Christmas Dinners that we’ve grown to love…

Brussel Sprouts

One phenomenon of the Christmas dinner (besides the pig in blanket) is its capability to change depending on whose hands it’s crafted in. Despite being constructed of the same components, somehow each home holds its own flavour – from the attributes of the gravy to the adornments on the Brussel sprouts. Crisp and fluffy roast potatoes, sausage meat stuffing and sharp cranberry sauce, it’s all the same – is it not? And although home cooks may share their culinary secrets, these are ideas merely borrowed, never replicated, making each Christmas dinner unique.

Brussel Sprouts
The Brussels sprout is a member of the Gemmifera Group of cabbages, grown for its edible buds. The leafy green vegetables are typically 2.5–4 cm in diameter and look like miniature cabbages

From sordid ingredients to poor pallet preferences, family favoured recipes aren’t always worthy of ovation but the nostalgia they hold is more valuable than a Michelin star. We asked the likes of The Potted Pig and Porro, who know their way around a kitchen, what the Christmas dinners in which they were weaned entailed.

David Watson, sous chef tells a tales of his mother’s culinary genius. With the menu finalised and a stringent strategy already in place (it’s evident this isn’t her first rodeo) the kitchen is strictly out of bounds come Christmas day. As a nation devout to tradition, the turkey still remains the centrepiece of most celebrations but not for the Watson’s! This year it’s venison accompanied by anything-but-traditional trimmings. And of course, the Christmas pudding was made months ago!

However some of our chefs came from much humbler beginnings. When asked what his mum’s Christmas dinners consisted of, Rhodri Davies, chef at The Potted Pig exclaimed “Overdone veg! The first time I had veg al dente I was convinced it was raw […] my mum didn’t think veg was done unless it was mush. My Sunday roasts were average at best and Christmas dinner was no exception.” Jane Davies, albeit “a saint”, leaves the Christmas dinner to Rhodri these days.

Christmas Veg
“my mum didn’t think veg was done unless it was mush.”

Pre-dinner pandemonium

Christmas isn’t Christmas without the pre-dinner pandemonium and it’s no different in our Shannon Daly’s house. Red of face as well as hand, her Dad’s braised red cabbage and apple is the real star of the show…sometimes. “Delicious when done right but many years has highlighted the delightful incompetence of my dad […] red cabbage, if overcooked, has this tendency to turn an inky blue but we eat it anyway for fear of stressing him out any further!”.

So whether it’s your mum’s mushy vegetables or your dad’s blue cabbage that you’ve grown to love, why not leave it to the professionals this year and dine at one of our fabulous restaurants? Each of our restaurants have crafted and created unique and equally delicious Christmas menus so you can indulge in the most festive of feasts. So if it’s a relaxing restaurant Christmas party or a festive lunch before a big night out, we’ve a handful of places to play host such as The Meating Place, The Potted Pig and Porro.

An  article by Bryony Fenton

a "typical" Family Christmas Dinner
a “typical” Family Christmas Dinner

What makes a ‘jolly holiday’?

Christmas at Mocka

Excluding the Scrooges among us, it’s known as ‘the most wonderful time of the year’ and with Christmas fast approaching many of us will have begun strategising how to spend the festive season. Undoubtedly it can also be the most stressful time of the year – from decking the halls to finding the perfect present, cultivating a Christmas is enough to make the best of us crack! So this year, ensure you take some time for yourself to enjoy the festive season. No matter how your Christmas countdown concludes, we’ve an array of ideas to ensure Christmas in Cardiff 2017 is one to remember.

Christmas in Cardiff 2017

Many of us will feel the grind on the run up to the Christmas; frantically trying tofinish those final emails before the clock strikes 5 – and often the office Christmas party is the only opportunity to blow off some steam at the end of a busy year. So whether that be a merry luncheon or a banquet to fill your boots, each of our restaurants have crafted and created unique and delicious menus so for you to indulge in – from the prime cuts of The Meating Place to the generous selection of gins that The Potted Pig have to offer.

However planning a Christmas party for your colleagues can be tricky so if you’re looking for a spot to please the masses, why not make Mocka Lounge your destination? With party packages available you can completely customise your Christmas to suit you and your guests. With Christmas cocktails and canapés to offer, as well as a dancefloor and DJ in tow, Mocka Lounge is sure to fulfill all your festive wishes!

Although a night on the tiles appeals to some, contributing to the city’s festive cheer, for others nothing says Christmas like a bit of R&R. If you’re looking to avoid the hustle and bustle of the busy city centre and long for a quiet and cosy Christmas then Porro is the place to be. With a site on Llandaff High Street, close to the famous Cathedral, you can soak up some seasonal cheer with a whole host of events throughout December, from their Christmas Fair to their carol service; Porro Llandaff is the perfect place to partake in the festivities.

Christmas in Cardiff 2017

However if you reside on the other side of town, we’ve a Porro situated on Wellfield Road. Surrounded by boutique shops and bars, Porro Wellfield (whilst welcoming to all of the family) can cater to an array of Christmas ideals. Some may wish to peruse the shops for presents whilst others make merry over mulled wine, followed by a festive feast at Porro.

Whatever Christmas means to you, we want to make sure you have a very merry Christmas in Cardiff – and what says ‘jolly holiday’ like indulging in the festivities with your favourite people? Whether it be painting the town red or relaxing with relatives, we’ve a handful of places to play host – from The Meating Place to Mocka Lounge, Porro to The Potted Pig.

An  article by Bryony Fenton

View our Christmas 2017 Booklet for all our venues!

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Christmas in Cardiff 2017 Booklet Cover
Christmas in Cardiff 2017 Booklet Cover

Has the Christmas cake fallen out of fashion?

Panettone at Porro Cardiff

With three months to go….

the Christmas connoisseurs among us will know in order to be perfectly prepared for Christmas, now is the time to get planning. With your sloe berries a’brewing next on the list is the classic Christmas cake. This traditional treat requires a frequent tipple, commanding constant care on the run up to Christmas – however this effort doesn’t quite equate for the inevitable waste come the end of December. It would seem that the Christmas cake has fallen out of fashion as its Italian counterpart Panettone is taking centre stage. To get a piece of the action, Porro is the place for all things Italian(ish).




Distinctive domes of burnished gold, candied citrus peels and gems of dried Panettone at Porro Cardifffruit, the panettone certainly has more stage presence than the humble Christmas cake. This sweet, yeasty treat – with dough akin to sourdough and crumb compared to brioche – is a complex bread-like bake that can be indulged in after dinner with a digestif, or basted in butter with a cup of coffee. The versatility of which is what makes it so very desirable! Being considerably lighter in texture than a sticky fruit cake, it’s no wonder that the panettone is polished off before the season is up!

Panettone at Porro Cardiff

This particular Christmas confectionary has been enjoyed by Italians since the Middle Ages. The mastery of the bake has moved through the generations but still remains true to its original form today. Prodigious pats of butter and fistfuls of dried fruits are kneaded into spheres before being placed in circular cases for proving. (Whilst panettone needs preparation time to prove, it’s no feat compared to feeding a Christmas cake). Once baked, panettones are hung upside down to cool to ensure the curved cake tops don’t collapse.

Although this alternative to the Christmas cake takes less laborious hours to make, the iconic rise seems beyond reach for even the most seasoned of bakers. As the year yields to an end you’ll find these yuletide loaves displayed in shops, elaborately laced with ribbons in decadent boxes, perfect for gifting your loved ones at Christmas.

Panettone at Porro

When asked, Porro revealed their plans for their take on a panettone pudding. A festive fusion of Italian and British, Porro’s Christmas menu offers ‘panettone bread & butter pudding’, encapsulating the true essence of Porro – all things Italian(ish).

An  article by Bryony Fenton

Panettone at Porro Cardiff
Toasted Panettone with butter served warm  at Porro Cardiff