It’s very rare I go out for dinner somewhere and I’m blown away by the whole experience – but that was the case last weekend when I ate at Chapel 1877. Ashley took me to Cardiff for my birthday and had booked a table – he managed to keep it a surprise, which I loved.
Upon arrival, I couldn’t believe how beautiful the exterior of the restaurant was. Formerly a chapel (hence the name), the gothic architecture was so striking – with its turrets and towers, it was almost castle-esque. I was in even more awe once I stepped inside. With a bar on the ground floor and a restaurant on the next two floors, I couldn’t help but stare at the high ceilings, the intricate brickwork, the ornate chandeliers and spectacular glass arches. The decor really was mesmerising – and it was then that I knew that this would be a night to remember.
From our table, we had a great view of the rest of the dining area, as well as the bar – and although it was fairly busy, I never felt as though the other couples were intrusive. The ambience was just perfect: lively, but also intimate.
I knew I wouldn’t order a starter, but Ash chose the chicken liver parfait with toasted brioche and chutney. I tried a little bit and the parfait was divine – not too rich but lovely and smooth. The brioche was light, but there could have been an extra slice, as is usually the way when ordering a pâté dish. Neither of us can remember what was in the chutney but it complemented the parfait well and it definitely had a slight kick.
As we were both ordering red meat for our main meals, I left Ash to choose the wine – he always does a good job – and he picked an Argentinean Malbec, which wasn’t intense or overwhelming in the slightest. If anything, it went down far too easily, with a slight sweet smoothness.
After changing my mind several times, I chose the sirloin steak (rare), which was served with Chapel chips, grilled mushroom and tomato. With a choice of sauces, I decided on peppercorn, which was hot, but I loved it. I say it a lot, but this was honestly one of the nicest steaks I’ve ever had. It was cooked to perfection. Ash opted for the duck breast with potato rosti and beetroot braised red cabbage. At first, he was a bit sceptical as he doesn’t like beetroot – but it ended up being the right decision, he thoroughly enjoyed it. The duck was served pink (there was the option to have it well done) and was so succulent – and the plate was beautifully presented.
Even though I struggled to eat all my steak and Ash had to help me out, we ordered dessert because the sticky toffee pudding sounded amazing. And it was. The banana ice cream melted on the hot sponge and the sticky toffee sauce was so rich. There’s no way I could have eaten the whole plate myself, but it was lush.
After dinner, we went down the spiral staircase to the bar area for cocktails. Of course, I had to have an espresso martini; while Ash chose a rum and ginger beer concoction. We sat in a cosy corner, as the bar area was quite busy with a large party. But it was a perfect end to a perfect evening. We have already decided to return when we next visit Cardiff – and honestly, nothing could be faulted. Chapel 1877 is a beautiful restaurant, the service was excellent and the food and drink was also very good. It’s fair to say, it was the best birthday.
Love, Lucy xx