Restaurant review: Face 11 – Cathays, Cardiff

Recently I was kindly invited to review Face 11, a cocktail bar/restaurant set up last year on Cathays Terrace, Cardiff . I’ve never been to Face 11 before, but I’ve heard very good stories about it (or, more specifically, its burger menu!) and I was excited to finally have the opportunity to try it out for myself.

I visited Face 11  last Tuesday with my friend and fellow foodie, Sarah. Styled as a ski cabin, with ski-ing memorablia and even a snowboard adorning the walls, the interior was cosily heated and made for the perfect getaway on a cold, rainy evening. The traditional Christmas music playing in the background and the uber-modern Christmas tree (pictured below) created a festive finishing touch.

As soon as we arrived we were escorted to a table and offered drinks. After reading Face 11’s cocktail menu on their website the night before, I was eager to sample one of their concoctions. The cocktail menu is extensive, including mojitos, creamy cocktails, iced tea, frozen cocktails, Face 11 exclusives and even a selection of cocktails inspired by the big screen, including the Heisenberg (Breaking Bad) and Jedi Mind Trick (Star Wars). All cocktails cost £7.25 each and you can get 2-for-1 every day up until midnight.

We kicked off with the Caramel Nutter – a moreish mix of vodka, Baileys, cocoa, chocolate syrup, caramel, peanut butter and milk. This tasted more like a milkshake than a cocktail and the peanut butter was a fantastic addition. It didn’t taste too sweet or too chocolatey – the balance of flavours was just right. I don’t think mine lasted ten minutes.

Next up was the Cuban ice tea, a combination of Bacardi OakHeart, Bacardi Gold rum, Malibu, Havana and pineapple juice. This was Sarah’s choice and it was a bit too strong for my liking as I’m not a huge fan of rum, but it did have a unique, pleasantly sweet taste.

Moving on to food, the menu emphasises quality, fresh ingredients, locally sourced wherever possible. Options include a range of breakfast dishes, stuffed oggies (large baguettes) and jackets, ribs, burgers, pizzas, salads, vegetarian meals and dishes suitable for the Paleo diet.

Having become fairly popular recently, the Paleo (or Paleolithic diet) is based on the lifestyle and diet of our hunter-and-gatherer ancestors and involves eating only natural, whole foods like meat, veg, fruit, seeds, fish, shellfish and nuts. Basically, eating like a caveman. Keen to give it a go, Sarah ordered the F11 Paleo stack on the advice of Face 11 owner, Matthew Hinton.

The F11 Paleo stack consisted of a half pound Welsh beef burger topped with a fried egg, homemade guacamole and salsa, on a bed of spinach. The dish was well presented, garnished with fresh rocket and sliced tomato. I tasted some of the burger and it was really meaty, although I couldn’t help but think it didn’t look very filling as a main meal. However, Sarah really enjoyed it and felt ‘comfortably full’ after eating. If you wanted to though, you could order a Paleo starter like sweet potato mash (£3.50) or stuffed peppers (£3.75) to accompany the main.

Being a lover of carbs, the Paleo menu didn’t really appeal to me so I decided to go for a stonebaked pizza – something that Face 11 has become well known for. All of the pizza bases and sauces are made fresh in-house, using an exclusive recipe. I went for the Parma ham pizza (£8.95), with sundried tomatoes as an additional topping (+£1).

Laden with mozzarella, oregano, Parma ham, rocket, sundried tomatoes, Parmesan cheese and tomato sauce, my pizza was affectionately presented on a clay earthenware plate. The base was fairly thin and incredibly soft, which meant it wasn’t too filling for one person to eat alone (well, I certainly didn’t have any problems that’s for sure!) I couldn’t really fault this pizza. It was fresh, authentic and full of flavour – just writing about it makes me want another one!

As we ate our food, the comedians arrived for the comedy event that was due to start later on. Alongside comedy evenings, Face 11 also runs open-mic nights, live music and a quiz featuring a roll-over cash prize that once reached £1,400. Recently, the restaurant/bar became the first of its kind to release a charity album on the back of its open-mic nights, which have grown to attract a steady crowd. To purchase a copy for just £6, please pop in to Face 11 on Cathays Terrace, Cardiff.

Before we left Face 11, we simply head to check out the ‘Secret Garden’ we saw advertised on a wall near where we were sat.

Following the signs to the Secret Garden, we found ourselves in a small garden with tables and chairs, a smoking shelter with a cosy patio heater, brightly coloured wall paintings and bunting. We were even invited us to help ourselves to some blankets to keep warm! The Secret Garden was the perfect way to end a lovely evening.

Sarah and I thoroughly enjoyed our time at Face 11. We were particularly impressed by the concept of the restaurant/bar as a ski lodge, the quality of the food and the friendly service. Our only regret is that we didn’t visit Face 11 sooner!

Face 11
105 Cathays Terrace
CF24 4HU
(029) 2022 8221

I was invited to Face 11 as a guest and our food and drinks were provided complimentary. 


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