It's a chef's favourite; the sumptuous flaky flesh and robust flavour of tender lamb. 

British restaurants have a long culinary love affair with lamb - Welsh lamb in particular. With Spring in full swing, there's no better time to sample this ingredient at its peak.

So where better to find it than Cardiff? Here's our definitive guide of where to dine on real Welsh lamb this season. 

1. The Clink, Knox Road

For a restaurant run by prison inmates, the lamb served in Cardiff Prison is heavenly. The Clink has a reputation for making some of the city's finest food, all for a good cause. Established as a (successful) means to rehabilitate offenders, diners are presented with beautifully plated Welsh ingredients. Typical lamb dishes include slow-roasted lamb shoulder, or succulent lamb wellington. Don't miss the spring menu or the duo of lamb, served with fondant potato and rosemary jus. 

2. Purple Poppadom, Cowbridge Road

Speak to any lucky devil who's dined at Purple Poppadom, and they'll recommend the above. Feast your eyes on the infamous lamb shank, a big hit with regular customers and a memorable 'fusion of Mughal and Welsh cuisine'. The leg is slowly roasted, followed by a final toasting in the tandoor for a crisp finish. Forget your minging mint sauce (sorry, roast dinner traditionalists) - the chefs at Purple Poppadom pull out all the stops with a side of mint sorbet. Exquisite stuff. 

3. Milk & Sugar, Windsor Place

A homestead of Welsh cuisine, Milk & Sugar serves plates of super fresh ingredients, much of it sourced locally. Here, you can cram all the good stuff grown on Welsh soil into your tummy. Though the menu is constantly updated, the well-loved lamb cawl is usually available. Their version of the dish is spot on when it comes to tradition - thick chunks of Welsh lamb with a slight bite, served alongside wedges of well-buttered bread. 

4. The Meating Place, St. Mary Street

Wales has a long love affair with pedigree meat, and The Meating Place more than honours this. Their seriously meat-centered menu makes us drool. A range of seared Welsh beef steaks and huge marinated skewers are the speciality here. And while lamb doesn't take central stage, it's far from forgotten. Look out for the highly recommended lamb starter. Flaky shredded lamb has fallen from the bone, plus toasted flatbreads served warm for dipping. 

5. Madame Fromage, Castle Arcade

Madame Fromage does nothing by half measures. This eccentric restaurant houses fancy frocks, French decor, and fantastic gallic food. The lamb cawl is something special, made with Black Bomber Cheddar from locally based Snowdonia Cheese Company. Smooth, creamy and nourishing, the broth comes steaming with Welsh history and accompanied by a bap for dipping. 

6. Bar 44, Westgate Street

Good meat should be a given on any tapas menu. 

Well, praise God for Bar 44, where award-winning tapas and Welsh meat have made sweet sweet communion. This restaurant fuses quality Welsh ingredients with modern Spanish flavours (along with heavy doses of red wine). While there's heaps of regional produce from Spain, the meat is fresh from neighbouring Welsh counties. And the chefs make use of the whole hog, so to speak. A typical lamb dish will see thick slices of neck fillet served with cold and creamy ajo blanco soup, roast cherry tomatoes and sweet shallots. 

7. The Potted Pig, High Street

While pork takes centre stage on The Potted Pig menu, this juicy joint serves all kinds of meat. In response to our obsession with burgers, the kitchen have created a lamb masterpiece - a succulent patty Welsh patty dripping with extras. The rustic menu also offers a ridiculously indulgent tasting platter where you can gorge on lamb from head to toe. 

8. Ponnuswamy Restaurant, City Road

Ponnuswamy Restaurant is well-known to Cardiff foodies who love authentic curry. The restaurant name has changed, but the food has remained the same; cooked fresh, and inspired by South-Indian tradition. Lamb, and particularly mutton, is made for Indian cooking - the longer cooking time of dishes allow the tough meat to soften. For something different - and surprisingly moreish - the mutton rolls are pretty special. 

9. Garlands, Duke Street

Our third and final choice for Cardiff lamb cawl can be had at Garlands. As the name suggests, this coffee shop pulls out all the stops. The menu lists loads of local Welsh dishes, and the expertly made cawl is ordered by the ladle load. Thick salty broth filled with hunks of nutritious veg and fragrant herbs, plus the all important real Welsh lamb. 

So when you're eating out this spring, go little, go local, and choose Welsh lamb.

Thanks to Gourmet Gorro for image of Ponnuswamy Restaurant. 

Published -6th April 2017