Restaurant review: The Corner House – Caroline Street, Cardiff

There aren’t many pubs in Cardiff city centre dishing up food that could rival some of the city’s leading restaurants, and Caroline Street (known locally as Chippy Lane/Alley) is the last place you’d expect to find one of these hidden gems. However, on my recent visit to The Corner House, perched on the corner of Caroline Street opposite Cardiff Library, I discovered that there’s more to Chippy Lane than overpriced soggy chips and dodgy kebabs. 

Owned by Mitchells and Butlers, The Corner House opened just over five years ago on the former site of popular gay pub, King’s Cross. I went for Christmas dinner here with work a few years ago and the food was pretty mediocre.

Last month, The Corner House underwent a huge refurbishment to create a more youthful, contemporary vibe, whilst preserving the pub’s welcoming feel. The new look comes with a brand new team to match, and a revamped seasonal food menu boasting dishes like Lobster, Crab and Nduja Sausage Linguine and 30 oz split rib steak sharer with bone marrow butter, alongside daily specials and pub classics. 

A fiery Bloody Mary cocktail of Ketel One vodka and homemade tomato juice (£6.95) whet my appetite as I perused the menu, while my guest kept it simple with a pint of Stella Artois (£3.50 approx).

Bloody Mary
To start, a trio of succulent scallops were lightly toasted and topped with crisp, salty pancetta, paired with a fresh butternut squash paste. The scallops are cooked differently and priced accordingly each day, but if I recall rightly, these cost around £8. You might not find the same scallops dish on the menu at The Corner House dependent on when you visit, but after tasting these, I’d be more than happy to work my way through the restaurant’s other scallop concoctions.

Scallops with pancetta
My guest tucked into a dish of golden, lightly battered squid, dusted with salt and Szechuan pepper, paired with a tangy aioli sauce (£5.95). I’m not a huge seafood fan but the hot, crisp batter and the juicy, tender flesh that lay within was difficult even for me to resist; it wasn’t anywhere near as chewy as the squid I’ve tried before.

Calamari
My main course was more like something you’d expect to see on a typical pub food menu – surf n’ turf  – but whereas most pubs would serve this dish with king prawns, The Corner House pushed the boat out with a fresh lobster tail. The steak was a 7oz fillet cut which, despite being cooked medium-well done as opposed to medium-rare as I ordered it, was wonderfully lean and juicy. The steak and lobster were accompanied by extra thick-cut, skin-on chips sprinkled with sea salt, and steamed kale tossed in a citrus-y dressing, with a rich, meaty beef dripping jus served in a dainty silver saucepan.

Unfortunately, this dish no longer appears on the menu (which just goes to show how often the menus are updated), but let’s hope it makes a come-back at some point. I believe it cost around £26 overall, including a supplement for the lobster and beef dripping jus.

Steak with lobster tail and chunky chips - Surf n'turf
Meanwhile, in keeping with the theme of his seafood starter, my guest tucked into two pan-fried sea bass fillets served atop herby Parmentier potatoes, spinach, pancetta and olives in a velvety white wine velouté, topped with fresh parsley (£17.95)

Pan-fried sea bass fillets
With barely any room left for a sweet treat to end our meal, we were relieved to discover the option of a mini dessert with a hot drink (£4.95). I was won over by the Sicilian lemon cheese cake; a soft, fluffy lemon cheesecake on a sweet, biscuity base, the sharpness offset by sweet strawberry sauce.

Lemon cheesecake
Meanwhile, my guest rounded off his meal with a hot, gooey chocolate brownie served with a big scoop of sweet vanilla ice cream and drizzled with dark chocolate sauce. We both agreed that this would normally be too rich to end a three-course meal with, but it was ideal as a smaller portion. 

Chocolate brownie
The Corner House certainly brings a touch of class to Cardiff’s Caroline Street,  although I’m not entirely convinced this is the right place for it. Wedged in between Cardiff’s infamous Chippy Lane and cocktail bar central, Mill Lane, I have some doubts as to whether the restaurant will be attract the discerning clientele it seems to be looking for. I hope to be proven wrong. 

The Corner House
25 Caroline St,
Cardiff
CF10 1FF
www.cornerhousecardiff.co.uk
0
29 2022 8628

I was invited to the Corner House as a guest and our food and drink was provided complimentary; however, I was not obliged to write  positive review.

20 Comments

  1. May 13, 2017 / 5:48 pm

    This all sounds so delicious and I love the look of the scallops. I have mixed feelings about menu’s being updated too often – on one hand, it’s great to try new dishes but on the other, it sucks when your favourite one gets taken off x

    • May 15, 2017 / 3:48 pm

      I know that feeling! The surf n turf was lovely, I would’ve liked to have ordered it again.

  2. May 14, 2017 / 11:34 am

    We’re planning to go to Cardiff for the weekend in a couple of months… So we might have to go and give this place a try!

    • May 15, 2017 / 3:45 pm

      I’m sure you’ll love Cardiff – if you need any more recommendations, just let me know 🙂

    • May 15, 2017 / 3:40 pm

      Thanks 🙂 It was all delicious, from start to finish!

  3. May 15, 2017 / 4:11 pm

    I agree, sounds like the wrong location for their style. Food sounded and looked great! That cheesecake is seriously making me drool!

    • May 23, 2017 / 12:47 pm

      Yes, only time will tell how their new menu and revamp will pan out!

  4. May 15, 2017 / 6:36 pm

    I’ve not been to Cardiff in a longggg time, so should really think about paying the city another visit. The food at the Corner House looks amazing, especially the scallops and the squid starters 🙂 x

    • May 23, 2017 / 12:47 pm

      The scallops were my fave dish, personally 🙂 Went lovely with the pancetta.

    • May 23, 2017 / 12:47 pm

      That tasted great, and it was good that they offered a smaller portion because I couldn’t have eaten a bigger brownie, after my starter and main.

  5. lisalambert38 - Mumdadplus4.co.uk
    May 15, 2017 / 8:43 pm

    The food looks and sounds delicious, I like that the menu changes according to available ingredients and what’s in season it means that no two visits would be the same x

    • May 23, 2017 / 12:46 pm

      I agree. It’s nice to know there’ll always be something new to tempt me!

  6. May 15, 2017 / 10:16 pm

    I really feel like the presentation really takes it to a whole other level when it comes to food. Such a small aspect, but holds major importance!

    • May 23, 2017 / 12:45 pm

      I know what you mean; it almost looks too good to eat – almost, but not quite 😉

  7. Iforonwy
    November 16, 2017 / 6:57 pm

    Gosh! seems there is a lot more to Caroline Street than there used to be! Well done i’r prifdinas!
    Iforonwy

    • November 17, 2017 / 3:39 pm

      Haha, all the chippys and kebab houses are still there too, of course.

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