Saturday, 22 October 2011

St David’s, Cardiff

The extended St David’s / Dewi Sant shopping centre was officially opened two years ago today. It's now hard to imagine Cardiff City centre without it.

The Eastside part of the extension (formerly St David’s 2) was designed as a Café Wing, which remains open in the evenings after the main shopping concourse closes. There are now two major concentrations of chain restaurants and cafes in Cardiff: here and in Mermaid Quay, Cardiff Bay.

All-together there are around 35 places to eat and drink in the wider St David’s Centre complex: BB’s Coffee and Muffins, Bellini’s Express, Bhs, Boof, Cadwaladers, Café Rouge, Carluccio’s, Chimichanga, Costa, Costa Coffee, Debenhams, Ed’s Tasty Diner, Gourmet Burger Kitchen, Greggs, Jamie’s Italian, John Lewis, Krispy Kreme, M&S, Muffin Break, Nando’s, Pizza Express, Prêt a Manger, Prezzo, Ruby Tuesday, Shake Away, Soho Coffee, Spud-U-Like, Starbucks, Starbucks Link Bridge, T.G.I. Friday’s, Wagamama, Yo Sushi and Yoo Moo.

There are three significant food openings in the coming weeks: Auntie Anne’s, Signor Valentino and the Red Hot World Buffet.

Auntie Anne’s is moving into a unit on the ground floor of Eastside. A US chain founded in 1988, Auntie Anne’s has its roots in a Pennsylvania Farmers’ Market and will sell baked goods, including pretzels.

Signor Valentino, the Italian restaurant chain established by Barek Arabestani in 2011, will be opening shortly on Level 1 Eastside, in the unit vacated by the closure of the Sale Pepe Italian restaurant. The chain will be building on the success of their outlet in Mermaid Quay.

The Red Hot World Buffet opens next week and will offer food from around the world (Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Tex-Mex, Cajun, Italian and so on) in a large unit on pedestrianized Hill Street opposite Debenhams. I’ll be there for its opening next week to check it out.

The keystone to St David’s 2 was arguably the early involvement of John Lewis, whose store is at the far (southern) end of the mall complex. With John Lewis in place, others followed. At the sharp end of the John Lewis resides the department store’s main restaurant. This is a light airy space, with glass walls offering views down to The Hayes. It’s a good place for relaxing and quiet conversation. Finding a table seemed to be no problem early lunchtime (11.45am onwards) and there are plenty of food options (hot meals, salads, jacket potatoes).

I enjoyed my cappuccino (£2.25) and honey and almond slice (£1.95). The John Lewis restaurant is called The Place to Eat, rather a grand claim given that it looks down on the likes of Carluccio’s and Jamie’s Italian!

The success of St David’s is not in doubt. Figures just released show that the shopping centre attracted more than 75 million visitors in its first two years, making Cardiff one of the busiest city centres in the UK.

St David’s:

All you need to know about St David's (catchment area etc.). Click on Downloads, Leasing Brochure:

Further visitor number information:

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