This Caribbean restaurant located in the heart of Cathays serves up delicious Jamaican food with great service, and all for student friendly prices..
Situated in the middle of Cardiff’s student land on Woodville road, Irie Shack’s wooden frontage stands in stark contrast to the terraced brick houses and glass fronted shops on the rest of the street. Featuring a large restaurant area covered in Caribbean and Jamaican apparel, a covered outdoor beer garden and good size bar, Irie shack certainly looks promising. The menu offers a range of burgers, one-pot meals and jerk dishes, and features authentic Jamaican dishes like Curry Goat, Salt Fish and of course Jerk chicken.
We visited Irie Shack for an early dinner on Wednesday evening before a trip to the theatre, but were surprised for a weekday evening how busy it was. By the time we left there were very few tables free, all filled with a mix of students, families and couples. We were seated quickly and shown the menu. My partner and I are both foodies and love Turtle Bay, but we wanted to try a local independent restaurant so Irie Shack seemed like a good choice. Looking at the menu we were both struggling to decide – there were so many things we wanted to try! Eventually we settled on the Jerk Chicken Skewers and the Curry Goat, with a can of Ting (A carbonated grapefruit drink popular in the Caribbean, like a less sweet Lilt) each to wash it down with.
Our food arrived surprisingly quickly, and did not disappoint. My partners Chicken was tender and well flavoured, with a large pot of jerk dipping sauce on the side for extra zing if needed. Chicken cooked on skewers does have the tendency to be dry as the meat cooks more quickly, however these skewers were tender and juicy. My curried goat was full of warm flavours and the goat meat was tender, falling off the bone easily. The meal was served in a pot with a sweet and crispy dumpling and a side of rice. The rice on both of our dishes was also good. Rather than just plain white rice, it was served with a mix of beans and onions stirred through it, which gave it a much more interesting flavour. My only criticism of the dish was that there was quite a lot of bone, meaning there wasn’t huge amount of goat meat in the curry. This minor quibble aside, the food was served quickly, and was delicious.
Overall we both left Irie shack very impressed. The staff were attentive and friendly, joking with other guests or singing them happy birthday. The atmosphere was relaxed and informal, with Reggae and Caribbean music playing and music videos playing on screens throughout. There was a stage in the corner, where live music acts play at the weekend, and the venue also has a range of cocktails and drinks as well as a happy hour meaning the place is likely packed at the weekend. The price was also very competitive – they clearly know there is a huge student market, with main meals for less than a tenner. A local restaurant serving good quality food with excellent service and great value for money – well worth a look if you want something more interesting than the many pub-grub style places that litter Cathays.
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To see more about Irie Shack, read their menu or book a table, see their website here.