Cardiff restaurant review: Lilo Grill House, City Road

Cardiff ’s City Road is home to a long list of restaurants which, between them, probably serve just about every cuisine you can think of. There doesn’t seem to be much separating one place from the next, especially when it comes to kebab shops. But this just isn’t the case for Lilo Grill House, situated on a corner towards the end of City Road closest to Cardiff Infirmary.

As the name would suggest, Lilo Grill House serves grilled chicken, meat and vegetables, all served with a choice of rice or chips, salad and naan bread. The food is predominantly Lebanese, with popular starters and side dishes including hummus, tabbouleh mixed olives and stuffed vine leaves (all priced at £2.95 except for hummus, £2.75). It reminds me of another restaurant on City Road which I reviewed back in March – Shaam Nights – although I have to say, I did prefer this to Lilo (and as Shaam Nights is currently #3 restaurant in Cardiff on Tripadvisor, I’m clearly not the only one!)

Inside Lilo, the décor helps to create an authentic Middle Eastern atmosphere, with traditional patterned cloth hanging in a canopy from the ceiling, and even a fake camel wearing a cowboy hat near the entrance (just about visible in centre-right of the above picture).

A wide selection of fresh fruit is on display in a cabinet near the back of the restaurant, helping to promote the many fresh fruit juices that Lilo offers.

Visiting Lilo on a weekday evening, we found the restaurant was relatively busy and mainly occupied by families and large groups of friends, all of whom seemed to be enjoying the relaxed and friendly.

I ordered the chicken shish (£5.85), skewered cubes of chicken breast marinated in garlic, lemon juice and olive oil and cooked over a charcoal grill to create an aromatic, smoky flavour. I order chips as a side and the dish is also served with a salad of iceberg lettuce, sliced onion, diced tomato and cucumber.

My guest goes for the Kufta Kebab (£5.75), skewered, grilled minced lamb with onion and parsley, also served with chips and salad (chips can be replaced with rice if preferable). We decided to share the chicken and the lamb and had a skewer each – a very good decision, indeed! The lamb was extremely tender and tasted delicious cooked over a grill.

Our meals were also served with freshly baked naan bread, not pictured above (what can I say – it was so good, I forgot to take a photo!) Lilo offers excellent value for money, as you can see by the size of these portions.

Downsides of Lilo? It’s certainly worth mentioning that they don’t serve alcohol. For me this isn’t too much of an issue, especially when they serve a good range of fresh fruit juices, but you might want to go elsewhere if you fancy a drink with your meal.

Perhaps more off-putting, though, is Lilo’s food hygiene rating. They were awarded a score of 2 as of October 2013, meaning ‘improvement necessary’. Whilst this is a big step-up from their score of 0 in October 2012, it looks like Lilo still has some way to go here. Personally, I wouldn’t let this stop me from dining at Lilo again unless the score was to decrease, but it could put off plenty of people.

On the whole, Lilo Grill House offers delicious food at a cost to suit even the smallest of budgets. I can see me becoming a regular!

Lilo Grill House
72-74 City Road
CF24 3DD
(029) 2045 0089

Opening hours

Monday – Sunday: 12.00pm – late


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