Terra Nova, Mermaid Quay, Cardiff Bay, CF10 5BZ
Open 10-12 Monday-Thursday, 10-2 Friday-Saturday, 10-10.30 Sun. Food all day until 9pm
The Terra nova is one of the few examples of good twenty-first century pub architecture. Originally built as the Via Fossa, SA Brain transformed this pub when they bought it in 2003, renaming it after the ship that left Cardiff Docks to take Captain Scott and his crew to the Antarctic on their ill-fated journey. The outline of the ship is used as the pub sign on the outside of the pub, which is attractively surrounded in wood.
The front of the pub is unmistakable as it forms a triangle, reminiscent of the bow of a ship and there is an upper, outside drinking area with views out across the bay and the towards Norwegian Church. The interior of the Terra Nova has is multi-level and has wooden staircases and an attractively carved mahogany wood bar and an odd collection of drinking seats, ranging from a lip-shaped settee to fake leopard-skin coverings, along with more traditional wooden chairs and tables. The Terra Nova is surprisingly spacious enough to cater for all tastes though and there are a number of tables and chairs for those customers wishing to drink outside. A pillar in the front of the bar is clad in wood and radiates wooden beams set into the stone-flagged floor, reminiscent of the capstan of an old sailing ship. Arches lead to the different drinking areas and the right hand section has a fresco of the Terra Nova ship in the Antarctic. The upper areas provide equally attractive drinking and dining areas as well as somewhere private if customers wish to have private conversations, useful as the bar is close to the Welsh Assembly. The Belfast-sink washbasins in the Gents toilets are a nice touch as well.
The real ales are from SA Brain and are served via their unique eye-level handpumps, which are reserved for their flagship pubs. The beers available are Bitter, Dark, SA and a seasonal ale, which at the moment is Land of My Fathers, a light-coloured ale that has an unusual flavour as it is brewed with Welsh honey. Gwynt Y Ddraig Welsh cider is also available in bottles.
Food is served all day and includes Celtic Pride lasagne and burgers along with 21-day matured steaks from beef cattle – no Zebu hybrids in this pub. Welsh cheeses also feature on the menu as well as bread made with Brain's SA and even Reverend James chutney. Fish dishes are also available with Brain's beer battered haddock and Sea Bass featuring. The range of deserts is also interesting with a Baked White Chocolate and Penderyn Whisky Tart or Welsh ice cream featuring.
An excellent place to dine and drink the Brains whilst watching the waves roll across the Bay, the Terra Nova is the highpoint of any visit to the Bay.
View Larger Map