It’s been a busy month for Cardiff when it comes new openings – we can now add drinking super-strong cocktails in secret speakeasy bars like The Dead Canary, and eating curried goat at Turtle Bay to our list of things to try. However, my unexpected front-runner in the recent new arrivals list is The Stable, situated at the bottom of the massive Admiral building behind St David’s shopping centre.
Established in 2009 in Bridport, this mini-chain of restaurants focuses on three staples – pizza, pies and cider. It all started back in 2007, when Richard and Nikki Cooper decided to quit London and move their life and children to deepest, darkest Dorset. They bought a dilapidated hotel in the centre of Bridport, with an outbuilding and former stable at the back. For that, they had a vision of creating a unique environment to enjoy the finest local produce at decent prices.
Sadly, the old stable was a wreck, and was full of so much junk that it was almost impossible to get through the door. With a LOT of hard work, help from friends, and perseverance, they slowly gave it a new lease of life.
Being in Dorset meant a bar menu full of real cider from small scale producers, and when it came to the food, sourcing local produce was no issue as they had plenty of fresh meat and fish available from within a 10 mile radius. Before long, they were creating ‘real British pizza’ for the locals, made with their own sourdough base and, what some might call controversial toppings (just ask local blogger Kitchen Clonc)!
— Imran Nathoo (@KitchenClonc) December 10, 2015
Since that first venture, The Stable is now growing across the South of the UK, with restaurants in Bridport, Weymouth, Poole, Fistral Beach, Falmouth, Bath, Winchester, Plymouth & Bristol – and their latest restaurant has now opened in Cardiff, with a fabulous mezzanine level sitting right above the fully stocked bar. What I love though, is that despite their growth and their success, all of their ingredients are still sourced locally to each venue, and the team’s dedication to their initial idea hasn’t wavered at all.
In Cardiff, that means your pizza is likely to be topped by award winning Trealy Farm cured meats and sausage, Teifi Celtic and Caws Cenarth cheeses, Welsh free-range chicken, Newton Abbot smoked Mackerel and Severn & Wye Smoked Salmon. Those final two are the superstar ingredients of a seafood pizza called ‘Severn Heaven’ which I loved – though I couldn’t eat a whole one. For me, the pizzas are a perfect sharing food between friends; order a variety and share out the slices!
All in all, I love the fact that The Stable have done things properly. Here’s a top tip for eating out anywhere: if a restaurant likes to talk about the ‘finest ingredients’ and the ‘locally sourced produce’ they use, they should be able to give you details . Vagueness rings immediate alarm bells with me (and rightly so) but there’s no doubting that The Stable actually deliver on their word – the producers and suppliers are name checked all over the menu.
Next time you’re that end of town and looking for somewhere to eat, give The Stable a shot – their team are super friendly, the ciders are great and there’s a lot of variety, and the pizzas are fully loaded with those genuinely hand-picked, locally sourced toppings. As for the pies? They’re for me to try next time, as I know I will definitely be back.