Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Terra Nova Café, Roath Park, Cardiff

Earlier this month, the Terra Nova Café opened in Roath Park in Cardiff. With the lovely spring sunshine today, I went for a walk around Roath Park Lake and had lunch there.

The original circular snackbar built in the 1970s is still there, housing the counter where you order and the kitchen area, as is the old outdoor terrace, but a new extension has been added. I ate inside it and found it a very pleasant environment in which to eat, being light and airy with glass walls giving panoramic views of the lake. The new building has solid green credentials, with solar panels and a grass roof. A further outdoor patio area has been included in front of the extension. The café project is a partnership between Cardiff Council and private investor Nic Lukaris.

The menu has an all-day breakfast; sausage, beans and chips, and related options; a curry option; sandwiches and salads. There's roast dinners on a Sunday.

I had one of today’s specials: a bacon and feta salad, with lettuce, olives, tomatoes and ciabatta, with a balsamic syrup drizzled over it (above). With a cappuccino, the total bill came to £5.40. It looked good, and it tasted good.

The Terra Nova is already a popular place. There was a queue when I arrived, but service was very efficient. Local artist’s work adorns the walls of the old part of the café. The new extension enables the building to be put to a range of uses. A fitness class starts in April, while salsa lessons, ZUMBA, walking groups, reading and chess clubs, art mornings and children's classes are also planned.

The Terra Nova Café is named after the ship which Captain Scott and his crew sailed in from Cardiff to the Antarctic in 1910 and, more specifically, the nearby lighthouse by the dam on Roath Park Lake that was erected in 1915 as a memorial to the expedition (The café is not to be confused with the prow-shaped Brains pub of the same name in Cardiff Bay).

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