There was nothing gloomy about the bright opening night at Grey Restaurant in Cardiff’s Hilton Hotel. Champagne sparkled, gin cocktails encouraged joviality and never-ending trays of tempting tasters from the menu meant everyone left well-fed and feeling cheerful.
Why Grey? It’s named after the order of Franciscan Grey Friar monks that used to inhabit the site on which the restaurant now lies (overlooking Cardiff Castle) and is meant to conjure up a sense of heritage, linking the space to “a social haven of peace, a warm cocoon of simplistic style.” Yes, we can go with that..
Drinks: The night began with Pommery Champagne, then signature gin cocktails served from the sparkly bar adorned with four giant glass ice-cubes spelling out GREY in the centre of the restaurant (which proffers a nice choice of Welsh spirits and craft beers including gin from The Cardiff Gin Company).
Food: We were treated to a mouthwatering array of tasters from the menu created by head chef Mark Freeman, many of which showcased local produce.
Savouries included Grey’s Feel Good Salad (with golden and candy striped beetroots, quinoa), Cefn Mawr Farm Beef Burger in a toasted brioche with smoked chilli jam and Caerphilly cheese, Grey’s signature Lobster Club Sandwich, a full roast dinner in a tin, Sesame Seared Tuna Loin in an oriental salad with wasabi and Ty Gwyn Cider Steamed Mussels with Trealy Farm chorizo and baked ciabatta.
Bonus: I learned from a most charming Belgian waiter the proper way to eat mussels – using an empty shell as a pincer. How did I get to my age without knowing that?!
Delish desserts included chocolate gnocchi and a lemon risotto cake with elderflower cream
We’ve been invited back to explore the menu further so watch this space for a meal review soon.
More information: Grey, at the Hilton Hotel, Kingsway, Cardiff CF10 3HH www.greyrestaurant.co.uk