Sited within an authentic Welsh chapel, this exciting city centre restaurant is far from traditional
Whether your’e looking for a mid-week treat, occasion filled weekend or laid back Sunday – Chapel 1887 has the right amount of old world glamour fused with seasonal modern dishes.After basking in the last of the sunshine and enjoying a preliminary glass of wine on the terrace garden, I move inside and am immediately wowed by the stunning architecture and the bar mans afro. His name is Lawrance and he mixes us a tasty little summer cocktail called The Confession. How can I describe this cocktail? OK picture this, you’re in Sicily, smiling through a perfect haze of sunshine, tequila and the most divine lemons imaginable. Plus it has Limoncello in it – I mean who doesn’t love Limoncello?
The a la carte restaurant is open plan, save for the row of velvet curtained booths and looks like it leapt straight off the pages of American Psycho. (I didn’t happen to see Patrick Bateman in there on this occasion, but then again it is Cardiff). At the top of the swirling red carpeted staircase sits the ladies toilet – comically located inside an old fashioned confessional box, which gives a whole new meaning to the phrase, “bless me father for I have sinned.”
The upper level of the restaurant offers a magnificent view of the decorative stonework, stained glass windows and opulent chandeliers. Conveniently Chapel offer a fully fledged wedding service and you can even get married on that very spot, so if your date is going well later keep this fact in mind.
To tide us over after we ordered, we nibbled on bread, olives, artichokes and gherkins because I’m greedy and impatient. This was great fodder for where we were seated next to the glass balcony as it looked down onto the lively bar. (If your date isn’t going particularly well at least you can watch other people enjoy themselves).
To start I had salmon with a dollop of dill creme fraiche, a couple of trendy rye crisps and an added twist of pink peppercorns served with a hint of vanilla. Delightful. Fish starters were definitely the way forward, as my date opted for the scallops served with pink grape fruit and parmesan tuille – the perfect fusion of sweet and sour. Like me.
The main event was sponsored by meat and cooked to perfection. I had the pork lovingly wrapped in parma ham with potato gratin, cabbage, broad beans and a cider jus. Honestly before they even put the plate down in front of me the aroma engulfed my nostrils and I inhaled the whole thing in an embarrassingly short amount of time. My date pretended not to notice whilst he tucked into his hearty serving of Welsh lamb served pink (naturally) and with a colourful blend of confit tomatoes.
Looking around the room at other peoples plates (as I so often do) I spied what looked like a sea bass fillet which looked scintillating and crispy, served on a bed of samphire. Enviably eyeing up meals you neglected to order is a cruel game.
To finish it was creme brulee all around with a decadent smattering of boozy cherries. During the light summer months it’s imperative to find a menu without a hint of winter stodge, and this menu leaves you feeling just full enough without hating yourself afterwards.
The reason I keep going back to Chapel is because the atmosphere is unprecedented. You feel like you’re having a treat but are relaxed at the same time. The visible kitchen is a nice touch, whilst the wait staff are the right amount of polite and attentive. Also, the men wear red bow ties which is always a plus in my book.
Head over to their Facebook page to receive a 20% discount off your first meal.