Not quite Cardiff but only a short distance out, it’s well worth making the trip to Dinas Powys for a meal at The Humble Onion. Antonio Simone is the humble chef in the kitchen of this humble space, serving up food which is anything but humble – indeed it sits loud and proud on the plate speaking eloquently for each ingredient!
It’s a small, unassuming space, sparsely decorated but appealing. If I could advocate for one change it would be that the tables of 4 be a touch larger in length – I’m on the larger side and felt rather elbow to elbow with the friend seated next to me.
The menu is short but with plenty to tempt. Chef Simone also offers an additional main dish to give our vegetarian friends more choice.
Aged steak tartare, egg yolk, pickled shallots, focaccia crisp (£13) is well-balanced; sweet sharp pickle cuts through the deeply umami beef and rich egg yolk, with crunch from the toasted focaccia
Sweetbreads are featured on menus far too rarely for my liking, so I fixated on lamb sweetbreads, sourdough, hazelnut burnt butter (£8.50) immediately. They don’t disappoint, cooked perfectly with browned surface and marshmallow-soft interior, they pair wonderfully with the herbed butter and hazelnuts.
Confit pork belly, braised white cabbage, cider cream (£19.50) comes with a jug of rich gravy and is a perfect Sunday roast kind of dish. The pork is good, with soft meat and wobbly fat, and a layer of crackling that is a crispy and chewy delight. The glossy gravy is rich and meaty.
The cabbage is the weakest link for me; not a patch on the seasonal autumn greens (also cabbage) available as a side order.
The menu has one vegetarian main listed: roast cauliflower, cauliflower purée, spiced bulgur wheat, salted almonds (£16.50), which is beautifully presented and declared delicious.
The extra off-menu vegetarian main of gnocchi with wild mushrooms is a popular choice. The gnocchi are blanketted with a rich, thick and creamy French-Italian style mushroom sauce. Comfort food on a rainy day.
Humble chips (£4) are utterly fabulous – that perfect balance of crisp fried exterior and soft potato inside. Sesame lifts the autumnal greens (£4.50) without clashing with mains.
Desserts are as good as the savoury dishes. Gin-compressed strawberries, chantilly cream, basil, meringue (£8) is the very best version of an Eton Mess; raspberry sorbet (£5) and mango sorbet (£5) offer lighter options that are still packed with flavour.
Three courses runs from £29 to £47 depending on your choices; quite reasonable for the quality of ingredients and cooking.
Definitely one to visit for anyone that loves good quality ingredients deftly cooked and simply plated.
Read our reviews for other restaurants in and near Cardiff.