, we slurped on 5$ shakes; a refreshing combination of vanilla ice cream, Jack Daniels whiskey, Amaretto, mint and Amaretto cookies, drizzled with chocolate sauce.
My friend Sarah and I were more than impressed with our first visit to Grey, and I’m delighted to say that I’ve already been back for more, accompanied by a colleague. I had the potato and leek soup with Caerphilly cheese and crab Welsh rarebit to start, followed by the tuna steak for main. As expected, it was amazing and I’m already planning my third visit to Grey!
+44 29 2064 6400
I was invited to Grey Cardiff as a guest and our food and drink was provided complimentary; however, I was not obliged to write a positive review.