As a non-vegetarian, I had never thought of going to a vegetarian restaurant for an evening out with friends. I guess I just thought it would be all salads and fruit. And that’s not my idea of a fun night out.
But for all these years I have been fooled. Last week I discovered a cuisine that I could easily get addicted to, a way of being creative with basic ingredients and of appreciating different produce that go well together.
I went to Milgi in Cardiff, a vegetarian restaurant which also has vegan options.
The place is split into two areas, a relaxed lounge and a retro-rustic restaurant looking into the kitchen. The décor is creative and earthy, with potato sacks and crates of fruit and vegetables on display.
And when the seasonal menu is being handwritten with chalk on the blackboard as you walk in, you know that seasonal means seasonal.
My eating partner and I ordered a drink – a passion fruit seed, orange, banana and honey smoothie and a homemade rose flavoured soda made with lemon juice and sparkling water.
The presentation was in keeping with the restaurant’s organic feel with the smoothie served in a recycled jam jar. I also noticed the serviettes were 100% recycled and made in the UK.
The menu offers starters, mains and desserts and I was pleased to see the choices for each course were limited to a maximum of four options. I believe the fewer the choices, the better the chef can work the produce. Jack of all trades master of none, in my opinion, should be a kitchen no-no.
We shared a middle eastern platter as a starter. My eating partner used to live with a Lebanese friend and was able to confirm this platter was very authentic in taste.
The food was well presented and attention was given to colour and texture variety in each dish. Imagination had gone into each dish with interesting surprises such as polenta croutons, sweet potato fries and kimchi and pickled foraged wild mushrooms.
Above the kitchen is a sign which reads ‘recipes from around the world, food from around the corner.’
To me, this sign sums it up perfectly. Dishes are original and creative with an exotic element to their uncommon recipes. But the produce is local and in season.