We haven’t visited The Deck on Penarth Marina since its previous incarnation as Pier 64. The waterside building was previously owned by Craig Bellamy (Welsh international footballer) and was recently acquired and refurbished by Boatfolk (Boatfolk Bars Limited), the owners of Penarth Marina; all part of a long-term plan to create a series of eateries at all their locations around the UK. Makes business sense!
We pass The Deck regularly on our barrage walk – it’s a good four-and-a-bit miles in one loop taking in Penarth Marina, the Cardiff Bay Barrage, Mermaid Quay and back across the flyover. It’s a nice walk and, on a sunny day, it’s one we really enjoy.
As we were in Penarth for a late morning meeting, we thought we’d drop in and check it out with a view to stopping for lunch if all looked good. It did and so we stayed and sat ourselves down at a large, bi-fold window overlooking the marina.
Our first impressions of the interior led us to believe not much had changed, but it had – it’s been extended and there are some funky new fabrics on the chairs. The changes are subtle. It’s tasteful, and if you liked it before, we’re sure you’ll like the updates.
Drinks ordered, we scanned the menu. Prices seem reasonable and some of the old favourites are still available. Pier 64 used to do an excellent fish and chips, so it seemed appropriate to benchmark The Deck’s offering. Jennifer couldn’t resist a steak and added prawns to her order to ensure lunch would be a ‘surf and turf’ affair.
As we waited eagerly for our food, we chatted, watching the relaxed bustle of the marina. Not much happens quickly at a marina so it’s the perfect antidote to a busy morning – calm befell our table.
No sooner had we entered a zen-like state, our mains arrive. We tuck in, and it soon becomes apparent that The Deck can certainly deliver – with decent portion sizes and both dishes beautifully presented. Sometimes, in all the ‘chefiness’ of a kitchen, food sits around cooling while they fuss with it. Not here. Our food is hot. Jennifer’s steak is perfectly cooked (she does like it rare) and my cod and chips are a solid nine-out-of-ten – perfectly crisp batter hiding a mouth-watering fresh fillet of cod – complemented by a creative swoosh of pea puree plus kitchen-made tartare sauce. Honestly, this dish couldn’t have been any better.
As we contemplated marina life, we noticed what looked like a series of floating, grey micro pods attached to the wooden walkways. Intrigued, we asked Claire, our host, what they were. She explained they’re floating pods that are available for hire. She kindly offered to show us ‘round once we’d finished our meal. Being nosey, we naturally accepted.
Having enjoyed our mains, we decided to share an excellent tarte tatin with ice cream and pouring cream which seemed like a suitably sweet way to end a very good lunch. We couldn’t resist a little cheeseboard to round things off – excellent it was too.
We met Claire out on the veranda and walked down to the pods. I must confess, they don’t look that big from the outside but once across the threshold, they are quite cleverly designed. The main room area is basically the bedroom with a really neat bathroom at the rear. It has that boutique hotel vibe, and the quality of the fixtures and fittings reinforces the illusion.
It’s bright and spacious and even has a balcony with two chairs so you can sit out and watch the world, swans, fish and whatever else inhabits the marina. We could just imagine sitting here of a morning with a coffee or of an evening with a coffee or a glass of wine – whatever floats your boat (see what we did there?).
The bedroom has a super comfortable king-sized bed, remote control skylight blind, large TV, robes, tea/coffee making facilities and porthole windows! The bathroom is well laid out with two sinks, a large, illuminated mirror and a modern power shower rainfall system.
The marina is a mere ten-minute walk from Cogan Train Station, which is only two stops from Cardiff Central, so access to the city is very easy. Or, for the more adventurous, it will take you about an hour to walk to the city heading over the Barrage.
Claire mentioned that as more people stay here, she was confident that ‘Rooms at The Deck’ will become the number one accommodation for Penarth. They would be great for wedding receptions as guests can have adjoining pods – if you’re looking for something different, then this is it. With the restaurant to hand, this would be a superb venue for special events. I’m sure they’re open to suggestions.
As is the norm, there’s no smoking in the pods and, regrettably, they can’t accommodate pets. Although The Deck itself is pet friendly as long as they are well behaved. There were a few people out on the balcony enjoying a drink with their dogs which was nice to see.
Did The Deck and the pods impress? Absolutely. We’d certainly eat here again and might even treat ourselves to an overnight stay. We think it would be quite a lovely experience.
As we left, we thanked Claire for showing us around and complimented the kitchen on a lovely lunch. If you haven’t eaten at The Deck yet, it should certainly be on your radar and if you’re looking for a quirky and cool place to spend the night, then your pod awaits.
Penarth CF64 1TQ
029 2009 9737
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