In the leafy suburb of Pontcanna, Cardiff's version of Hampstead, lies the city's newest burger bar. Urban Diner may be the newbie on the block, just 6 weeks old, but I predict it won't be overshadowed for long. It sits amongst local favourites such as The Cameo Club and Cafe Brava but has styled it's offerings with a simpler approach. That is to serve a great, juicy burger and all the trimmings in urban chic surroundings at a great price. I forgot to take a photo of the menu but from memory there was a choice of half dozen burger styles along with salads, appetizers and classic American desserts.
We had planned to visit Cafe Brava which, thankfully was filled to the rafters. Had it not been we would not have found this gem. Although we were the only ones there at the time, the atmosphere was great. We were welcomed warmly, given our choice of seats and settled in to the sounds of country music in the background. My regular readers will know that John is American, and so you can trust his US'ometer when it comes to authenticity. For him it came close. The only thing missing was the obligatory pitcher of iced water as soon as you sit down in an American diner.
Our tastes are so similar and instead of doing the smart thing and ordering two different meals we settled on the Urban Burger and sweet potato fries. The liquid accompaniment for me was one of the best Mojitos I have tried this side of the pond. John had one of the alcohol free cocktails. Delicous.
Food delivered promptly we just sat and stared at it for a while wondering how to approach the Kilimanjaro of the burger world. What we got was a patty of drippingly succulent Welsh beef and Welsh Monteray Jack with bacon, pickle, salad and a spicy dressing with just the right amount of kick without overpowering any other ingredient. They pride themselves on buying locally.
One bite into the burger I was hooked. It passed the chin drip test as I felt the juice drool.
And the sweet potato fries, like an armadillo, crunchy on the outside soft on the inside - PERFECTION! For both of us, the standard of sweet potato fry is the measure of a place. These passed muster easily.
Good job chef!
I have read a couple of negative reviews on the Urban Diner online. Based on our experience they are ungrounded. All reviews were given within their first week of operation. Anyone who has started anything new, a job, a relationship, even a pair of shoes knows that there is some "break in" involved. From our experience they now know exactly what they are doing and where they see their future. They have plans. Live music, expansion of menu when the time is right. For me I would like to see some more exotic meats in their burgers, maybe wild boar, venison etc., but for now it's where it should be.
To those doubters, give it another go.
Nothing but encouragement coming from this direction.
Urban Diner were not expecting us and we paid full price for our meal.