The celebrated chef with an MSc in Food Policy cooking in Canton this Xmas

Alex Vines' menus are super fresh, frequently changing and full of flavour

An acclaimed Cardiff-born chef who has worked in some of London’s most celebrated kitchens has announced a month-long series of pop-ups at a coffee shop in Canton this December.

Originally hailing from the vibrant neighbourhood of Pontcanna, 39-year-old chef Alex Vines has spent the last 11 years working in the kitchens of some of London’s most celebrated restaurants, including 40 Maltby Street, Rochelle Canteen, and Sardine. Most recently, Alex was the head chef at the Lighthaus in Walthamstow where he gained recognition and praise from the likes of The Observer and Time Out Magazine.

Chef Alex Vines

Picture credit: instagram.com/miketrow

Having started cooking in the kitchen from the age of 10 (his first food memory is helping his mum to blanch almonds for homemade mincemeat), Alex’s pared-back style of cooking has been influenced by his experiences in London, but also, by his MSc in Food Policy.

As a result, he focuses on truly seasonal and sustainable ingredients, designing menus around local ingredients which come direct from the producers each week.

This approach has earned Alex a reputation for an attentive yet uncomplicated approach to cooking, and his return to his hometown of Cardiff has allowed him to focus on seasonal, creative and honest cooking which utilises his close relationships with local farmers and growers like Paul’s Veg, Blaencamel Farm and Câr-y-Môr Seafood.

Vines Restaurant in Cardiff

Earlier this year, Alex introduced his Vines Restaurant venture to his hometown of Cardiff via a short term popup at Ground Bakery in Pontcanna – earning high praise from local food bloggers including Gourmet Gorro and Soliciting Flavours.

Building on this success, Vines Restaurant will next take over the Hard Lines coffee shop on Cowbridge Road for four Fridays before Christmas. If you click through the Instagram gallery below, you can browse the full menu for his December pop-ups at Hard Lines, priced at £45pp. I can’t wait to try those seafood canapés! 

Alex has also devised a short wine list which will be available by the glass, focussing on natural wines and smaller European winemakers known for their skill and care for the environment. Local wine writer Rachel Hendry (who also helped with content for the Cardiff Wine Passport) will be on hand at the popups to advise on pairings.

Of his upcoming December dates, Alex said,

I’m thrilled to be bringing my Vines Restaurant pop up to another great Cardiff venue, and really looking forward to showcasing some more of the amazing produce we have to work with here in South Wales. Ultimately, my goal is to open a permanent bricks and mortar restaurant here in Cardiff, and this is just another step along the way to making that happen.”

To find out more and book a table for the Vines Restaurant pop up at Hard Lines, visit: https://vinescardiff.co.uk/reservations.

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