Sunday 8 November 2009

Ty Mawr, near Lisvane, Cardiff

Set on high ground with sweeping views of the surrounding countryside and suburbia, Ty Mawr's setting is a cut above that of the average Brains-owned pub. The large interior, split between a bar and restaurant, is full of wooden beams and blackboards. The menu, which ranges from Welsh cawl to swordfish steak to Texan chilli, is suspiciously long and international, but the food is generally excellent, given the low prices. On a Sunday lunchtime, you can order a slow-roasted shoulder of lamb (£12), which is a generous hunk of delicious meat that falls easily off the bone, lying on a bed of creamy mash potatoes doused in gravy. It is accompanied by slightly over-cooked carrots and broccoli. Both the scampi, served with chips and a salad of well-dressed cherry tomatoes, cucumber and lettuce, and the roast beef with Yorkshire pudding (£8), also make for tasty and filling plates of food. Alternatively, you can get a moist piece of fish, caked in a thin and light batter, served with fat chips and some minty, mushy peas. There is a dedicated kids menu or children can have slightly smaller versions of the adult meals for just £4.50 and most will struggle to finish their plate.

Mini doughnuts
The deserts include a small mountain of mouthwatering and moreish chocolate sponge full of hot chocolate sauce, served with ice cream and a strawberry. Among the four deserts on the kids menu, all just 99 pence, is a big bowl of decent ice cream or four mini doughnuts served with a chocolate or strawberry sauce. The drinks are also very reasonable - a pint of Brains bitter, which is smooth and refreshing for an ale, is £2.35. Unsurprisingly, it can be tough to get a table inside on a November Sunday, but there are plenty of tables outside, if the sun is shining. From here, there are fine views and you can keep an eye on the kids running around the playground or the big, bumpy, grass lawn, which is good for a kick around. 8/10