Tuesday, 27 September 2011
The rebranding of the Cardiff Arts Institute
I thought the food (and drink) in the old CAI was overpriced and a little fussy. Brains have completely changed that, with a no-nonsense menu that caters to the budget eater and the very hungry.
Breakfasts include The Breakfast (£4.95) and other items apparently marketed toward the hung-over; “sarnies” start from the £2.25 Chip Buttie; jacket potatoes and fillings start from £3.50. There are pizzas, grills and many “pub favourites” including fish & chips (£5.79), bangers & mash (£4.29) and lasagne. Curries are particular good value on Mondays, when they come bundled with a drink. The coffee is Costa Coffee, which can be bought in combination with a slice of one of the cakes displayed on the bar.
You may have already guessed that this is probably not the place for refined or particularly healthy eating. In fact, overindulgence is encouraged with The Hulk Burger (£17.95) constructed with three 10 oz steaks and all the works: at least 4,500 calories guaranteed. To get your head around this, if I (a 70 kg man) ate a large meat pizza (of 2,900 calories) it would take me approximately 7 hours to walk off the calories. This is competitive eating and The Hulk Burger comes with rules about no sharing, no public vomiting etc. However, it may all be a subtle ploy, as anyone eating this amount of fat-drenched dead cow in one sitting might subsequently decide to spend the rest of their days a vegetarian.
Music and events have been scaled back in The Institute, although Brains are hosting an acoustic night on Wednesdays and live bands on Saturdays. The old stage has been removed to accommodate more seating, and music will be set up to the left at the back rather than the right (if you know the place). It is unlikely that the art classes and other cultural activities will carry on as before.
The old CAI will be missed. It was a one-of-its-kind with the wide range of social activities and events it hosted.
However, the owners of this new Brains bar seem to know what they are doing. Much more food is going to be consumed here than in the former-CAI, for example; food that is competitively priced and ideally washed down with a pint or few of Brains.
Previous post on the Cardiff Arts Institute:
Cardiff Arts Institute
29 Park Place, Cardiff