Wednesday, 26 February 2014

The Review - Face 11

Off Piste is a term in skiing for trails and paths a little off the beaten track, ungroomed and less fairly frequented than the main slopes. For those in the know however, these slopes offer far greater thrills than the 'motorway' runs of the main resort. Off Piste is also a term that could be very easily applied to a recent addition to the Cathays pub/bar/restaurant scene, Face 11. Part pub, part bar, part restaurant, part up and coming venue for a range of events, it's a little removed the traditional Cathays Pub Triangle (Woodville, Gassy's and Solus) but is well worth a visit.

Situated no more than a couple of stones' throw from my own charming student abode, the story of Face 11, located at 105 Cathays Terrace, is a remarkable one. The premises, previously home to tapas bar Mango, was renovated in time for the 2013/14 university year in just a week by a hugely dedicated team of volunteers whose names are now engraved in plaques along the bar. In the past few months has gathered a cult following in the student community, amongst those who value a venue with a little more sophistication and gastronomic nouse than the average pub.

The ambience is intended to whisk you away from rainy Wales to a cosy mountaintop snug and as such is decked out with a sprawl of comfy chairs, bar stools and furniture plucked straight from a chalet (as are the ski's and boards adorning the walls). The staff are very friendly and it generally feels rather relaxed but what sets it apart for me is the quality of the food. I'd probably describe the menu as upmarket pub food, including a great range of burgers, pizzas and the odd cooked breakfast but what sets this above other places is the care that goes into said food.

My personal favourite, The Face 11 burger is a signature dish which lets you pick your cheese of choice, and then have it infused into the meat as it's cooked, so that every mouthful blends the tastes far better than simply lumping cheese on top. While I've yet to try out the pizza, by all accounts it's rather great, and one of their breakfasts succeeded in curing a very painful hangover remarkably quickly (thus making it nigh on perfect)! They serve all the usual coffees throughout the day, alongside an eclectic and carefully selected range of beers, ciders, spirits and cocktails to enjoy, while Friday offers 50% off Prosecco, for those of a debonair distinction but a student's savings.

While they haven't been going that long, they've already kicked off a selection of nights, including a weekly pub quiz on mondays and open mic nights on thursdays, encouraging a range of local talent down and already gaining some established performers there! Looking to the future they are starting up a comedy night entitled 'Piste Off' on the 3rd tuesday of every month, launching on the 18th March, while they are currently renovating their beer garden in time for summer and developing a cellar bar in their basement.

When you visit, be sure to take your student cards for a guaranteed 10% off everything and embrace taking time to go (just a little) off the beaten track. It's a lovely place for pretty much anything you fancy and is run with a real passion for the food and drink on offer, so head on down! And if I can't convince you, the menu speaks for itself!

Face 11 are on Twitter here, follow them, they're friendly! 

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