On a boiling hot Tuesday in May, We had an opportunity to take part in a preview event at Walkabout in Cardiff after they had closed their doors for a four-week refurbishment project.
A £700,000 investment would see a complete overhaul of the venue to show case an entirely new style. Complete with a modernized bar space, VIP areas, private areas, booths that can be booked for parties and much more.
A VIP event will be taking place on Thursday 25th May before the grand opening to the general public on the 26th May.
News and updates on the upcoming events and opening are being plugged all over social media, in particular on their Twitter page.
After a bit of a confused welcome, we were shown to table 11 between a set of booths, close to where the original entrance used to be.
Our initial designated table was a high table near the bar, but the staff were more than happy to move us to more comfortable table where all the action was.
Once seated, we were offered our choice of a complimentary main through their glass bowl “Dip Pot” lucky dip.
After a sifting of the offerings, we proceeded to pull out a couple of slips and earned ourselves a Chicken Parmigiana and the Sydney Cafe Burger.
With the order put through, All we could do peruse the menus and await some tasty food, whilst taking in the atmosphere.
The menus have been revamped to offer a range of snacks, sharing platters and mains. A variety of options following a pub grub theme with an Aussie twist.
You can even find a kangaroo steak or roo burger if you wanted to try something on the unusual side.
A varied drinks menu offers lots of cocktail options, wines, sparkling wines, soft drinks, beers and ciders.
With our focus solely on the beer side, it was great to see a range of craft beer options such as Brewdog’s Punk IPA & Blue Moon alongside a range of Australian beers and the usual big brewery beers.
As part of the event, we were offered a bevvie on the house. We wasted no time in ordering a Blue Moon Belgian White and a bottle of low carb Pure Blonde.
That’s right, an Australian lager coming in at 87 calories a bottle!
Whilst waiting for a food to arrive, a nervous but very generous staff member offered us a strawberry daiquiri based drink with a little Southern Comfort.
It came in one of those fancy jam jar glasses with a handle, loaded with ice and a wedge of lime.
A vibrant, fruity and fresh way to fill the time whilst our food was being prepared.
At £8.45, the first dish to arrive was the Chicken Parmigiana.
A chicken breast flattened and coated with breadcrumbs and cooked up until crunchy. This was then topped with some thinly carved ham slices, a spicy salsa sauce and finally topped with melted cheese.
On the side was a salad of crispy lettuce leaves, grated carrot, beetroot slices and s small wedge of watermelon. We also received a portion of crunchy sweet potato fries.
This was a big portion and was cooked really well. the chicken was soft and moist in the middle with the crunchy breadcrumbs on the outside.
The saltiness of the ham and the cheese balanced really well with the tangy and spicy salsa which delivered quite the kick.
The sweet potato fries were nicely seasoned as well as being crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside. The salad was fresh with the beetroot being a great addition alongside the watermelon. There was some grated carrots but we felt this offered only texture and not much in the way of flavour.
If it were thinly sliced like the Beetroot or a thicker julienne, the salad would be perfect.
Next up was the Sydney Cafe Burger which came in at £9.45
A hearty beef patty loaded into a brioche bun with bacon, avocado, lettuce, tomato Italian cheese shavings and some cheeky pickles.
The burger came with a portion of traditional chips, a tangy burger relish and a side salad of crisp lettuce leaves, grated carrot and a wedge of water melon.
Despite being unable to taste the cheese shavings, the burger was great.
The beef patty itself was thick and freshly cooked to retain its juices, the salad elements & Avocado gave the burger a freshness whilst the sneaky pickles at the base of the burger where a tangy and crunchy surprise.
The chips were the usual deep-fried fare and freshly cooked and the salad on the side was a welcome addition. I loved the watermelon wedge to finish everything up with but was again unsure about the grated carrot.
Once we had finished, we were asked to prepare a review of the preview session and note how we felt everything went. On completion, we were offered an additional voucher each to come back and enjoy a course of our own choosing.
The Kangaroo steak or the meaty ribs options are looking pretty good right about now!
We had a great time at Walkabout and it really opened our eyes to a venue that we would tend to shy away from in its original form.
The staff were really friendly, helpful and talkative. Ensuring that everything going fine throughout the preview.
Even the manager popped over to get some feedback on the venue and the food.
The venue itself is really pleasant with more light at the front and has a definitive theme with all the lighting and props, giving you that beach hut feeling.
Sports fans will be pleased with the number of TVs placed around the venue in prominent locations so that wherever you look, a TV is close to hand.
The booths surrounding us had TV facing them each and a huge screen could be seen towards the back of the venue. Perfect for huge sporting events.
Whether it will stand the test of time with Wetherspoons around the corner remains to be seen. If they can keep up all the positives we witnessed at the preview event, I’ve no doubt they will be one step ahead!