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Gilby's Restaurant (Cardiff)

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A stunning 18th century barn conversion serving European Foods. Upbeat music, relaxed and friendly service, on-site parking for 50 cars. Old Port Road, Culverhouse Cross, Cardiff CF5 6DN Tel: 029 2067 0800.

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      30.08.2001 22:30
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      Website: http://www.gilbysrestaurant.co.uk/ You'll also find more information, a map and a route planner here: http://www.theaa.com/restaurants/100422.html Address: Old Port Road, Culverhouse Cross, CARDIFF, CF5 6DN Tel: 029 20670800 Fax: 029 20594437 Email: info@Gilbysrestaurant.co.uk Closed Mondays I visited this restaurant for my birthday (8th August) and here's what happened! It had been a pretty drab sort of a birthday for most of the day, when I got up I had lovely cards off my man and my son, but (without sounding too spoilt and ungrateful) it kind of went down hill! I had to work (bad enough any day of the year) but no one, not one person, remembered that it was my birthday! I've been working there for over two years and I actually lived with two of my colleagues for a while so this was quite disheartening, and I'm not the type to let them know subtly or otherwise. So the day plodded on with the occasional joy of an egreeting from various members of my family! I knew that my man had no money so wasn't expecting anything when I got home either, but, I should have known, he's always got something up his sleeve! When finally back home I was ordered to dress smart and pack the boy some nappies, and off we went - it was a bit of a mystery tour. We dropped the boy off at his aunt's and continued the journey, eventually heading in the direction of Cardiff. Along the way the man said that there were 2 envelopes in the glove compartment and that I could open the big one! I told him to stop fibbing, imagining some Blind Date 'pick your destination' scenario! But upon looking, there they were, so I opened the bigger of the 2 and lo and behold a white gold and diamond necklace! Woohoo! Further into the journey I was allowed to open the second "just because I know what you're like" - it was a menu!! Due to my indecision when dining out he th
      ought a bit of advanced perusal was in order, he'd made sure to delete the prices as that's another of my habits ('ooh I can't have that, it's too expensive'!). So, we were eating out, but where!! Well, I found this out on arrival and was very pleased from start to finish. The end. No, not really, now to the actual opinion: Gilby's is a European Seafood restaurant, chosen due to my love of all things fishy! There are 50 parking spaces and the restaurant seats 100 so they're buggered if they have 100 single driving diners, but that's particularly unlikely and on this busy evening the car park looked half empty/full! The table had been booked for 8pm and we arrived with time for a drink and another look at the menu. You're greeted as you enter and there you check in(?), and there is a lounge area to wait in before dining. This area is unfortunately rather small. It was a busy night and it did look like a packed pub! We had a little table to ourselves opposite the door - cold; right by the booking in thingy - awkward; but by the bar - perfect! There are seats and tables outside but whether you use them is obviously dependant on the weather. Our order was taken by one of the friendly and polite staff and we were seated not long after. The restaurant itself is lovely, not too brightly lit, candles on all tables. We were pleased to discover it's non-smoking. There's a decent amount of space between tables even though it does look quite small. It's actually a renovated eighteenth century barn and they have kept the olde worlde feel with the stone walls and hanging tapestries. We didn't have to wait long for our starters, here's what we had and what we thought (you can see a range of menus and dishes on their website): Starters:- Me Angel Hair Pasta and Asparagus With 'queenie' scallops, lemon grass and coriander pesto £6.50 Absolutely deliciou
      s! I'd never had this type of pasta before, very thin as you can imagine, but lots of it! I'd never had asparagus before (how sheltered) and it was crunchy and yummy. The scallops were fantastic and I was surprised at how many I got considering it was gourmet cuisine. And the pesto was (which praising adjective next) scrumptious, it combined my love of pesto and coriander! I guess I liked this starter so much because it contains lots of things I like, but it was really well cooked, really well presented and they didn't scrimp on ingredients. Him Caesar Salad With marinated garlic chicken and parmesan wafers £5.95 Yep, you guessed it, it was lovely (I tried it). The parmesan was crunchy, and complimented the dish really well, it added a needed saltiness to the salad, and the chicken was tender and and not too garlicy. Mmmm. Main course:- Me Pan-Fried Fillets of Sea Bass On artichoke and red onion jam risotto, with haricots vert and mussels in a lightly aerated saffron nage £16.95 On the side Gratin of Cauliflower With Brioche and Parmesan Sauce £2.50 I like to try stuff I haven't eaten before, and this contained a few! I'd never had artichoke before and never will again, it was horrible! There were quite big chunks in the risotto so they were easily picked out, and the risotto was still absolutely fantastic - it was sticky and sweet, with a few slivers of red onion, I could have eaten a lot more of this. Sea Bass I'd never tried before, but the trouble with fish is very often you can't tell one from the other, especially when it's with tasty risottos or creamy sauces! But it was very nice, tender with a crunchy side! The mussels went really well with the creamy, delicate nage. The side order was basically glorified cauliflower cheese, but very nice all the same! But I thought brioche was a type of bread and there was no bread involved! Him
      Seared Medallions of Monkfish On blinis of minted garden peas with roast Italian onions, pancetta crisps and gazpacho sauce £15.95 Galette of Bubble & Squeak £2.25 The monkfish WAS really distinctive, firm but tender, beautifully seared! And the blinis, well, the things you can do with ordinary every day food like peas! He said the roast onions were pickled onions so I didn't try one of those! And he didn't fancy the pancetta crisps either, so I ate them, never had pancetta before, it's like strong bacon, salty but sweet! The bubble and squeak was lovely, better than my Nan's! Pudding:- (Yes, after all that!) Me Gilby's Eton Mess In case you don't know, Eton Mess is chunks of meringue, strawberries and cream all mixed into a mess. Gilby's Eton Mess also had ice cream and a strawberry coulis. It was really nice, but I found myself just digging around for the strawberries! It got a bit sickly, I would have preferred the cheese and biscuits but he said 'you can have that at home', so I didn't!! He finished this off! Him Summer Fruit Pudding This was really nice, I would have been better off with this, the sweetness was from the fruit not from sugar. It was really fresh and I thought I wouldn't like the bread part, but the fruit soaks so well into it. (There are no details of the deserts on the website, you don't get a menu for these until you've finished your main course.) So that's what we ate. There wasn't much we didn't like and (apart from the roasted onions perhaps) it was due to personal tastes not bad cooking! It was all well presented, there was enough of it (not tiny haute cuisine portions) and it was served hot! We weren't rushed between courses and we weren't rushed from our table once we'd finished. It was very relaxed, but still the service was polite and efficient. And it was ac
      tually very reasonably priced. I can't really praise this place enough, I really did have a birthday treat! So what has this opinion shown :- that Gilby's restaurant is a really good place to eat, and that I am a great big pig! Glossary Pesto: A green Italian sauce made especially of fresh basil, garlic, oil, pine nuts, and grated cheese. Pesto sauce can be stirred into freshly cooked pasta. Red pesto contains grilled red pepper or pimiento. Blinis: a thin often buckwheat pancake usually filled (as with sour cream) and folded Pancetta: Cured belly pork used in Italian cookery, usually either in thin slices or thicker cubes. It's flavour is salty, sweet and slightly aniseed. It can be grilled until crisp and then crumbled over pasta, rice, salads and soups. Gazpacho: a spicy soup that is usually made from chopped raw vegetables (as tomato, onion, pepper, and cucumber) and that is served cold. Risotto: rice cooked in meat stock and seasoned (as with Parmesan cheese or saffron) Gratin: covered with bread crumbs or grated cheese and browned (as under a grill)

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