Let’s get one thing out of the way…
Yes: the Heathcock is a pub. Yes: it serves food. No: it does not serve ‘typical pub grub’. If you’re seeking the standard public house fare of gammon, egg & chips – this is probably not the place to go.
A thriving local which prides itself on keeping your thirst at bay with a wide selection of ales, craft beers, wines and homemade tipples, the Heathcock in Cardiff has been an old Llandaff favourite for over a century.
In 2018, this neglected old building was given a new lease of life, courtesy of Tom and Sarah Watts-Jones – owners of the renowned Hare and Hounds in Aberthin– who transformed it. That’s some lineage, but the Heathcock in Cardiff is now firmly established in its own right: head Chef Dave Killick’s dedication to showcasing local produce shines through in everything they do, and their kitchen garden provides them with homegrown fruit and vegetables. While General Manager Guy Ennever’s vast experience ensures that you’ll receive a knowledgeable and welcoming service from the team.
Prior to lockdown, sharing dishes formed a large part of the joy of eating at the Heathcock: from pies to slow cooked lamb shoulder or sharing steaks to whole Welsh baked sea bass, the reassuring thunk of those hefty cast-iron casseroles arriving at the table was one of those immediately comforting sounds. Those days will return: a single sharing plate option is still available, but the current menu favours small plates – changing daily to reflect the season and the best of the day’s local ingredients. As we edge into autumn, crisp pan-fried hake with cockles and shrimp take you back to summer days on the beach, while the wild sea bass with meaty girolles wraps you up, and proposes that you pull on that winter jumper and curl up by the fire.
There is a focus on game of the highest quality. You can expect grouse, venison and quail to make regular appearances; the braised rabbit pappardelle signature dish has already become a local classic. And yes, the Hare and Hounds’ exemplary soufflé has made it across county borders.
This is one of those rare pubs which is equally good at serving you a quick pint and a bar snack on the way home from work, or being your weekend feast treat. Surroundings are relaxed and informal; pretension is not a word in the Heathcock’s vocabulary. Add the bonus of their Bakery opening in late September 2020, and you can rest assured that whatever the reason for your visit, you’ll be making a return trip soon.
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