Celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, MILGI is a vegan restaurant and bar situated on Cardiff’s City Road, traditionally home to an eclectic mix of international food outlets.Named as a runner-up in various categories of the Observer Food Monthly Awards over the past four years, MILGI embraces the health and ethical benefits of eating a sustainable, plant-based diet.
Owners and sisters, Gabrielle and Rebecca Kelly are committed to using organic produce from farms and growers they know and trust and the slow-living lifestyle is at the heart of everything they do. They enjoy foraging for ingredients like seabuckthorn, samphire, nettles, herbs and wild mushrooms to incorporate into their dishes. In addition they grow a number of plants in the restaurant, including the mung beans. I went along to MILGI one evening recently to sample some of their dishes, along with The Plate Licked Clean blog and Teen Veggies and Vegans.
Inside, the restaurant has a rustic, ethnic vibe with worn wooden flooring, a bar decorated in retro blue tiling, blackboard menus and plenty of plants dotted around.
To begin, I ordered a Blood Orange Maria cocktail (£6.50) from the daily specials menu. Zesty and sharp with a spicy kick, this was a concoction of home made chilli syrup, tequila, lime and freshly squeezed blood orange juice. The blood orange has a very short season, but MILGI brings this cocktail back year after year as it’s so popular with its customers.
To start, we nibbled on homemade root vegetable crisps with beetroot houmous and crunchy, toasted sourdough from Nata and Co. in Splott (a sample of some of the foods that feature in the Moroccan Platter, £6.95).
We then sipped on a glass of Kombucha (£4). Brewed on site, this small batch of fermented tea made using a combination of green, red and black tea and sugar contains probiotics that have a range of health benefits such as improving the functioning of the liver, the immune system and the digestive system.
This tasted quite aromatic and herb-y and it definitely left me feeling more awake.
This was followed up by the Indian Street Food Tray (£6.95), a delicious selection of tikka paneer, aubergine & pea pakora, chickpea & coriander ball, raita, onion seed chutney and toasted coconut perfect for lunch, as a starter or for sharing.
I really enjoyed this; there was a such good variety of tastes and textures that I didn’t actually miss the presence of meat in the dish.
We then tucked into one of MILGI’s signature dishes, the Tortilla Stack (£9.95); crispy blue corn tortillas, spicy roast potatoes, refried beans, melted Welsh cheddar and sweet mango salsa, topped with fresh lettuce. I couldn’t get enough of the tortilla and melted cheese and the mango salsa was a tasty alternative to the spicy tomato variety I’m only too used to eating. I don’t think the lettuce was really necessary here as the dish was great in itself, but maybe some smaller leaves would’ve worked well.
Our next dish was the Wholefood Bowl (£6.50), a colourful combination of beetroot brown rice, steamed kale with nigella seed, celeriac, ginger & pumpkin seed cashew slaw, blood orange and dried white mulberries. This dish really surprised me because I’m not a big lover of anything that resembles salad, but it really stands out in my mind when I think back over all the dishes I tried at MILGI.
The Wholefood Bowl was so vibrant and visually appealing. I love blood orange and I never knew it could make such a difference to a salad, but the kale had to be my favourite thing on my plate (or in my bowl, so to speak). The nigella seeds gave it an irresistible flavour and I just couldn’t get enough of it. I’m don’t really like beetroot – it’s the earthy taste that I don’t get on with – so I wasn’t so keen on the beetroot rice.
Before we moved on to dessert we had a short break, during which I sipped on a fruity Berry Collins cocktail (£6.50) made using fresh berries and gin – two of my favourite things. This was so refreshing, just looking at the photo of it makes me thirsty.
For dessert, we were lucky enough to sample a dish that Milgi were trialling for their Spring menu. Mahalabeah is a Middle Eastern custard made using almond milk, topped with crushed pistachio and almonds. It’s not quite as thick as traditional custard as we know it and it tasted pleasantly sweet, while the crushed nuts added texture to the dish. Mahalabeah definitely gets the thumbs-up from me!
I enjoyed my evening at MILGI and I was positively surprised by how tasty plant-based food can be. As a meat lover, it wouldn’t be my first restaurant of choice for an evening meal but it’d be ideal for lunch and I would 100% recommend it to any vegans, vegetarians or anyone following a clean eating diet. I would go back there just for the Indian Street Food Tray!
To round off their 10th anniversary year, MILGI will be throwing a celebratory birthday weekend feast under the stars at the end of this summer. The menu will feature no less than ten courses and the event will also boast a cocktail bar and live music. For further details, please visit MILGI’s website.
213 City Road
(029) 2047 3150
I was invited to MILGI as a guest and my food and drinks were provided complimentary. However, I was not obliged to write a positive review.
Do you think you’d like the food at MILGI? Drop me a comment in the box below 🙂