One of the places that has been on my list of eateries I wanted to visit but hadn’t got round to doing so yet for far too long is Mimosa Kitchen and Bar. I finally rectified this last weekend, as we decided to eat there on Saturday night. I’ve been in two minds about going there in the evening, as from outside it always looks more of a bar than a restaurant, but having heard very good things about it from a notoriously fussy friend of Mr W’s, we decided to give it the benefit of the doubt.
We were immediately impressed by the menu. It focuses on contemporary dishes, and has a huge breadth of options, with a range of meat and fish dishes with tantalising-sounding accompaniments, plus burgers, salads and sandwiches. It’s easy to trot out the cliché “there’s something for everyone” but I think you’d be hard pushed to find someone who didn’t fancy at least one of the dishes on the well-balanced menu. A lot of the dishes have a strong local flavour – with cockles and laverbread featuring amongst the starters, alongside Glamorgan sausages!
To start, I chose smoked mackerel pate, which came with chunky granary toast. The pate was fairly coarse, but had a lovely creamy, buttery texture and flavour which tempered the mackerel’s strong flavour beautifully. It was simply presented, topped with a little oil and a few capers. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Mr W opted for mussels, which could be served with either a Provencal or Mariniere sauce. He chose the latter, and it proved an excellent choice – creamy, garlicky, rich and flavoursome, and just the right texture to coat the mussels – which were bite size and cooked to perfection. There were none that had to be discarded either! Mr W had some bread with the mussels and I couldn’t help myself from dipping it in the sauce once I’d finished my own starter, as it just tasted so good!
Still on a bit of a healthy eating mission, I chose a chicken Caesar salad for my main. Our waitress asked if I wanted anchovies (I did – even though I tend to pick them out, I like the flavour that they add!) which was a helpful touch for those who might find themselves unpleasantly surprised by a lurking anchovy in amongst the leaves! The salad was good and the dressing tasty, with plenty of crispy croutons, but the chicken was a bit bland for my liking, and I would have preferred it served warmer. I actually regretted my choice in the end and wished I’d gone for one of the other dishes that had appealed, namely a panfried cod dish, served with sweet potato mash. Next time!
Mr W chose one of the specials, which immediately intrigued us: a hot fish and chip salad. This comprised salad leaves with pea shoots, a parsley and mint dressing, cubed sauté potatoes and Tempura battered salmon pieces. At first, he wasn’t sure if the dish, however clever and innovative, actually worked (although he said from the outset that it was extremely well-executed), but as he went on, he declared it a great success. I particularly liked the Tempura battered salmon, as salmon is not often served in batter, but the light Tempura worked really well. The fresh, light flavours of the dressing and the peashoots combined to make a lovely summery salad.
We decided against a dessert as we were quite full and nothing particularly leapt out at us. Whereas the main menu was really well-balanced and offered something for everyone, the desserts were heavy on strawberries, with a summer fruit dish, a strawberry and white chocolate parfait, and a pannacotta served with strawberry compote all featuring. Other options featured pineapple and lemon – so all in all a very fruity selection!
The atmosphere in Mimosa does become bar-like towards the latter part of the evening. When we arrived, most of the tables in the dining area were taken up by diners, but as the evening wore on, these were replaced by a few drinkers who preferred to sit down rather than stand at the bar. This would be fine, but we ended up being the only people left eating, and it became very difficult to attract the attention of any of the waiting staff, as they all gravitated back to the bar. Saying that, earlier on in the evening, the service was very good, with our waitress answering our questions about the menu knowledgeably and cheerfully.
I’ll definitely be returning to Mimosa. The food we had was very good (excellent in places) and the menu left me so spoilt for choice that a return visit or three has got to be in order! Personally, I wouldn’t go there for a special occasion, and I’d book a table earlier in future (we sat down at 9 p.m.) simply because it does feel rather like you’re eating in a bar – but, admittedly, the clue is in the name! They do offer some sharing platters of ‘nibbles’ (one of the options is the delicious mackerel pate!) so it could also be a nice place to enjoy a drink and a few snacks instead – and to soak up the bar atmosphere (and perhaps people-watch from the outside seating area). For an early evening dinner before heading on for drinks (or sampling one of Mimosa’s own cocktails), though, it is a great venue, and a new addition to my small list of favourites at the Bay!
Food: **** Service: **** Ambience: ***
Mimosa Kitchen and Bar, Mermaid Quay Cardiff, South Glamorgan CF10 5BZ