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Top notch nosh to eat in 2018; TASTE I Wales is a pretty impressive place when it comes to eating out and there's certainly something to tickle everybody's tastebuds, whether you are a curry fan, vegan or keen for a tasty meal out. These are our must-try dishes, in no particular order...

A STEAMED BAO BUN FROM CEN AT CELTIC MANOR Where: Celtic Manor, Coldra Woods, The Usk Valley, Newport, NP18 1HQ. Tel: 01633 410262.

If you haven't tried Larkin Cen's restaurant in the Manor House of the Celtic Manor perhaps you could tick it off your list in 2018. There are lovely sharing platters and Asian-inspired cocktails but it's these delicious fluffy steamed bao buns that we're after.

BOOZY MUSSELS AT THE HASHERY Where: High Street, Cardiff. Tel: 029 2022 8513.

The Hashery serves mussels as its speciality dish.

You can get boozy pig ones with pancetta and Pernod as well as Thai Green or smoked mackerel. Totally mouth-watering. They also serve two-for-one cocktails all day, everyday.

LAKSA AT ADMIRAL ST DAVID'S Where: St David's Hotel & Spa, Havannah Street, Cardiff, CF10 5SD. Tel: 029 2045 4045.

It's a restaurant which draws inspiration from the eclectic food culture of Australasia at St David's Hotel the menu includes Thai sweet potato curry, chicken laksa, lemongrass-marinated Welsh lamb and crispy Malaysian sea bream. The chicken laksa is served with egg noodles, stir-fried vegetables, fried Asian shallots and fried egg.

DAILY CATCH FISH FINGERS AT PORTH EIRIAS Where: Promenade, Colwyn Bay, LL29 8HH. Tel: 01492 577525.

Forget the humble fish finger, you haven't tasted fish fingers until you've tasted these at Bryn Williams' North Wales restaurant. They are made from the catch-of-the-day fish and served with fries, crushed peas and tartare sauce. Truly scrumptious.

SEABASS TACOS AT DYLAN'S MENAI BRIDGE Where: St George's Road, Menai Bridge, LL59 5EY. Tel: 01248 716714.

With a terrace looking out over the Menai Strait, Dylan's offers a great pit stop. And even if it's just a quick break - they offer a range of small plates which include octopus pintxos and seabass tacos. There's also main meals, a burger selection and the pizzas are out of this world.

SEARED SCALLOPS FROM PYSGOTY Where: S Marine Terrace, Aberystwth, SY23 1JY. Tel: 01970 624611.

This cafe-bar offers a selection of freshly-prepared fish and shellfish caught by fishermen in Cardigan Bay - but the menu is dictated by the sea and the seasons so is changeable. The seared scallops with pea and wasabi puree and ham are lovely.

CRAB AT COAST Where: Coppet Hall Beach, Saundersfoot, Pembrokeshire, SA69 9AJ. Tel: 01834 810800.

Coast is a purpose-built restaurant which overlooks the beach and it's keen to promote and use locally-sourced Pembrokeshire ingredients. The fish - including the crab - is out of this world.

SUCKLING PIG AT ASADOR 44 Where: 14-15 Quay Street, Cardiff, CF10 1EA. Tel: 029 2002 0039.

The fourth venture from award-winning tapas restaurant Bar 44 , it specialises in northern Spanish cooking - in particular, the 'asador'-style, which involves chargrilling meat, fish and vegetables over charcoal and wood. This dish is Segovian suckling pig belly, smoked morcilla, charred courgette and caramelised heritage carrots.

TUNA PINTXOS IN CURADO BAR Where: 2 Guildhall Place, Westgate Street, Cardiff, CF10 1EB. Tel: 029 2034 4336.

Think air-dried tuna, Afuega'l pitu cheese, tomato, almonds and honey on bread. Truly mouthwatering. This bar, restaurant and deli has truly amazing tapas - as well as an amazing selection of cheese.

A 6OZ SHROOM MELT AT MEAT AT 156 Where: 156 City Road, Cardiff. Tel: 029 2048 8739.

Come to this restaurant selling burgers, steaks and milkshakes and you can devour a 3oz or 6oz burger. The Shroom Melt is served with portobello mushrooms, oozing with blue cheese or cheddar.

A PHILHARMONIC BURGER FROM THE PHILHARMONIC Where: 76-77 St Mary Street, Cardiff. Tel: 029 2132 0740.

As well as a huge booze selection - 50 different gins, anyone? - a varied menu caters for early-risers, light-lunchers and gourmet diners. You can order everything from a 7oz fillet steak to slow-cooked pork belly - but our favourite is the Philharmonic Burger - it's 6oz of beautiful Japanese Wagyu beef with wild mushrooms and Cabernet sauce.

PORK COOKED FOUR WAYS AT TYDDYN LLAN Where: Tyddyn Llan, Llandrillo, near Corwen, Denbighshire, LL21 0ST. Tel: 01490 440264.

Why have succulent meat cooked in one way when you can have it in four? Local pork four ways is pork belly with black pudding, roast fillet, braised cheek, breaded trotter, shallot and thyme puree.

35-DAY AGED RIB EYE STEAK AT MARCO PIERRE WHITE'S STEAKHOUSE AND GRILL Where: 6th Floor, Dominions Arcade, Dominions House, Queen Street, Cardiff, CF10 2AR. Tel: 029 2010 2711.

If you are a steak fan and want to eat looking out at stunning views of the Welsh capital, you may want to head here. There is grilled 35-day-aged rib eye or sirloin for PS25.95 and you can add a sauce for PS3.50. You can also choose from burgers, roast and pies.

SWEETCORN FRITTERS AT TURTLE BAY Where: 10 Castle Street, Swansea SA1 1JF and 114-116 St Mary Street, Cardiff, CF10 1DY. Tel: 01792 467060/029 2034 2006.

Turtle Bay has revealed its first ever dedicated vegan and vegetarian menu for Veganuary. The Caribbean-inspired dishes and drinks include 'cutters', which they say are inspired by the beach shack and street vendors across the Caribbean, including the sweetcorn fritters.

SMOKED HADDOCK BUBBLE AND SQUEAK AT COCORICO Where: 35 Whitchurch Road, Cardiff, CF14 3JN. Tel: 029 2132 8177.

They narrowly missed out on winning BBC Two's Bake Off Creme de la Creme, but owner Laurian Veaudor doesn't just make amazing pastries. There is also a cafe that serves some great choices for brunch or dinner, including their modern take on bubble and squeak which they serve with wilted kale, poached egg and mustard cream.

VENISON AT THE BEACH HOUSE Where: Oxwich Bay, Gower, Swansea, SA3 1LS. Tel: 01792 390965.

The fallow deer dish served at the AA Welsh Restaurant of the Year is seared lion, served with a crispy wonton, celeriac, quince, swede and harissa sauce.

JILL'S FAMOUS CURRIED GOAT AT JAMAICAN JILLS Where: The City Gates, Little Wind Street, SA1 1EE. Tel: 01792 476222.

Authentic Jamaican food - the goat dish (which is gluten free) is slow-cooked boneless goat marinated in special spices and served with rice and peas, a fried ripe plantain and house salad.

THE FISH MARKET AT ON THE HILL Where: 1 Upper Clwyd Street, Ruthin, LL15 1HY. Tel: 01824 707736.

This dish has stuffed sole paupiette, pan-fried sea bass and salmon fillet, potted smoked haddock 'au gratin', crispy cod goujon, salt cod fishcake, creamed peas, beetroot tartar dressing, Provencal relish with saute potatoes and samphire.

TEMPURA OF COCKLES AT THE FELINFACH GRIFFIN Where: Felin Fach, Brecon, LD3 0UB. Tel: 01874 620111.

It's one of the starters in this restaurant right in the middle of the beautiful Brecon Beacons and it's a tempura of cockles, with seaweed and bacon mayonnaise.

TRIO OF FISH AT TY'N RHOS Where: Ty'n Rhos, Seion, Llanddeiniolen, Caernarfon, LL55 3AE. Tel: 01248 670489.

Ty'n Rhos is a hotel set in countryside between Snowdonia and Anglesey.

Menus are produced daily, depending on what good produce the chefs have sourced that day, and you can select either a two, three or five course evening dinner. We'd recommend the pan-fried John Dory, roasted scallops, sea bass en croute with lobster sauce.

T-BONE VEAL STEAK WITH BUTTER AND SAGE SAUCE AT VITTORIO'S Where: 113 Stow Hill, Newport, NP20 4ED. Tel: 01633 840261.

This Newport Italian cooks a mean T-bone steak, served with a butter and sage sauce.

DIRTY FRIES AT GOT BEEF, CARDIFF Where: 83 Whitchurch Road, Cardiff, CF14 3JP. Tel: 029 2061 7534.

These are the perfect side order to some of their amazing burgers which include the Hangover, Bonjour, David Hameron and Jack and the Beanstalk. They have been smothered with melted American cheese with a chipotle sauce.

YAN YAM CURRY FROM ANNA LOKA Where: 114 Albany Road, Cardiff, CF24 3RU. Tel: 029 2049 7703.

Vegan eaterie Anna Loka's dish contains yam potato, cauliflower and peas cooked in a tomato, coconut and tamarind sauce, served with sultana wild rice coriander lime dressing and a side sweet corn fritters with chilli mayo. Divine.

GALUTI KEBAB FROM RASOI KITCHEN Where: Bryntirion Road, Pontlliw, Swansea, SA4 9DY. Tel: 01792 882409.

It's no coincidence that this curry house in Swansea was named the top one in Wales in 2017. This starter is a pan-seared lamb cake with Warqi paratha and mint yoghurt.

EXOTIC MEAT AT THE STUFFED DORMOUSE Where: Ponthir Road, Caerleon. Tel: 01633 430142.

The Stuffed Dormouse serves everything from horse sirloin steak to reindeer haunch steak and kangaroo fillet to zebra steak - as well as crocodile.

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<B Larkin's steamed bao bun and, right, dirty fries at Got Beef
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Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Article Type:Restaurant review
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jan 13, 2018
Words:1411
Previous Article:STRAIGHT OFF THE VINE.
Next Article:15 January 2017; MONDAY.
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