Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Top 10 Indie Lunches in Cardiff (Guardian Guest blog)

My food blog has decamped to The Guardian for the day (below without photos):
[We've had guest blogger Stephen Nottingham on the go around Cardiff for the last few weeks on the hunt for the perfect sandwich. Here he reviews his top ten city centre independent snack shops and lunch stops].
Cardiff city centre is a great place to lunch. In addition to the too-numerous-to-mention UK-wide chains, there are many independent sandwich bars, cafes and restaurants that offer distinctive food that can be enjoyed on a budget. These one-off outlets contribute greatly to the character of the city. Here are ten of the best.
1. The New York Deli
Established by New Yorker Harriett Davies in 1990 and situated in the High Street Arcade, The New York Deli offers a wide range of baguettes, bagels and hoagies. You'll find a very friendly welcome 9am to 5pm Monday to Saturday – and now also on Sundays. Eat in or take away. Be warned, some of the hoagies are "for the very hungry".
2. Crumbs
Situated in the attractive Morgan Arcade, Crumbs was opened by Judi Ashley in December 1970. It is Cardiff's oldest vegetarian restaurant. The solid pine tables and many of the menu items have been consistent for four decades. Large bowls of salad a speciality. Eat in and take away lunches.
3. Servini's Snack Bar
This traditional family-run cafe opened in its present Wyndham Arcade location on St David's Day 1996, after around 15 years in a nearby location. Famed for all-day breakfasts and hot baguettes, it also serves fresh pasta meals, burgers, salads and jacket potatoes. Eat in and take away, and fully licensed.
4. Café Minuet
Music lover, chef and former owner Marcello Genesi recently retired after running this Italian restaurant in the Castle Arcade for 24 years. New owner Nadine Lodwick has worked there 20 years, knows the much-loved recipes, and will continue the tradition. Good value, considering the high quality of the food.
5. Fresh: The Baguette Bar
Fresh in the Royal Arcade is the place to go if you're busy and want an interesting take-away sandwich. With so many baguettes and panini filling options (including plenty for vegetarians), you'll want to return.
6. Dizzy Llama
The Dizzy Llama in Churchill Way is a good place for a quiet lunch for two. Owned by Rhys and Tammy, it opened in December 2009 and bills itself as an independent Welsh International restaurant. It offers an interesting range of dishes and is included for its good-value 2-for-1 lunchtime deals.
7. 10 Feet Tall
10 Feet Tall (bistro café bar) is celebrating its third year on Church Street. It offers a distinct, quirky, kid-friendly environment, and quality food. Look out for lunchtime meal deals.
8. WOW
WOW Bar's daytime menu includes breakfasts and thick-cut sandwiches. WOW Deli is a couple of doors along Churchill Way – look for the bread stacked in the window - and does take-away lunches.
9. Pillars
This Cardiff institution on Queen Street has been a favourite lunch stop for shoppers on Queen Street for over 30 years. Good-value meals are served in a large basement, from cold and hot buffet counters. Expect to queue.
10. Hayes Island Snack Bar
The snack bar in The Hayes has been serving tea and bacon rolls for the past sixty years. Currently operated by local caterers First Cafes, it's an unmistakable Cardiff landmark.

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