As a former Cardiff University student, I hold fond memories of The Woodville pub in Cathays (of what I can remember, at least!); memories of drunken pub golf escapades, fancy dress parties and chilled out pub quiz nights. It was always somewhere I’d associate with having a good time, as opposed to somewhere I’d go for lunch or dinner.
A few months ago, however, The Woodville underwent a huge revamp and with it came a shiny new food and drink menu. Featuring all-day breakfasts, wraps, bagels, jackets, burgers, meaty mains and sharing platters, the emphasis is on contemporary comfort food classics. I decided to go along and try it out for myself, along with a friend.
Inside, the pub has been given a fresh lick of paint and decorated with everything from pop art and post-it notes, to printed clipboards and vibrant neon lighting featuring affectionate Welsh phrases like ‘cwtch’ and ‘where you to?’
The new drinks menu includes a range of classy cocktails and indulgent milkshakes at student-friendly prices. With a good balance of Sailor Jerry’s spiced rum combined with lemon juice, apple juice, ginger syrup and soda water, the Ginger Apple Cooler (£6.45) tasted like a toffee apple and did a great job of quenching my thirst on what was a fairly warm day. Meanwhile, James sipped on one of The Woodville’s ‘hard shakes’ – the Honey Monster (£5.95). A creamy concoction of vanilla frappé with Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey, this had a strong taste of whiskey which was too overpowering for our liking.
As we slurped our cocktails, we nibbled on a bowl of frickles (£2.45); tangy pickled gherkins fried in a crispy breadcrumb coating. These were would be the perfect match for a pint of lager or beer.
My main of southern fried chicken and chips (£5.95) consisted of three large, tender chicken goujons in crunchy breadcrumbs, accompanied by a smoky BBQ dip, crispy skinny fries and a delicious homemade slaw of red cabbage, carrot and spring onion in a lime and ginger sesame seed dressing.
Meanwhile, James devoured the ribs and wings (£10.95); a meat feast including half a rack of melt-in-your-mouth pork ribs smothered in an irresistible BBQ sauce, with six well-sized BBQ chicken wings, two crispy onion rings, skinny fries and homemade slaw.
Feeling full after our mains, we decided to share a dessert. I’d heard about The Woodville’s freakshakes before and I couldn’t wait to try one out for myself, so we ordered just that. As our freakshake approached the table, our eyes widened and we let out a chorus of oohs and aahs. A glass tumbler was filled with thick vanilla ice cream and chocolate fudge cake milkshake, with Smarties stuck around the edge of the glass using Nutella. The milkshake was topped with a slab of fudge cake, a double chocolate chip cookie, squirty cream, mini marshmallows, candyfloss and lashings of rich chocolate sauce. The whole thing tasted sinfully good, although it was a good thing we were sharing, as I don’t know how I would’ve got through one of these by myself after such a big meal. This was actually only the regular version; there is a larger size available for £12.95!
On the whole, we enjoyed our meal at The Woodville. If I was served the same dishes at a restaurant I would expect the food to be of a higher quality, but for affordably priced pub grub, it certainly hit the spot. I’d go back just for another freakshake!
1-5 Woodville Road,
(029) 2039 7859