When it comes to eating out, a chain restaurant would be very unlikely to make my shortlist. I’m yet to find one I love but that doesn’t mean I won’t give them a chance so I was very grateful to be invited along to Miller and Carter Steakhouse in the grounds of the Cardiff Red Dragon Centre.
I have to admit, the location didn’t give me high hopes but once inside, I was pleasantly surprised. It was very busy for a Monday evening and we were promptly shown to our seats next to a lovely modern fire. The atmosphere was cosy with low lighting and candles on the tables. It had an obvious chain feel to it with staff in uniforms and their polished speeches ready, but it was nice and we felt relaxed.
Our drinks orders were taken straight away but we did have to wait a while for our food orders to be taken. It was extremely busy. The waitress who took our orders was very friendly and knowledgable. She was able to talk in detail to us about the different cuts of steak available and how they should be cooked. When I told her I usually like my steak rare but due to guidelines about eating rare meat when pregnant I had to have it well done, she politely suggested a different cut of meat to the one I had picked that was best served medium- well done. I was impressed, and I have to say she was definitely right.
Along with the steaks, there was a varied selection of alternatives available from fish dishes to burgers to pasta. For me it was all about the steak but it was very nice to see that they cater for everyone and the dishes looked very appealing.
To start, I ordered a Cherry Tomato, Mozzarella and Rocket Salad and Mr V had Black Pearl Scallops. Both were very well presented, and looked of a high quality. My salad was very nice. It was fresh and simple with a good flavour combination.
Mr V’s scallops were served on a bed of black pudding and pancetta with a balsamic glaze. The flavours worked beautifully together but the scallops were slightly over cooked. It could have been lovely if the scallops were cooked perfectly.
For our mains, I went for a rump steak medium-well done with a peppercorn sauce. Mr V was going to have Barbecued ribs but they had run out (we were told this immediately and very apologetically) so he opted for a rare fillet steak with a Béarnaise sauce. The steaks arrived with fries, onion loaf and roasted cherry tomatoes. All steaks were also served with a lettuce wedge with a sauce of choice served as an accompaniment. I chose a bacon and honey mustard dressing and Mr V chose garlic and chive mayonnaise with Parmesan.
The lettuce arrived at our table about 10 minutes before the steaks which seemed a little odd. In fact I found the whole concept of an iceberg lettuce in a bowl with a meal slightly unusual but it did actually work quite well once the rest of the food arrived. It was nice to have something fresh and crisp with the meal.
The steaks were very good. My rump was tender and juicy and cooked perfectly as was Mr V’s fillet. The chips were ok but I personally like to have chunky chips rather than fries with my steak but that’s just a personal preference. The onion loaf was an interesting alternative to onion rings.
The only compliant I have was that the peppercorn sauce wasn’t very pleasant. It didn’t taste like any peppercorn sauce I have ever had before or would want to have again. It was thin and runny, not creamy like I’d expect.
Service was generally very good apart from when Mr V ordered another glass of wine when the mains arrived. The wine was not brought to us until after we had finished the mains and the plates had been cleared so we sent it back. That was disappointing and this is where I find some chains very lacking. Rather than having one waiter or waitress throughout the meal, each had a different role. Mr V ordered his wine from one person, when she eventually told the bar staff, a ticket was printed and put on a tray while another person made the drinks, another person then collected each tray and delivered the drinks. If any customers went to the bar for a drink, they were given preference over any waiting table orders.
Verdict: Apart from the little service little blip we had a good night. The food was largely good as was the atmosphere. The selection of steaks were impressive and I would certainly recommend Miller and Carter to a steak lover. At just under £22 for an 8oz fillet steak it wasn’t cheap but the portions were large and the quality good.
As chains go, this is a good one and despite the location, if you’re into your steak, it shouldn’t be ignored.
My last mouthful: The fillet steak
We were invited to Miller and Carter Steakhouse as guests so our meal was complimentary