Apple Jacks

So, I tried to be the first customer at The Pitch on Thursday, but after some great comms on twitter, when I arrived they didn’t have any tables in, which would have made lunch awkward!  I’ll be back there next week though, so stay tuned for the review.

As a result, I was at a bit of a loss of what to do so wandered on up The Hayes, contemplating as I went which types of restaurants I want to try and focus on this year.  I passed Wahaca, Cosy Club, Burger & Lobster, Carter & Miller… and whilst I have eaten and will eat again at these, I’d really like to try and get out and about to more independent, smaller outfits. Especially places where you could take a client / supplier for lunch and have them pleasantly surprised.

As such, it was a pleasure to stumble upon Apple Jacks.  It’s a Deluxe American Diner, with the motto ‘All Are Welcome’ and with good reason.  There’s something here for everyone here, so please don’t be put off by the fat it’s sat between a pub and a Harvester!  Kids will love the coke floats and the bookable table set within an *actual camper van*; parents will sigh in relief at the kids menus; fans of interior design will coo at the geometric design and feel of the place; even claustrophobes will love it: there’s stacks of space including a funky shack of a kitchen upstairs too 🙂

What’s it like for a bloke at a loose end, who’s looking to grab a nice lunch, though? Well, pretty damned good as it happens.

There’s stacks of variety in the menu, especially in the seafood area (hake, crevettes, scallions, creole shrimp, pollock, oysters all featured) something you don’t see much of around Cardiff, so it was no surprise I went for the clam chowder and, just as I was feeling a tad greedy, a side of sweet potato and chorizo fries.

Clam Chowder - Apple Jacks
Clam Chowder – Apple Jacks


The chowder was great; a sharp broth with firm, ferric greens and plenty of clams alongside chunks of salty bacon.  All this sat in a sourdough tortilla and whilst this edible bowl was lovely to eat it was hellishly fiddly! Quite a few clams bit the dust as a tried to tear half toasted, half soggy tortilla from the bowl.  It also came a distant second to the doorstep slice of toast served with the bowl, that was purpose built for dunking into such a meal.  Alas, the bowl was emptied, but I was glad for the lemon water bowl to wash my hands in!

Sweet Potato and Chorizo - Apple Jacks
Clam Chowder – Apple Jacks


I think sweet potatoe fries are a bit of a poisoned chalice; I’m yet to have a portion that I’ve wanted to tell the world about.  That said there is something about them that makes me order each and every time! This was made all the more unavoidable with the addition of chorizo.  I’m not sure of the science, but getting that crisp outside alongside a fluffy centre, as you can with a good Maris Piper, seems impossible with sweet potatoes.  As such, it was no surpise that the side didn’t match the main, but it was still damn tasty, if not quite crunchy.

Finally, I got a coke float (like a time machine to 1980’s birthday parties for anyone of my generation) beforehand and a mocha afterwards, both lovely.

Coke Float - Apple Jacks
Coke Float – Apple Jacks


So, there you have it; Apple Jacks is a really, really well fitted out place that serves a really nice range of classic American Diner meals, with their own twist.  Go! Be a younger George McFly and check the place out.

Call: 02920 227 792 or Email

17 Church Street, Cardiff, CF10 1BG




Upstairs - Apple Jacks
Upstairs – Apple Jacks
Geometric Design - Apple Jacks
Geometric Design – Apple Jacks
Decor - Apple Jacks
Decor – Apple Jacks
Camper Van - Apple Jacks
Camper Van – Apple Jacks


WiFi - Apple Jacks
WiFi – Apple Jacks




Le Bistrot Pierre

So, to start at the beginning, I thought I’d choose a trustworthy old friend and I wasn’t disappointed.  As ever the magnificent Claude was there to welcome me and take me through the menu as well as putting up with my ever depreciating attempts to speak French with him.  Fortunately, he’s hooked up with a Welsh speaker so his rustiness with the hen iaith makes me feel a little less stressed out.

The service here has always been good and whilst it is a chain nowadays, it could well be called a bracelet of restaurants… With only a dozen links in total all over the UK and this one being the only one in Cardiff, coupled with the amiable waiters and waitresses, it hardly feels like a chain.

So, I settled in, next to a pair of pensioners and took the chance to check some emails (the free wifi code’s their phone number without the first zero: 2920345990).  The menu‘s really strong at the moment, but it does change regularly, so it’s always worth checking back to the site in advance of your visit.  Lunch is £10.95 for 2 courses or £12.95 for

Today, I went for the salmon special as a starter and I’m glad I did too; the combo of flaked and smoked salmon with dill and capers, sat on a plump blini and in a tart sauce.  Claude might’ve thought I’d become a magician so quickly did it disappear from my plate.  This was served with some lovely crusty sliced baguette and soft, salted butter.

Salmon Starter Special
Salmon Starter Special

The downside of this was that it ruled out getting the risotto, which I really fancied.  I mean, read this and tell me you’re not tempted:

Risotto of broad beans, steamed leeks, wild mushrooms, tarragon and smoked paprika

The risotto and mushrooms had just the right bite to them and whilst the tarragon got slightly lost, the leeks were sweet and coupled well with the tiny broad beans.

Risotto of broad beans, steamed leeks, wild mushrooms, tarragon and smoked paprika


This was washed down with a bottle of water (filtered on site, but still £1.50) and a green tea… a teabag and hot water (£2.00).  Whilst these add ons do get on my wick a bit, it still felt like great value when all’s said and done.

Thanks Claude, and all the team at Le Bistrot Pierre, Cardiff: if you’re looking to take a client out for lunch in the city centre then I strongly recommend you give this place a spin.

Claude – My favourite waiter in Cardiff

Le Bistrot Pierre, is on Caroline Street… (yes, yes that’s Chippy Lane!), easily accessible from The Hayes or St Mary’s Street.