What: Offering outdoor seating only, Kindle is located in a former warden’s bungalow on the edge of Sophia Gardens in the heart of Cardiff. Small plate restaurant with a sustainable approach, it specializes in “fire food” served in a dynamic, informal and unique downtown setting.
Who: Kindle is the latest venture of Welsh restaurateurs Phill and Deb Lewis, who are also behind Dusty’s, a mini chain of Neapolitan pizzerias in South Wales; and the Nook neighborhood bistro in Cardiff. The pair first announced plans for the restaurant in 2019 following a successful Kickstarter campaign that raised £ 43,000. With more than £ 350,000 in additional investment from the founders, the couple have now completed the first phase of transformation of the previously dilapidated site. The duo brought in chef Tom Powell, formerly of The Walnut Tree, to oversee the Kindle kitchen.
The food: Powell’s seasonal small-plate menu uses the bounty of Kindle’s on-site vegetable garden and greenhouse, with the chef and his team also working closely with local farmers, game wardens and gardeners to use ‘ethical produce’. With an emphasis on provenance. All dishes are cooked over a fire, with a well-balanced menu between vegetarian and vegan options as well as more meaty dishes. Dishes to feature on the sample menu include sangak flatbread with burnt eggplant; celeriac bravas; monkfish with tarragon emulsion; quail with field and sauce; and green cabbage with charcoal roasted onion. The menu is short – 12 courses in total, including two desserts – and prices are affordable, with plates starting at £ 4 and up to £ 11.
The atmosphere: Rustic would be a fair description. Despite the endless uncertainty of the UK weather, the Kindle’s seating is located entirely outside under pergolas (the website advises guests to stack and adds that hot water bottles and blankets are available for anyone who still has cold), with the bar, kitchen and toilets all based in the original building. The restaurant reflects the Lewis’ long-held dream of opening “a truly sustainable restaurant” in their hometown, operating under the principles of the circular economy. To bring this to life, the couple worked closely with Object Space Place (OSP), a pioneering hospitality-focused interior and design firm, which was recommended by the Sustainable Restaurant Association. As a result, Kindle’s design made the most of the reuse and reuse of almost all of the original building elements, and much of the material is salvaged, including all interior doors, as well as slabs. , railroad ties and scaffolding planks used to create the garden and planting beds. With future expansions and developments in mind (see below), parts of the project have also been ‘designed for disassembly’, meaning they can be easily disassembled and reused.
And something else: Now that Kindle is open, thoughts will turn to the second phase of Lewis’ plan, which will take place up to two years later and involve a glazed extension, reusing every element of the current build to create the final iteration restaurant.
Sophia Gardens, Pontcanna, Cardiff CF11 9SZ