The Cardiff Arts Institute (CAI) is a bar with a difference. The décor sets this place apart, for a start. One wall is covered in Lego boards, and a plentiful supply of Lego bricks is artfully (or not) modelled up the walls by customers on a daily basis. Another wall is decorated with rubber gloves (I couldn’t actually eat under that). Quirky touches elsewhere include a stuffed magpie on a Roman-style bust, and a glass table containing model cars. Modern art comes and goes.
I went for the Welsh Cured Ham with Piccalilli, and a latte (£6.60 bill). The sandwiches are served with thick stubby chips (more like wedges) – they stay hot and are filling. There is a choice of white or brown bread. It’s a substantial lunch. Service is slower and the cost higher than the average Cardiff sandwich bar, but this is a good place to meet for a quiet lunch (being away from main shops and offices it avoids the midday crush) or to spread out your notes or newspaper to take stock of the world. It's friendly and has a unique and stimulating ambience.