R.P. Culley & Co at The Exchange Hotel
One word best describes the lovingly refurbished Exchange Hotel – magnifi cent. Once home to Cardiff’s thriving 19th-century coal exchange, it’s a building steeped in history and with a story to tell. The sheer beauty of this establishment extends from the imposing gothic facade, historical framings and acres of wooden panelling, to every carefully selected element that reflects its industrial heritage. It radiates grandeur and unpretentious luxury but also comfort, fun and a sense of adventure.
To dine at The Exchange is a joy. Head chef Keith Clash is truly passionate about choosing locally sourced produce, but never compromises on the quality. This was apparent from the delicious tasting menu, as we tucked into Welsh mussels in smoked garlic and chilli cream, with beautiful bread to dip in piquant sauce. The kitchen team elevates humble ingredients with flair and care – such as Culley’s Salad with sweet potato, smoky cauliflower and avocado. The seared scallops with roasted spices, accompanied by the subtle sweetness of strewn pomegranate seeds, was a dish to remember. To follow, I plumped for the delicious British chicken breast served with tarragon mash, wild mushroom and pancetta and brandy sauce, whilst my dining partner opted for the sumptuous Welsh rack of lamb. The ethos of quality is apparent in the house wine too, which is unique to the hotel and named after local philanthropist and caterer R.P. Culley. He would have approved of the rich, fruity merlot and sublime sauvignon. Smoked beer is a speciality from behind the bar.
For dessert, the bara brith bread and butter pudding served with rumsoaked raisins was meltingly good, as was every chocoholic’s fantasy, the wonderful Welsh chocolate tasting plate. We sealed the deal with a platter of Welsh cheeses that included the award-winning Black Bomber Cheddar and a creamy goat’s cheese, accompanied by a glass of Port. Themed evenings and afternoon tea ensure there’s something for everyone at The Exchange. From conferences to birthday parties, private hire of certain areas of the restaurant is also available, and the helpful team will guide you throughout the process. Whatever your reason for visiting, you are guaranteed a very special culinary experience.