Entering the Sizzle and Grill steakhouse in Canton, Cardiff, feels just like walking into a cosy American diner. Wedged in between the popular Purple Poppadom and the Meat Market, the restaurant’s bright tacky sign and enticing ‘Man v Food’-style challenges advertised in the window invoke the essence of the American culture of excess common to so many US food outlets. The interior is long and not too wide, yet not too narrow, with wooden tables and chairs sitting on a worn wooden floor. The walls are adorned with pictures of past guests tucking into their meals and it is warm and cosy, with a delectable aroma of char-grilled meat wafting in from the open-plan kitchen.
Sizzle and Grill was opened two years ago by a local man who used to enjoy having a decent steak in Taurus in the city centre and Corfu by Night in Canton, after many nights-out in town with friends. When both steakhouses shut down, he felt there was nowhere to go for a proper steak, observing that food pubs “didn’t appreciate the care a steak needs.” Having previously worked in catering for 25 years, he vowed to open his own steakhouse where people could enjoy a good quality steak, and Sizzle and Grill was born.
My partner and I approach the bar and we are promptly shown to a table. The waitress hands us each a menu, and takes the time to point to the different sections for Starters and Mains, telling us we can request a dessert menu later if required. The restaurant is quite busy considering it is only 7.30pm, and there are only two waitresses serving, so it is great that they still manage to provide such a good level of customer service. She takes our drinks orders and brings them to the table, leaving us to deliberate over the menu.
The menu offers a selection of starters, including buffalo wings, home-made soup, deconstructed prawn cocktail and more. The Mains on offer are just as varied, with options consisting of different cuts of steak, a full rack of ribs, roast chicken, gammon, cod and chips, mushroom risotto and pizza, with crocodile on offer as a ‘special’ dish (although I’m not sure that’s what I’d call it!)
For starters, we both order the buffalo wings (£4.99 each) and for the main I opt for the surf and turf (£15.99), whereas my guest chooses the 24oz mixed grill (£17.99). The starters take around 15 minutes to arrive at our table, which gives us plenty of time to read the posters displaying the different Man. v. Food challenges on offer.
|69oz mixed grill – have you got the stomach for it? (Copyright: SizzleAndGrill)
Inspired by American food series Man v Food, which follows host Adam Richman as he travels the USA devouring mountains of food against the race of time, the challenges include a 69oz mixed grill (£24.95) which is served free with a complimentary t-shirt if you manage to clear your plate.
Other challenges have humorous names, like the Quadruple Bypass Burger. Consisting of 4 half-pound steak burgers, layers of cheese, bacon, onion rings, lettuce, beef tomatoes, mushrooms and a warm ciabatta bun, this might be the most expensive burger you’ve ever had, at £17.99 – although it does come with a side salad and chips, if that’s any consolation.
|The Quadruple Bypass Burger – a heart attack on a plate (Copyright: Sizzle and Grill)
Likewise, the Widow Maker involves demolishing 24 inches of pork sausage with or without cheese, onions and salad in a large French baguette. At the front of the restaurant, a Wall of Shame and a Wall of Fame bear the photos of diners who have taken on a food challenge. It’s no surprise that the Wall of Fame is rather sparsely populated, whilst the Wall of Shame is brimming with the faces of those who have been defeated.
|The Widow Maker – that’s one big sausage (Copyright: Sizzle and Grill)
Our starters of buffalo wings are brought to the table, served with side salad and a cool cheese and fiery hot dip. The presentation was excellent and the serving generous, although I personally was a bit disappointed that the chicken skin wasn’t crispy. The salad and dips tasted really flavoursome and fresh, which could have something to do with them being made ‘from scratch’ every morning. When we finish eating, it doesn’t take the waitress long to come over and collect our empty plates, telling us our main is on its way.
Five minutes later she returns with our main course, served on hot plates and smelling delicious. My guest’s 24oz mixed grill lived up to its description, including an 8oz steak, 6oz pork chop, 8oz gammon, 4oz sausage a fried egg, mushrooms and chips. He managed to clear the plate within about 15 minutes, which isn’t unusual for him, but he was really impressed with the quality of the meat he was served.
Having done some research into Sizzle and Grill, I know that having a good source of high quality meat is important to the restaurant owner. According to the website, Sizzle and Grill uses beef from traditional breeds reared in the old-fashioned method here in Wales, which may appeal to those local-food lovers amongst you.
My surf and turf featured an 8oz rump steak with crayfish tails, crunchy side salad and chips. I can honestly say that I have never had such a good steak as this in a restaurant, and the steak knife sticking into the side is a lovely finishing touch to the display. I ask for it to be served medium-rare, and it is a gorgeous pink colour inside with the juices leaking out as I cut into it. The meat is so tender, I hardly have to put in any effort to cut through it.
I am equally as pleased to find that the chips are home-made and cooked to perfection, and although I usually leave my mushrooms, these ones have a rich taste which left me wanting more. The only negative comment I could make about the dish is in regard to the crayfish tails. They were presented elegantly in a small, tin bucket, but were rather chewy when bit into, and their coldness clashed with the warmth of the steak, so I ended up leaving them.
Despite not enjoying the crayfish tails, my dining experience at Sizzle and Grill is one that I will remember for a long time. The food is fresh, local, and of a high quality, and the chef clearly knows what he’s doing with steak. I know I’ll be coming here again and again, and I would recommend it to anyone looking for a decent steak after a night-out, just like the owner intends. Although I don’t think I’ll ever have the stomach to take on any of the food challenges myself, it would be fun to come here for a birthday party and be able to egg somebody else on.
*Sizzle and Grill is open Tue-Thu from 6pm – 10.30pm, and Fri & Sat from 5pm – 11pm. Closed on Mon and Sun.
Sizzle and Grill
185 Cowbridge Road East
(02920) 373 116
This restaurant has now closed down.