Multi-national hotel chains and locally sourced food and drink produce don’t usually go hand-in-hand, but at the Hilton Hotel Cardiff, you can enjoy a taste of authentic Welsh cuisine without so much as stepping foot outside the hotel.
Celebrating its 10th birthday next year, this lavish four-star hotel sits opposite Cardiff Castle in the heart of the city centre, just a two-minute walk away from St. David’s Centre and Cardiff’s Victorian shopping arcades, and around a ten-minute walk away from the Principality Stadium.
Over the last three years, around £2 million has been spent on renovating bedrooms, executive lounges and meeting rooms in addition to launching a new restaurant offering ‘local and British classics’, Grey. The Metropole Lounge bar and Costa Coffee provide a contemporary space for socialising or meeting colleagues over coffee or drinks, and the hotel further benefits from a 20-metre heated indoor pool, spa, sauna, steam room and beauty treatment rooms.
Our room at Hilton Hotel Cardiff
Our executive double room offered unrivalled views of Cardiff Castle and the nearby civic centre. Swanky and spacious, it bore all the hallmarks of an upscale hotel room, from the over-sized desk and large flat-screen TV, to the plush kingsize bed and comfy armchairs.
Although the washed-out beige and pink tiles made the en-suite bathroom feel a little outdated, the ambient lighting and fancy Crabtree and Evelyn toiletries helped to retain a luxury feel.
Unfortunately, the hotel doesn’t offer WiFi as standard, but it can be purchased at a cost of £15 for 24 hours and if you’re a Hilton Honors member, you’ll get free WiFi as long as you book directly.
A range of rooms are available including guest rooms, suites and executive rooms, priced from £85 (excluding breakfast) for an October stay via Booking.com.
Grey Restaurant at Hilton Hotel Cardiff
With Hilton Hotel Cardiff’s Grey Restaurant offering a menu crammed with ingredients sourced from some of Wales’ top independent producers, you don’t have to leave the hotel to experience local cuisine. In fact, Grey Restaurant is just as popular a restaurant choice among locals as it is among guests and while some Hilton Hotels have their own in-house restaurants, Grey is independently run and unique to the Cardiff branch.
Established in late 2016 in place of Razzi Restaurant, the restaurant prides itself upon ‘local and British classics’ and after sampling the menu for myself on several occasions, I’d say that’s a pretty accurate description of the seasonal dishes you can expect to find on it.
Carefully crafted by Head Chef, Mark Freeman (formerly of Laguna Restaurant at Park Plaza Hotel), the menu is founded upon traditional Welsh and British favourites made using ingredients sourced from independent producers like Trealy Farm Charcuterie, Caws Cenarth, Pant ys Gawn, Cefn Mawr Farm, Ty Gwyn Cider and Penderyn distillery. Welsh lamb and beef is sourced from Douglas WIllis Butcher, while Welsh Coast Fish is the chosen fresh fish supplier. Taste some of the best food and drink Wales has to offer from the comfort of Grey’s casual-yet-classy dining space, as you people-watch through the silver beaded curtains covering the floor-to-ceiling windows.
Highlights of our meal included calamari, Trealy Farm Charcuterie chorizo, potato and chicory salad with sweet chilli sauce and creme fraiche (£7); Eccentric Gin-glazed pork ribs slow-cooked with toasted sesame seeds and red cabbage slaw (£12); and Grey’s knickerbocker glory (£7), consisting of sweet berry jelly, moist sponge, panna cotta and white chocolate ice cream.
The drinks list was perfectly succinct, with wines from throughout Europe, Australia, South America and Israel, ranging from £18 – £65 per bottle. Given Grey’s focus on locally sourced produce, however, it would be lovely to see them offering some of the wonderful wines produced by the 30+ vineyards in Wales, including the likes of Llanerch Vineyard, Glyndwr Vineyard, Montgomery Vineyard and White Castle Vineyard.
Where gin is concerned, Grey has developed a ginspired collection of cocktails using gin produced by Llantrisant-based Eccentric Gin, originally developed in the cellar of a 200-year-old building using natural spring water sourced from the area.
To book a table at Grey Restaurant, please visit Grey’s website or call +44 29 2064 6400.
Breakfast like a King
Served from 7am to 10am on weekdays and from 7.30am to 11am on weekends, breakfast at Grey Restaurant can be added to your room rate or paid-for at the hotel at a cost of £17.95 (although package deals are often available).
Breakfast includes an unlimited selection of hot and cold foods including a hot cooked breakfast buffet, cereals, fruits, pastries, bread, pancakes, yoghurt and fresh fruit juices. You can also order a variety of freshly cooked breakfast dishes from Grey’s dedicated breakfast menu, including eggs Benedict and omelettes.
Eat like a local in Cardiff city centre
If you’d prefer to leave the hotel to explore the local food and drink scene first-hand, rest assured that Hilton Hotel Cardiff is perfectly located so that once you’ve finished eating your way across the city, you can practically roll back to the comfort of your hotel room.
No trip to nearby Cardiff Castle would be complete without stopping off at Pettigrew Tearooms, based in the West Lodge at the main entrance to Bute Park on Castle Street. Named after Mr. Andrew Pettigrew, Head Gardener to the Marquess of Bute at Cardiff Castle between 1873 and 1903, this quaint little tearoom offers a tempting menu featuring Welsh cooked breakfasts with laverbread scones, sandwiches, light meals and cakes. All of the bread and cakes are either baked on-site or at the nearby Pettigrew Bakeries on Cowbridge Road East, Canton.
At £11.95, the Pettigrew Club Sandwich certainly isn’t cheap but it’s absolutely stuffed with roast chicken, avocado, crispy bacon, free-range boiled egg, tomato and mayo, paired with coleslaw, side salad and crisps. Besides, maybe it’ll give you enough energy to climb the 50 steep stone steps leading up to the Castle’s Norman Keep (not to mention the additional steps beyond the entrance)!
The old Victorian arcades opposite Cardiff Castle contain some of the capital’s most cherished cafes, coffee shops and restaurants, including French and Welsh cafe and cheesemonger, Madame Fromage in Castle Arcade. If you’re looking for the best Welsh rarebit in Cardiff, there’s a good chance you might find it here…
…and don’t even get me started on the Welsh lamb cawl!
Fancy spending the afternoon drinking in a hidden wine bar? Also in Castle Arcade, Wright’s Wines is the little sister of Carmarthenshire-based food legend, Wright’s Food Emporium. Open from Wednesday to Saturday from 12pm – 6pm, Wright’s Wines is tucked away on the balcony of the arcade – so hidden that some of the locals still haven’t realised it’s there!
Just around the corner from Hilton Hotel Cardiff, you’ll find Cardiff Market, home to some of my favourite local producers and the place to go for a cheap bite to eat in the city centre. Pick up some Welsh cakes or bara brith from Cardiff Bakestones, treat yourself to some Welsh cheese from The Cheese Pantry and stop off at Ffrwnes for the perfect wood-fired pizza.
Credit: Jamie Edwards, Explore With Ed
Heading out to a restaurant for dinner? Top city centre choices for traditional Welsh and British food made using locally sourced ingredients include The Potted Pig on St. Mary Street, Laguna Restaurant at Park Plaza Hotel on Greyfriars Road or for a dining experience a little less ordinary, The Clink – a fine dining restaurant based at HMP Cardiff on Knox Road (word of warning – book in advance!)
If you really want to get to know Cardiff’s food and drink scene and have some free leisure time during your stay, consider booking a Cardiff food tour with Loving Welsh Food tours. The Cardiff tasting tour runs every Friday and Saturday from 10.30am until 2.30pm and costs £40 per person.
To book a table at Grey, please visit Grey Restaurant’s website or call +44 29 2064 6400. To book a room at Hilton Hotel Cardiff, please click here.
Hilton Hotel Cardiff
Tel: +44 (0)29 2064 6300
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