A taste of France in Cardiff – Restaurant review: Côte Brasserie – Mill Lane, Cardiff

Last Friday evening, I visited Côte Brasserie (Cardiff Central) on Mill Lane, Cardiff for a meal with my friend Nathan.

One of over 70 branches of the French restaurant chain in the UK, the Cardiff Central restaurant is fairly large, spanning two floors, but as the tables are close together and the room is warmly lit, the atmosphere still feels quite intimate.

Like most branches, the Cardiff Central restaurant resembles a typical Parisian bistro, with striped awning hanging over the restaurant front, an elaborate tiled floor and cosy, low-hanging lighting.

Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, the menu offers classic brasserie dishes with a modern, innovative twist, including steak frites, moules marinières, corn-fed chicken from rural Brittany and tuna Niçoise. in addition to a fortnightly changing specials menu.

The restaurant was rather busy when we arrived at around 7pm and it filled up even more as the evening went on; we took this as a good sign!

Sourdough baguette with butter

Sourdough baguette with butter

As we pondered over the menu, we shared a freshly baked sourdough baguette with butter (£1.95), served warm in a basket, alongside a portion of piquant mixed olives (£3.50); spicy marinated olives with rose harissa, caper berries and cornichons. The bread was fresh and moreish and the olives were delicious, although it was a shame they weren’t pitted.


Spicy piquant olives

To start, I ordered the warm tiger prawn salad (£7.75), consisting of sautéed tiger prawns with chilli, garlic, lemon, parsley and cherry tomatoes served with frisée and baby gem salad. The tiger prawns were big and flavoursome and the juices from the dish soaked into the salad, giving it a tasty garlicky flavour. If I was to visit Côte Brasserie in the future, I would order this again without even looking at the starter menu – it was that good!

Warm tiger prawn salad

Meanwhile, Nathan chose the steak tartare (£6.95) to start – a traditional French dish of finely chopped raw beef mixed with shallots, capers, cornichons, egg yolk and cognac, served with two slices of freshly baked bread.

He wasn’t overly keen on this dish, although I don’t think he really knew what to expect when he’d ordered it. I tried some and I wasn’t too fond of the cold, raw texture of the beef, but I think this had more to do with personal preference than with the dish not being up to standard.

Steak tartare

Moving on to our main courses, I went for the 7oz fillet steak (£18.95) served with Normandy butter with garlic, lemon and parsley (+£1.20), watercress and crispy frites (the French name for French fries).

I ordered my steak medium-rare, but it was definitely more on the rare side. It still tasted great though, so I didn’t bother sending it back to the kitchen; it was so tender and it had that delicious, chargrilled taste – I couldn’t bear to part with it!

I fell in love with the garlic butter at first taste. With a smooth texture, it tasted strongly of garlic and parsley and went  just as well with the frites as it did with the steak.

Steak and frites

To accompany my steak and frites, I ordered a side of creamed spinach (£3.50) on our waiter’s recommendation. The spinach tasted really fresh and the sauce was rich and creamy, with a subtle hint of cheese – I can see why our waiter recommended this to us!

Creamed spinach

Nathan chose the fish parmentier (£12.50) for his main course; cod, haddock, prawn and salmon in a creamy white wine and leek sauce, topped with mash potato and Gruyère cheese. This looked and smelt amazing and it seemed to go down pretty well with him, although he did find it a little too cheesey. I’d definitely order this if I were to visit Côte Brasserie again.

Fish parmientier

In addition to the fish parmientier, Nathan ordered a side of French beans (£2.95). These looked fairly big and tasty.

French green beans

We were feeling pretty full at this point, but again our waiter managed to tempt us with his recommendations, this time for dessert.

I ordered the crème caramel (£4.95), a traditional French dessert consisting of a firm vanilla pod custard topped with dark caramel and served with fresh cream.

It tasted ten times better than the crème caramels I’m used to eating out of plastic pots from the supermarket. I could really detect the cream; it contrasted beautifully with the sweet caramel.

Crème caramel

Fancying something with nuts in it, Nathan opted for the praline chocolate crêpe (£5.95); a traditional French pancake filled with hazelnut chocolate sauce (like Nutella, but better!), dusted with icing sugar and topped with caramelized banana and crème Chantilly.

This looked and tasted amazing (I was lucky enough to get a taste!), although I think it would be too filling for me to eat as part of a three-course meal.

Praline chocolate crêpe

We both had a great time at Côte Brasserie and would definitely return to the restaurant again. Although some of the dishes seemed a little on the pricey side, the food was delicious and the service was very attentive. If you’re watching the pennies, visit the restaurant from Monday to Friday between 12-7pm to enjoy two courses for £9.95 or three courses for £11.90.

Côte Brasserie Cardiff Central
10-11 Mill Lane
CF10 1FL
(029) 2034 3810
Visit Côte Brasserie’s website

I was invited to Côte Brasserie as a guest and our food and drinks were provided complimentary. However, I was not obliged to write a positive review. 



  1. August 10, 2015 / 11:37 am

    All the food looks great. I wouldn’t mind an evening out in the French style 🙂

  2. August 10, 2015 / 11:54 am

    I’ve only eaten at Cote once and that was the one down the bay. You’re pictures are making me want to go back soon. Looks tasty. The prawn starter looks delicious and right up my street!

    M xx

    The CSI Girls

  3. August 10, 2015 / 1:42 pm

    Love the idea of dipping your frites into garlic butter – sounds delicious.

  4. August 10, 2015 / 3:35 pm

    Loved the review, quite an enjoyable read however would have been nice to know about your drink pairings as well.

  5. August 10, 2015 / 4:19 pm

    ooh this sounds lovely and right by where I work which is handy. I’ve never been to any of their branches. The lunch menu sounds like a good budget option x

  6. October 15, 2015 / 3:30 pm

    What a great looking menu and the price isn’t too bad either – I would definitely pop in if I was in the area. x

    • October 17, 2015 / 9:06 pm

      Definitely worth a look if you ever visit Cardiff 🙂

  7. October 15, 2015 / 4:43 pm

    I really liked our cote, I would definitely go again.
    From what you had, id choose the prawns, steak, and crepe…. Wow….they look delicious!!

    • October 17, 2015 / 9:05 pm

      The prawns were lovely! I wish I had ordered the crepe but the creme caramel was nice.

  8. October 15, 2015 / 7:22 pm

    I cannot believe that you had 3 courses! That prawn salad looks amaaaazing – I never saw it when I went to Cote last time. I must head back!

    • October 17, 2015 / 9:05 pm

      I think it was part of their new menu. I love prawns, these were soo good!

  9. October 15, 2015 / 8:35 pm

    We love cote, we go for breakfast frequently. There lunch time deals are great too! And so so filling lol x

    • October 17, 2015 / 8:58 pm

      Ooh, haven’t been for breakfast before! Or lunch for that matter. I must sort this soon!

  10. October 15, 2015 / 11:42 pm

    This menu looks delicious. I have never been to a Cote before.

    • October 17, 2015 / 8:57 pm

      I’ve only ever been to this one and one in London by Tower Bridge, but both were pretty good!

  11. October 16, 2015 / 1:51 pm

    The praline crepe looks amazing and those olives look like perfection. I need to come to Cardiff!

    • October 17, 2015 / 8:56 pm

      You should 🙂 We have so many great restaurants!

  12. October 16, 2015 / 9:27 pm

    Oh my goodness, this food looks seriously delicious. I need to visit Cardiff more. Kaz x

  13. October 16, 2015 / 10:11 pm

    Oh so much fantastic looking food here, I am hungry now! I love the look of the creme caramel. Not sure I would have been brave enough to try the steak tartare though!

    • October 17, 2015 / 8:51 pm

      No, I tried some and it really wasn’t to my liking. Not my thing!

  14. October 16, 2015 / 11:44 pm

    I’m not a massive fan of French food but some of these looks pretty yummy. They’re very cheap too.

  15. Emma
    October 19, 2015 / 4:44 pm

    I’m not sure I could have managed the Steak Tartare either. It really is a personal taste issue x

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