Set in the beautiful Edwardian Wyndham arcade, Bill’s Cardiff has been wining and dining guests for as long as I can remember.
In recent years, there has been a flurry of independents and chain restaurants opening across Cardiff, including the popular Ivy and Botanist brands. How does Bill’s compete with such stiff competition? It turns out very well…
Having undergone a major refurbishment in 2019, Bill’s Cardiff hasn’t aged an inch. You are welcomed immediately with modern decor, luxurious velvet seating and stunning chandeliers. It’s fresh and interesting and we were continually eyeing up the decoration and finding something new to talk about.
Having recently reopened indoors in May following the lockdown in Wales, Bill’s have launched with new limited-edition dishes and “Twist & Shout” cocktails – and we were lucky enough to be invited to give it a try.
We ordered a selection of Bill’s cocktails from the new menu including Blood Orange Gin & Fever Tree Mediterranean Tonic and Bill’s Gin Twist (Pink Pin and Prosecco). This was a refreshing start to our visit and being such huge gin fans ourselves, it was a nice way to kick off World Gin Day’s eve.
Our server was highly knowledgable and was able to recommend cocktails based on our preference, so don’t be afraid to ask if you’re not sure. Bill’s are currently running a number of offers on their cocktails, which allows you to try a variety of drinks.
We opted for starters from the main dinner menu, choosing to begin with the Devilled Chicken Skewers (£6.95) and Bill’s Spiced Tortillas (£4.25). The dishes arrived promptly to the table and presented well, and were full of flavour. In particular, the spicy barbecue glaze that wasn’t that spicy was really good and despite fair portion sizes, I was left wanting more (no bad thing).
The tortillas (which were spiced) were really enjoyable and came with a selection of dips – the menu doesn’t mention which ones you’ll get, so double check with your server. We found the range suitable for a wide range of palettes – whether you wanted something cool and refreshing or if you wanted to turn it up a notch with Bill’s salsa.
We selected our mains from the Twist & Shout menu. I decided to go for the Steak & Chips – a classic Bill’s dish if you have been before. It’s a large minute steak that has been chargrilled so again, a dish that is full of flavour. Instead of house fries, the flat iron steak comes with spicy fried potatoes and Bloody Mary ketchup. The potatoes definitely gave the dish an added twist (no pun intended). All of the dishes on this menu are priced at £12.95 each.
The generous portions continued with the Coronation Chicken Burger, so it was probably a good thing that our starters left us wanting more as we certainly got it. As with all items on this menu, they take Bill’s classic dishes and mix them up a bit. So if you are looking for something slightly different, I’d recommend checking out this menu whilst you still can. I believe it’s only available until the end of June, so you’ll have to be quick. The burger itself is buttermilk fried chicken in a sesame bun with curry mayo. However, the twist doesn’t stop there as accompanied is coriander slaw, spicy chutney and rosemary salted fries – although the latter, we couldn’t really taste the rosemary, but this is perhaps because of the other flavours.
Jumping back to the main menu for our desserts, we opted for Bill’s Flowerpot (£7.50) and the Warm Triple Chocolate Brownie (£6.50).
As the name suggests, the triple chocolate brownie was very rich in chocolate. It was deliciously moist and broke away easily. I’m not sure if the addition of a chocolate flake was needed, but it was a nice touch. The vanilla ice cream balanced out the chocolateness, although I wished I had left some for the end. Oops.
The Bill’s Flowerpot is where things started to get a little more interesting. In essence it’s a red berry cheesecake, but the ‘twist’ is that the flowerpot is in fact made out of chocolate. It reminded us of something we would perhaps see Heston Blumenthal cook up or something we would discover in Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory. The chocolate soil, strawberries and the concept of an edible flower was also interesting (a good interesting).
A thoroughly enjoyable experience from start to finish. It was nice to see Bill’s finally reopen after being shut for much of the last year as have so many restaurants have been. Bill’s Cardiff is a real hidden gem. With so many new restaurants across Cardiff, it is far too easy to forget about this place. A lot of time and effort has clearly gone into giving this restaurant a refresh (inside and out) and without damaging its long-standing history, individuality and reputation for quality – something which is often lost overtime.
To book a table or for further information, please visit www.bills-website.co.uk