I have always been a huge fan of Garlands in Cardiff, it was a regular haunt for me when working in the city, either for a ‘working’ breakfast of poached eggs on toast or for a lunch of hearty thick chunky vegetable broth.
I was therefore chuffed to hear that Garlands was coming to Cowbridge, although also disappointed to see such a traditional institution such as Huddarts close its doors to make room for it.
For some reason or other it has taken us a while before giving Garlands in Cowbridge a try, but one Friday morning we decided to pop in for a family breakfast.
The decor is quite rustic, with an injection of industrial about it with its iron lighting, open brick work, mismatched chairs and hessian backed benches, oh and a lot of pink. There is a good selection of board games to choose from, giving you the feeling that you could easily waste away an afternoon there.
We arrived pretty early and were the first to walk in through the doors at just after 10:00 a.m. The menu was slightly strange and expected an element of telepathy as we were supposed to know what was in the Full Meaty, Good Morning Mumbles and Shirley Bassey breakfasts were without any description. Am I missing something?
On asking we were informed that the full meaty had sausage, bacon, baked beans, grilled tomato, mushrooms, black pudding and hashbrowns, and the Shirley Bassey had more of it. The Mumbles breakfast had cockles, I should have guessed!
Despite being child friendly with high chairs, and games, there was no kiddies breakfast on offer. We ordered a Full Meaty (for the typical man), A Shirley Bassey (for me) and two lots of pancakes with blueberry compote for the kiddies and a small plate for the little one to have a bit of everything.
Ok, so far so good, but then it started to go down hill a little. After ordering the waiter returned and informed us that there was no blueberry made up so were we ok with bacon and maple syrup pancakes? The boys agreed, and so these were ordered instead. Not a major problem.
The breakfast came served with oven chips, and bearing in mind it was not long after ten in the morning, they didn’t really appeal. Assuming it was a mistake we asked where the hash browns were. The waiter apologised and returned to the kitchen in pursuit of the hash browns but returned and said that as there was a new chef there weren’t any, so we had oven chips instead. Not the answer we we were hoping for.
The breakfast in itself was decent enough (apart from the bland anaemic oven chips and some pretty unseasoned scrambled egg) and it was a decent cup of coffee. The pancakes would have been better with blueberries as the bacon was a bit greasy and wasn’t the crispy sort you would usually have with pancakes and as a result they didn’t go down very well.
In brief, the whole experience fell short of it’s Cardiff offering and promise and we left feeling disappointed. I will return and give it a second chance in the hope that it is better next time and I would love to be proved wrong as I really want to support local businesses like this. With some minor tweaks I’m sure it could be really very good, but unless it improves its act it’s unlikely to survive in Cowbridge, where the competition is tough and has much better alternatives on offer.
Family Friendly Rating: ***
High Chairs – Yes
Baby Changing –No
Childrens Menu – No
Other Info: N/A