The hardest part about writing again is deciding where to start.
"Can we go somewhere nice?", asked Mr MnM, still in counselling from the time I made him come to review Harvester with me.
Hmmm, somewhere nice. I checked my list of Macmongers (if that's not the technical term for people who sell Macaroni cheese then it should be) and, being me, immediately gave up and asked Twitter.
The Hashery won by a clear mile, and with the promise of 2-4-1 cocktails, we set out on a sunny Sunday afternoon.
Opening last December on the former Bella Italia site, The Hashery has had quite the makeover. Industrial lighting, graffiti art and comic-books on the ceiling, it's the kind of achingly cool look that is becoming ubiquitous at craft beer bars up and down the country. I do worry how long this look can survive before it starts to look dated.
We chose a seat inside and we're immediately brought the menus and some water for the table, inexplicably served in a teapot. Quickly opting to take advantage of the 2-4-1 cocktails, we decided on some refreshing mojitos (£6.95) and perused the food menu. Burgers are the main event, with a good selection of mussel pots and Cubanos style sandwiches. I chose the Big Chix burger (£8.95), whilst Mr MnM picked the Orchard mussel pot (£9.95), with sides of Onion Rings (£3.95) and, the main event, their X-Rated Mac n Cheese (£4.95).
We enjoyed our mojitos and listened to some classic Stone Roses whilst we waited for food, admiring the "confession wall" by the bar (think Postsecret if it had silver sharpies and more booze). Service was brisk and our food was soon with us.
Mr MnM tucked into his mussels, cooked in apple, sage and cider with some bonus cockles thrown in for extra sweetness. The mussels were juicy and plump and all open, a good start! The sweetness of the cider was offset by the tart apple and earthy sage making for a wonderfully balanced dish. His only complaint was the bread wasn't very "rustic" and lack of a finger bowl.
My burger was similarly impressive – chargrilled chicken breast with mozzarella, tomato, lettuce, mushrooms and The Hashery's special mayo. I was worried that the mushrooms would be too wet and cause the bun to turn to mush but I'm pleased to say it held. The mozzarella was suitably stringy but not too heavy on the cheese, which given the Mac n Cheese, is probably a good thing!
The Mac itself was served in a small, deep bowl. Heavy on the cheese, this was a wonderfully creamy dish. Elbow macaroni nestled amongst the salty cheese sauce, peppered with crunchy asparagus and crispy pancetta. When I first read the description, I was adamant the asparagus wouldn't work. Reader, I am pleased to report I was wrong. Because of the heavy amount of cheese, the dish was a tad greasy, saved only by the grassy asparagus, breaking up the solid mass and giving some much needed crunch to proceedings.
Lunch and drinks came to £34.75. All in all, we enjoyed our meal at The Hashery and would definitely pop back for lunch and more of those cocktails.
The Hashery, 6 High Street, Cardiff
Open 7 days a week, 11.30am – 12am (1am Thurs – Sat)
Tel: 02920 228513