“ Atlantic Wharf Leisure Park,Hemingway Road,Cardiff, CF10 4JY.Tel: 02920 493 939 „
Old Orleans are a chain of themed bars/restaurants which are found in many towns and cities in England and Wales.
Cardiff has two branches: one in the city centre, and one in the Cardiff Bay development. This review refers to the second of the two.
A themed bar, of course, needs a theme: in this case it's based on the American South, Creole and Cajun cooking. This is good news for me as I rather like most of the type of food that's sold there.
The restaurant has the basic layout found in many American bars: a bar area for drinkies and a separate area for dining. This one is situated a little away from the Millennium Centre and Sennedd Building, next to a multiplex cinema. This seems to have the effect of making it slightly less popular that other ones I've been to. I'm sure that this is only a result of its location, and is not a reflection on the service there. The advantage for the punter is that you can often get a table with less than a ten minute wait. There is ample parking outside.
One of my favourite dishes is the ribs: personally I think they're better than the ones you get in TGI or the Hard Rock Café. They do a range of starters such as nachos, wings, potato skins, and some of these are put together in a way that's designed to allow diners to share. If you're less hungry, you can make do with the bowl of popcorn that's provided at the table.
The puddings are, in my opinion, the weakest part of the menu, so I don't usually have these [I'd rather enjoy the starters, or pig out on a full rack of ribs!].
The menus can be seen in full at http://www.oldorleans.com/home/food which will give an excellent idea of what's available.
The restaurant is always clean and well presented, and the staff have always, in my experience, been perfectly pleasant and sufficiently attentive.
Having two children, a big attraction for us is the Kids Eats Free service that they've run for about two years now. Children's meals are usually £3.95 or £6.25 for two courses, but you can get one free [plus a drink, which would be extra to this price] for each adult main meal ordered.
For those without children, you can sign up for a discount card which gives a 10% discount [not available with the free children's meal offer]. You can request a card online at the website: since there is not cost, if you eat there reasonable often it's worth a punt.
Also on Ciao
I was staying in Cardiff last week at a Travelodge which is located just by this restaurant at the Atlantic Wharf Leisure Park. Also at the site is an Odeon cinema at which I saw District 9. I have also reviewed these separately.
Old Orleans is an American style Cajun restaurant with a nationwide network of restaurants, from Newcastle to Brighton. The menu is impressive encompasses steak and burgers to stews and fish dishes with everything in-between. My friend is quite picky but even she found plenty she'd eat on it.
Old Orleans have an arrangement with Odeon whereby if you watch a film and present your cinema ticket you can get buy one get one free on main courses. It is worth noting that your cinema ticket is retained and as Odeon do not have ticket stubs this offer must be taken after you have watched the film.
Once we had our cinema tickets we went to the restaurant to book a table, after trying to find a member of staff we were told bookings were not taken and that tables were allocated on a first come first serve basis but that we should not have a problem getting a table on a Monday night at 20:30 when we would be leaving the cinema.
Having seen the film we went to the restaurant and certainly didn't have a problem getting a table, there were only three other tables occupied.
The restaurant is large with American diner booth style seating around the edge of the restaurant all in front of large windows.
The centre of the restaurant is the bar area and the back is where the kitchens are, a lot of the restaurant was closed off when we were there but it all looked much the same.
We asked to be sat away from the window as I can't stand people staring in at me from a foot away when I'm trying to eat so we were placed at a small table in the centre against a wall towards the back of the restaurant. For service purposes the restaurant seemed to be spilt into quarters and there was only one other table occupied in our section.
The waitress attended us within a couple of minutes of us being sat down and provided us with menus. She then disappeared and it was ten minutes before she came back to take our drinks orders. As cocktails were 2 for £5 we decided to have Long Island Iced Tea as I adore the stuff! It was another 10 minutes while we waited for the drinks.
When they arrived I was disappointed, I'm used to my cocktails being strong but this one just tasted of coke. Barely any alcohol had been used in its preparation.
Food orders were then taken, twenty minutes after arriving. As the menu is so unique I decided to try the Gumbo as I had never even heard of it before, my friend went for the Blackened Catfish.
Most people in the restaurant were given complementary popcorn while they waited for their food but our waitress did not seem to bother, after waiting twenty minutes for our food I asked for some in an effort to keep my stomach from disturbing other diners.
Eventually, forty minutes after arriving we received our food and had to order more drinks as we had not seen the waitress since she had brought a small bowl of popcorn to us.
My Gumbo was delicious! It consists of prawns and chorizo and rice in a tomato and jalapeno sauce served with corn bread. I'd never really tasted anything like it before, I would never have thought to put prawns and chorizo together but it does work. The dish was well cooked and the portion was just right.
I tried the catfish and thought it was superb, a really meaty fish which was cooked to perfection, it came with stir fired peppers and onions and was very well presented. It was a thoroughly enjoyable meal.
Not once did I see the waitress at any stage during our meal, I can only assume she was busy talking to the chefs or something! I did notice the family on the other table were waiting to pay for almost 15 minutes after they had managed to get the bill.
About ten minutes after we had finished the waitress arrived to make sure everything was ok with our meals. It would have been unfortunate had it not been. She also took this opportunity to ask if we wanted dessert or further drinks, although I did quite fancy the Key Lime Pie and another drink I declined both as I wanted to be in bed by 02:00 and asked for the bill, this took another five minutes to arrive and I paid by cash as I could only imagine how long it would take to card it.
The total cost of our meal, as we got buy one get one free was just under £25 including four cocktails so it was good value for money. The service took so long I went elsewhere for further drinks and I would only go back if time were not a factor.
It's a good job we had to go after the cinema or we'd have missed the film.