A contemporary restaurant and lounge in the City Centre; Grey is championing the modern all-day dining scene with Welsh and British classics.

I have to say it’s rare that I start a dining experience with a history lesson.  However in Grey, not only is its name reflected in the colour tones of the well designed and comfortable interiors, but also in reference to the Franciscan Order of Grey Friars, who in 1280 were granted a site to reside in Cardiff.  The site being the current location of the Hilton hotel, and subsequently Grey.

An independently owned restaurant, the à la carte menu at Grey is designed to be enjoyed throughout the day.  Dining in the evening, we were warmly welcomed by a knowledgeable front of house team, who were only too happy to provide recommendations both on dishes, but also their wine list, and as I was pleased to note their selection of locally produced Eccentric Gin.

First to arrive were two ‘small plates’; with small and large options you can choose whether you select these dishes as a starter or main course.  Opting to experience these as starters, we were presented with a beautifully creamy smoked haddock risotto with a poached hen’s egg, spring onions and curry oil.  Comforting, well-seasoned and full of flavour, it is a perfect dish as the autumn nights draw in.

A pot of Ty Gwyn cider steamed mussels with Trealy Farm chorizo and baked ciabatta, combined to create a smoky and cider infused broth, topped with a sizeable portion of delicious and well-cooked mussels.  As with many of the dishes at Grey, it’s fantastic to see the restaurant supporting local producers and using fresh seasonal ingredients.  I hadn’t previously experienced mussels with ciabatta in the bottom of the pot.  Personally, I would consider it to be the best thing since sliced bread…that is if you had drenched that slice of bread in the nectar of the gods.  As we say in Wales…it was lush!

Having reached a happy place in my life…ok the gin may have kicked in; our main course selections arrived shortly afterwards.  Opting for the Usk Valley lamb shank, slow cooked and honey glazed; for want of a more unique description to lamb shank, I have to revert back to the good old ‘the meat fell off of the bone and melted in the mouth’ observation.  Served with a well-seasoned, ‘posh’ bubble ‘n’ squeak, this was a delicious dish which was brought together with a rich and glossy gravy.

Grey also offers a range of daily specials.  Available on the evening; I choose a generous portion of chorizo tortellini.  Served al dente, the colours alone of the dish made me smile.  With a pleasant kick from the spicy chorizo, the sauce of roasted peppers and sun blush tomatoes evoked warm memories of Italian holidays in the sun.

Time for dessert; and I have to say at this point I was feeling rather full.  Grey certainly do not scrimp on portion size.  A fantastically creamy and indulgent vanilla crème brûlée was topped with a layer of brandy snap, and accompanied with three rings of sugary shortbread.  A comparison to ‘pudding heaven in a jar’ may have been made.  That was until I took stock, of what ‘John Travolta’ had ordered across the table from me…

Ok so I’m no ‘Uma Thurman’ (I can’t dance for one), but in the manner of the famous Jack Rabbit Slim’s scene in Pulp Fiction, Grey do offer a $5 Shake on their menu.  Priced at £8, I think there may have been a little artistic license with the exchange rate, and there is the undisputable fact it is delivered to the table in a bottle that takes you back to the days of Infant school milk breaks (straws included!).  However, with vanilla ice cream, Jack Daniels, Amaretto, mint and amaretti cookies to add…all I’m going to say is go and order it…oh my word!

This was my first visit, and I have to say it won’t be my last.  Grey is the perfect place to relax, unwind and watch the world go by.  Based on their all-day dining concept, there really is something for everyone.  So whether you are calling in for a spot of brekkie, lunch, afternoon tea or dinner you won’t be disappointed.  Personally, I have my eye on their Prosecco Afternoon Tea for Two – available from Monday to Friday (11am-5pm), it sounds amazing.

Helen (‘The Octopus Diaries’) is a blogger on a mission to explore the Cardiff food scene and beyond.  Championing independents; she is a fan of restaurants that are run with passion and an insatiable desire to offer people a different dining experience, value for money and great food.   She also loves a spot of foodie randomness and actively seeks out strange places to drink and dine.  Follow her on Twitter and Instagram, and read her reviews on her website.