Thé Pot, Crwys Road, Cardiff. 029 2049 4697 / www.ethicalchef.co.uk
Since 2010, Deri Reed, under his moniker of The Ethical Chef, has continued to exploit and promote the best in fresh, local, organic and downright tasty produce from some of South Wales’ finest growers. His pop-up Supper Club sees five courses of delectable veggie inspiration for a set price of £25pp, and I was excited to finally taste some of the Ethical Chef’s invention in the originality and warmth of Thé Pot on Crwys Road.
The smell of the open kitchen wafted through the inviting café as soon as we sat down, and to start the meal, we were presented with beetroot borscht in what appeared to be a tall shot glass. Deep in both colour and flavour, the warm kick of the beets made for a satisfyingly original start to the meal, while the second dish came in the form of a Soba noodle Thai stir-fry. Although a little bland for my taste, it was a relatively light dish leading into the colour and perfume of the baked polenta and tamarind cassoulet with caramelised onion and smokey yoghurt. The jury may still be out on polenta, but this particular dish went quite some way toward winning me over with its tamarind cassoulet matching perfectly with the smokey yoghurt. With room to spare, we pushed on into our fourth dish: a sticky toffee pudding with toffee sauce, cream and a tasty toffee crunch. Moist and luxurious, I could have had five courses worth of this luscious desert, but my waistline will have thanked me for not. Four chocolate brownie bites rounded off the meal perfectly, and as we leant back – satisfied but not stuffed – we were able to reflect perfectly balanced menu with measured dishes packed with inventive variety and complementary flavours. Although by no means a committed veggie, Deri Reed has opened my eyes to an ever-versatile world of vegetarian cuisine and I’ll be back for more. GARETH LUDKIN