Wednesday, 19 December 2012
The Corporation Hotal
188 Cowbridge Road East CF5 1GW (2022 7778)
The Corporation Hotel is a large pub, currently owned by Greene King. This was once the site of Canton’s largest farmhouse, as related in Canton (The Archive Photographs Series, Chalford, 1995; page 58). In 1859 Canton Market started nearby. The Corporation Hotel was built in 1889. Today, you’ll find a pub food menu, sports on TV, darts and pool, plus a very nice Christmas tree in one of the windows. According to cardiffpubs.co.uk, who are keen on ghosts, The Corporation is reputably haunted by “a little Victorian girl on the unused third floor, and by a woman in the area of the pool tables” (Food Hygiene Rating 2: improvement necessary. Nov 2011).
We are taking a small detour around the block, heading a short way up Llandaff Road (B4267). On the other side of Llandaff Road to The Corporation Hotel:
6 Llandaff Road CF11 9NJ (2038 4550)
The Canton is a traditional Brains pub. The menu features Welsh dishes.
The Butchers Arms
29 Llandaff Road CF11 9NG (2022 7927)
Brains pub with traditional bar, lounge and function room (Food Hygiene Rating 3: generally satisfactory. Dec 2010).
Turn left at the Butchers Arms down Market Place. On your right:
Chapter Arts Centre
1 Market Road CF5 1QE (2030 4400)
Chapter, established in former Canton High Street, celebrated its fortieth anniversary last year. With a modern extension added a few years ago, it is a thriving arts centre with two cinemas, art galleries, theatre and concert room, facilities for arts and crafts, and a popular café and bar. The café (8.30am-9pm Thursday-Saturday; 9.30am-9pm Sunday) serves breakfast, lunch and main meals. The bar serves a good range of real ales and there are annual beer festivals devoted to brews from around Europe (e.g., MaiBock German Beer Festival). Food events include last weekend’s Festive Food Fair, where many local food businesses and Chapter regulars set up stall, including The Parsnipship, The Ethical Chef, Charcutier Ltd (“Womble burgers”!?) and Martin’s Bread (Food Hygiene Rating 3: generally satisfactory. Dec 2011).
Walk straight out the front door of Chapter, and down Library Street back to Cowbridge Road East. On the corner is Canton Library. Turn back briefly towards The Corporation Hotel.
In the same impressive brick building as The Corporation you’ll see a unit now occupied by Malloy and Barry solicitors. This was for several generations W. Atkins butchers, established 1938. There is a photo taken in the 1950s of the business in the book Canton (Chalford, 1995, page 8). In the 1990s the butchers was trading as Kelly’s, until it became a solicitor’s office. Note the carved stone heads between the units along this building.
Carry on along Cowbridge Road East in a westerly direction, past the police station.
194b Cowbridge Road East CF5 1GW
Frozen food supermarket.
Over the road (on your left):
Canton Liberal Club; then across the side-street (Alexandra Road):
307-315 Cowbridge Road East CF5 1JD (2023 4411)
Bambeans is a children’s “sensory play world” with adjacent café area (Coffee Shop) (Food Hygiene Rating 5: very good. Jan 2012).
Canton Food Store
323 Cowbridge Road East CF5 1JD (2022 6878)
Convenience store. Formerly the Deshi Hat take-away.
325 Cowbridge Road East CF5 1JD (2038 3101)
Indian takeaway and delivery service. Birany, tandoori, massala and balti dishes (including a half-dozen vegetarian balti choices), along with range of chef’s specials (e.g., chicken korma, lamb passanda, saag prawn). Closed Tuesdays (Food Hygiene Rating 5: very good. Jan 2012).
327a Cowbridge Road East CF5 1JD (2039 7418)
Opened in 2011, a traditional Indian restaurant and take-away, offering lamb tikka, chicken shashlika, kofta, biryani, tandoori, and balti dishes.
327a Cowbridge Road East CF5 1JD (2037 8000)
The Deli at Canton is a sandwich shop and deli counter (Food Hygiene Rating 5: very good. Nov 2011).
327 Cowbridge Road East CF5 1JD (2064 5936)
Convenience store, set back from the road (Food Hygiene Rating 4: good. Jan 2012).
Crossing back to the right (north) side of the road (and backtracking a little way):
200 Cowbridge Road East CF5 1GX
Delivery pizza service (Food Hygiene Rating 5: very good. May 2011).
Stavros Fish Bar
212 Cowbridge Road East CF5 1GX (2023 1932)
Stavros and family have operated this traditional fish and chip shop for at least twenty years (Food Hygiene Rating 4: good. Nov 2011).
Turn right for a brief detour down Glamorgan Street. On the corner with Harvey Street:
16 Harvey Street CF5 1QW (2066 6986)
A Brains pub, with traditional bar and lounge areas, serving an extensive pub food menu.
Back on Cowbridge Road East:
220 Cowbridge Road East CF5 1GX
Polish store (Food Hygiene Rating 1: major improvement necessary. Nov 2011).
222 Cowbridge Road East CF5 1GY (2038 7310)
Indian takeaway and delivery service (Food Hygiene Rating 3: generally satisfactory. July 2011).
Brutons The Bakers
224 Cowbridge Road East CF5 9GY (2023 2655)
One of two Brutons on Cowbridge Road East. This independent Cardiff-based bakery sells bread, sandwiches, pasties etc and also operates a catering service (Food Hygiene Rating 5: very good. Oct 2012).
228 Cowbridge Road East CF5 1GY
Bluebird-themed (Cardiff City FC) café doing large menu of traditional British breakfasts and lunches (Food Hygiene Rating 3: generally satisfactory. Dec 2011).
230 Cowbridge Road East CF5 1GY (2022 0016)
Take-away and delivery: pizza, fried chicken, burgers and other fast food. A couple of wooden tables with chairs inside (Food Hygiene Rating 2: improvement necessary. Oct 2011).
Canton Fruit Market
238 Cowbridge Road East CF5 1GY
Greengrocers on corner of Cowbridge Road East and Pen-y-Peel Road, set out like a small market selling a wide range of fruit and vegetables at reasonable prices. Look out for a bargain table outside. I picked up chillies, apples and garlic on my visit.
Across the junction with Pen-y-Peel Road is a milestone (11 miles to Cowbridge).
425-427 Cowbridge Road East CF5 1JG
(Food Hygiene Rating 4: good. Nov 2010).
On the left, you'll find junctions with Nottingham Street and Grosvenor Street.
On your right, past the Clive Street junction:
Zero Plus Fish Bar
318 Cowbridge Road East CF5 1HD (2023 1896)
Takeaway: fish and chips, burgers and kebabs. The chips here receive particularly good notices on Internet review sites. They were a finalist in the National Fish and Chip Shop 2011 Awards, and the chips did smell good when I walked past (Food Hygiene Rating 5: very good. July 2011).
322 Cowbridge Road East (2066 6181)
Takeaway and delivery service: pizza, kebabs etc. (Food Hygiene Rating 1: major improvement necessary. Sept 2012).
332 Cowbridge Road East CF5 1HD (2023 2042)
Large British fry-ups at breakfast, and pies a speciality at lunchtimes, in this traditional British café (Food Hygiene Rating 5: very good. Nov 11).
336 Cowbridge Road East CF5 1HD (2037 9773)
Takeaway Indian, evenings only, with clean minimalist decor (Food Hygiene Rating 1: major improvement necessary. Jan 2012).
342 Cowbridge Road East CF5 1HD (2037 2666)
Take-away opened in 2012: Chinese and English food. Formerly Miami Pizza.
352 Cowbridge Road East CF5 1HD (2023 6306)
Convenience food store and off-licence.
Canton Chinese Delight
358 Cowbridge Road East CF5 1HE (2037 2929)
Chinese takeaway, with impressive cactus collection in window (Food Hygiene Rating 2: improvement necessary. Jan 2012).
The Clive Arms
360 Cowbridge Road East CF5 1HE (2037 7053)
The Clive Arms Hotel is currently owned by Greene King. This large pub specialises in budget-priced pub food (Food Hygiene Rating 4: good. April 2012).
A & K Rees
376 Cowbridge Road East CF5 1JJ (2022 8835)
Family butchers. Home-made pies, kebabs ready to cook (Food Hygiene Rating 3: generally satisfactory. Jan 2012).
382 Cowbridge Road East CF5 1JJ (2022 3081)
Indian takeaway, open evenings only (Food Hygiene Rating 3: generally satisfactory. Sept 2011).
Staying on the right, cross Turner Road:
The Victoria Park
422 Cowbridge Road East CF5 1JL (2037 4212)
Large Brains pub serving food all day from extensive pub food menu, with function room and skittle alley (Food Hygiene Rating 5: very good. Nov 2011).
Cross Kingsland Road:
436 Cowbridge Road East CF5 1JN (2022 2447)
Takeaway: Chinese, Fish and Chips (Food Hygiene Rating 4: good. Sept 2011).
Star of Wales
438 Cowbridge Road East CF5 1JN
Indian restaurant and take-away. The Star of India has been trading here for 25 years. Maharajah Special (biryani) something of a signature dish, and plenty of vegetarian options (Food Hygiene Rating 1: major improvement necessary. March 2012).
442 Cowbridge Road East CF5 1JN (2022 6924)
Indian restaurant and takeaway: Bengali, Tandoori, Balti (Food Hygiene Rating 3: generally satisfactory. Aug 2011).
442c Cowbridge Road East CF5 1JN (2023 3506)
A fine dining Indian restaurant, on the corner with Victoria Park Road East, that has won Curry House awards in the past (e.g., 2007). However, restaurants like Cardamom and Star of Wales have recently been overshadowed by a new generation of Indian restaurants (e.g., Purple Poppadom, Moksh, Mint and Mustard) taking the cuisine to another level in Cardiff. Menu features tandoori and all the usual curries. Poor service and variable quality letting down generally favourable opinions of the food on review sites (Food Hygiene Rating 4: good. Sept 2011).
Cross over, opposite the park:
Park View Café
499 Cowbridge Road East CF5 1BE (2023 1966)
Café at the front of St Luke's Parish Hall; good view of park through windows, if you stand up. Breakfasts, sandwiches and lunches, including filled pancakes, gammon egg chips, curry of the day, lasagne, and salads. I had a coffee and a Millionaires shortbread cake, which lived up to its description of ‘lush’. A Cardiff Foodbank Collection point (Food Hygiene Rating 4: good. Nov 2011).
591 Cowbridge Road East CF5 1BE
Confectionary shop (Food Hygiene Rating 5: very good. Nov 2010).
The Cook Shop
591 Cowbridge Road East CF5 1BE
Recently opened; it was previously a Brutons the Bakers. Frozen ready meals. The Cook Shop also has an outlet on Wellfield Road in Roath (Food Hygiene Rating 4: good. Oct 2012).
Lansdowne Road joins Cowbridge Road East at this point.
Cross over Cowbridge Park East and walk around Victoria Park. The park was opened in 1879, six days before Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee. You'll see a paddling pool and a statue of Billy the Seal, who resided in Victoria Park Lake (1912-1939, when there was a small zoo here). Billy (subsequently found to be female) famously swam away from the park during the 1927 floods and was returned in a tram. Billy's skeleton can be seen at the National Museum Wales in Cardiff. Victoria Park has, more recently, been used on several occasions as a Dr Who location.
Victoria Park, Cowbridge Road East CF5 1EG
The Victoria Park Kiosk is currently closed for the winter, but drinks, snacks and ice creams are served here for most of the year (Food Hygiene Rating 5: very good. Nov 2011).
Cross Victoria Park Road West:
Victoria Park Crêperie
1 Victoria Park Road East CF5 1EZ (2115 7308)
Opened on 25 September 2012 by Regis (the Chef) and Claudie. Serving French pancakes, waffles, sandwiches, pasta, salads and other light meals, from breakfast through to early evening.
The Park Deli
444a Cowbridge Road East CF11 1BJ (2056 0251)
Opened in August 2010 by Cassie Bodington. This sandwich shop is take-away with some seating; breakfast, jacket potatoes, salads, cakes along with good range of sandwich options.
452 Cowbridge Road East CF11 1BJ (2057 7066)
Indian food take-away, delivery and catering service. They have a second outlet on Crwys Road (Food Hygiene Rating 3: generally satisfactory. Sept 2011).
Victoria Park Pie Company
454 Cowbridge Road East CF11 9BJ
Formerly called Mary Clark's Pies and established in 1909. All their pies are made on these premises and delivered to retail outlets around Cardiff. Take-away counter (hot or cold). Their pies are easily distinguished from Clark's Pies by thinner pastry crust, and now with edible labels to distinguish different flavours. Range includes Original Beef and Vegetable, Steak Pie, Chicken and Vegetable, and Steak and Kidney. I bought a Chicken Balti to have for lunch (Food Hygiene Rating 4: good. Nov 2011).
474 Cowbridge Road East CF11 1BJ
Convenience store and off-licence (Food Hygiene Rating 1: major improvement necessary. Feb 2012).
The pub Ty Pwyll Coch closed earlier this year. It was a fine building, now looking distinctly derelict, and one of the oldest pubs in the area. From here, the infamous Canton Mile Pub Crawl could be started.
Beyond here, Cowbridge Road East goes under a railway line (old Brains advertising a feature of these old bridges in Cardiff) and over another railway line. At the roundabout with Western Avenue, Cowbridge Road East ends and Cowbridge Road West (A48) begins; it immediately bridges the River Ely and then passes through Ely and Caerau.
Turn around and walk back to Victoria Park.
Have a great Christmas. Let’s meet by the statue of Billy the Seal in the New Year, when we’ll continue this walking tour of Cardiff.
Previously, on the walking tour:
Cowbridge Road East 2
Cowbridge Road East 1
Tuesday, 11 December 2012
Last week, I left you waiting outside Lovecraft sex shop on the corner of Cowbridge Road East and Wyndham Crescent. Super Furry Animals named their 2005 album Love Kraft after this shop, which may sell edible items - but let’s not go there. Continue walking along Cowbridge Road East in a westerly direction. Across the road (left side):
165-167 Cowbridge Road East CF11 9AH (2022 5364)
Fast-growing discount store chain (owned by T.J. Morris); this week’s promoted food is Christmas confectionary, crisps and instant noodles.
169 Cowbridge Road East CF11 9AH (2066 6111)
Tribe Tribe used to operate here in the evenings, offering African food. The daytime café remains, serving budget-priced food (breakfast, sandwiches, lunches); current special offer is £1 hot sausage bap. Still licensed, with wine bar promised in the evenings (Food Hygiene Rating 1: major improvement necessary. Sept 2012).
173 Cowbridge Road East CF11 9AH (2034 4770)
This is one of Cardiff’s oldest Indian restaurants, and has been operating on this site for over 20 years. All the standard tried-and-tested curry choices and there’s plenty of options for vegetarians. Indian and Bangladeshi lagers are served (Food Hygiene Rating 3: generally satisfactory. Feb 2011).
Across the road (right side):
92 Cowbridge Road East CF11 9DX
The Codfather is a traditional Fish and Chip Shop, which has recently diversified to sell kebabs. Senior citizens can get a discount (Food Hygiene Rating 1: major improvement necessary. Nov 2011).
98 Cowbridge Road East CF11 9DX (2023 2326)
This Subway (opposite The Foresters pub) seems to have smarted up its act since its original Food Hygiene Rating of 1 was awarded in 2011 (Food Hygiene Rating 3: generally satisfactory. Feb 2012).
G & J Braithwaite
108 Cowbridge Road East CF11 9DX (2023 0088)
Family butcher established in 1968 (Food Hygiene Rating 5: very good. May 2011).
Left (crossing with nearby lights):
At the entrance to pedestrianized Ann Street, between Indo Cymru and the pub, is a red stall selling a good range of fresh fruit and vegetables.
181 Cowbridge Road East CF11 9AJ (2025 1801)
Traditional locals’ pub, especially popular with sports fans, that was built in 1882 and refurbished 1997 (my source for this, cardiffpubs.co.uk, also notes that a number of ghosts hang out there). Food is not generally served. Owned by Punch Taverns (Food Hygiene Rating 3: generally satisfactory. June 2012).
185a Cowbridge Road East CF11 9AJ (2022 0026)
Opened by Chef Anand George a year ago last week (5 Dec), this restaurant serves “Nouvelle Indian Cuisine” that will have you re-evaluating what you think about Indian food. Winner of Best Curry House in Wales in 2012. Spices complement rather than overpower and presentation is fine-dining. Medleys with one ingredient cooked three ways have been a feature (e.g., Lamb in a thrice: pattice, kebab, chop); the beef medley, unusually for an Indian restaurant, included a pie. The menu changes frequently. A recent Deep Blue menu focused on fish, and included a novel take on fish and chips with spicy batter. Tiffin seabass is an Anand George signature dish (pan-fried seabass served on curry leaf infused mashed potato in raw mango, ginger and coconut sauce). To celebrate the restaurant’s first birthday, the new 501 Celebration Menu is a feast featuring game (£39.95 a head), including Lapin à deux (tandoori skewers and spiced in flaky pastry), a fish course with halibut, a pheasant course, and braised goat rajasthan-style and a Keralan Christmas dish of haunch of wild boar among the mains. We ate lunch there recently (two courses £9.95): Salmon fishcakes, Caws Aur (cheese parcels with spiced cashews), Syrian Beef Curry (Syrian-style Keralan dish with spiced brisket), Murgh Chatpata Kolaphur (chicken in a sweet-tangy sauce, from Kolaphur in Maharashtra), and an Aloo dish. This first floor location, above Sizzle and Grill and The Meat Market, was previously occupied by Jinuk Indian restaurant (Food Hygiene Rating 4: good. Jan 2012).
I recently took part as a judge in Wales on the Menu, a BBC Radio Wales programme hosted by Simon Wright, in which each week an amateur cook strives to adapt one of their dishes for the menu of a leading restaurant. Vince Harris from Barry cooked his dish (Seared monkfish tails and Keralan-style sauce, with cashew nut and pineapple pilau, and coriander chutney) in the Purple Poppadom kitchen. The other judges were Raman Bijalwan, General Manager at Purple Poppadom, and Nicki Tudor, of Cardiff Bites blog fame. The programme was broadcast last Sunday, 9 December at 5.30pm, but if you missed it you can hear it on the BBC iplayer until Sunday 16 Dec 2012:
Sizzle and Grill
185 Cowbridge Road East CF11 9AJ (2037 3116)
This Steak House is underneath Purple Poppadum, but trades more on quantity than quality; being the self-proclaimed “Home of Man vs. Food” eating in Cardiff. There’s the 69oz Mixed Grill Challenge (£29.99 plus free T-shirt if you eat it all), for instance, or the Orgasma comprising a tower of five steak burgers and five chicken burgers with onion rings and the trimmings (plus chips). Suicide wings have been prepared in “the hottest marinade ever” (using Naga Bhut Jolokia – the hottest chillies in the world). New on the menu is the large Bush Tucker Mixed Grill with crocodile, bison and kangaroo testicles. Now, that’s a lot of bollocks (Food Hygiene Rating 1: major improvement necessary. Nov 2011).
The Meat Market
187 Cowbridge Road East CF11 9AJ
If Sizzle and Steak should run out of meat, there is a handy butcher’s shop next door; in fact they look to be part of the same operation. The Meat Market opens directly to the street during trading and you’ll always find some good value cuts here (Food Hygiene Rating 4: good. Sept 2012).
Premier Stores (Express)
195 Cowbridge Road East CF11 9AJ
Grocery store (Food Hygiene Rating 5: very good. March 2012).
199 Cowbridge Road East CF11 9AJ
Café serving fresh Italian coffee, cakes, sandwiches, snacks and light meals, including pasta, omelettes and grills. The café and the coffee are under the same brand name (Food Hygiene Rating 4: good. June 2011).
201 Cowbridge Road East CF11 9AJ (2066 8833)
Japanese Sushi and Noodle Restaurant established in 2006. Typical dishes include Spider maki (crab, avocado, cucumber and caviar sushi), Niku tofu nabe (beef, bean curd noodles in sukiyaki sauce) and Katsu curry chicken. Sushi includes squid, octopus and surf clam. Specials may include fried mackerel and grilled eel in teriyaki sauce and, for those who can’t get enough seafood, Yaki udon noodles are served with scallops, squid, mussels, shrimp and mixed vegetables. The restaurant opens lunchtime (set meals from £7.50) and in the evenings; there is also an evening-only take-away and delivery service. A second Ichiban (meaning ‘number one’) has been opened on Albany Road (Food Hygiene Rating 3: generally satisfactory. Oct 2012).
205 Cowbridge Road East CF11 9AJ
One of 15 branches of Greggs in Cardiff, all selling take-away sandwiches, pastries and cakes. The window is currently full of seasonal items such as mince pies, Christmas cake, gingerbread men, snowman biscuits etc. (Food Hygiene Rating 5: very good. Nov 2012).
207 Cowbridge Road East CF11 9AJ (2034 0455)
Thai restaurant focusing on simple and precisely-cooked food; specialises in stir fries, curries, grills, noodle and rice dishes. A take-away menu enables you to eat many of the restaurant’s most popular dishes at home. Open at lunchtime and for dinner Tuesday to Saturday, and on Sunday afternoon (Food Hygiene Rating 4: good. Nov 2011).
Brutons The Bakers
244 Cowbridge Road East CF11 9AL (2023 2655)
One of two Brutons on Cowbridge Road East. Cardiff-based Brutons have around eight bakery shops in the city and also operate a catering service. Bread, sandwiches, pasties, cakes and more (Food Hygiene Rating 5: very good. Jan 2012).
Tuck in Grill House
255 Cowbridge Road East CF11 9AL (2019 8415)
Take-away: BBQ, kebabs, pizza, fried chicken. Opposite, across the road, is the related Tuck in Café (Food Hygiene Rating 3: generally satisfactory. June 2011).
Miss Millies Fried Chicken
231 Cowbridge Road East CF11 9AL (2039 6116)
Locally-based fast-food take-away. Fried chicken their speciality (e.g., chicken in a bun). Open late (1am) at the weekends. There is a second Miss Millies Fried Chicken on City Road (Food Hygiene Rating 5: very good. Nov 2011).
233 Cowbridge Road East CF11 9AL (2039 7531)
The Happy Gathering is a Cantonese-style Chinese restaurant, established in 1985. Dim sum is a speciality, with around 50 dishes to choose from daily until 6pm, ranging from steamed dumplings and other standards to more unusual dishes like chicken feet or ox tripe. Other menus encompass hundreds of dishes, with lunchtime, a la carte, and set evening menus that include vegetarian set-meals and children’s dishes. Chef’s specials focus on sizzling Cantonese dishes. Licensed, over 250 covers, with live music, large take-away menu, and they also do catering (Food Hygiene Rating 4: good. July 2011).
239 Cowbridge Road East CF11 9AL (2030 3945)
Large Brains-owned traditional pub, originally built in 1886. Extensive pub food menu (Food Hygiene Rating 3: generally satisfactory. June 2011).
Across the road, and backtracking to just before the Severn Road junction:
122 Cowbridge Road East CF11 9DX (2039 9788)
Lebanese restaurant and take-away; also a catering service. Wraps, savoury pastries, burgers, grills, and Middle Eastern and north African dishes, including the popular Egyptian street food Koshary (Food Hygiene Rating 3: generally satisfactory. Dec 2011).
Detour down Severn Road:
126a Cowbridge Road East CF11 (2022 0269)
With a Cowbridge Road address, but a front door around the corner on Severn Road, this upstairs Italian restaurant serves pizza, pasta, veal and poultry dishes, and a range of other authentic Italian dishes (Food Hygiene Rating 3: generally satisfactory. Nov 2011).
Carry on along Severn Road for a short distance:
1 Severn Road CF11 9DZ
Quantum Café is a traditional British breakfast café. Also lunches, coffee and cakes. Big breakfast currently retails at £4.70 and standard set breakfast for £3.90 (including tea or coffee). Seems to be popular in there (Food Hygiene Rating 5: very good. June 2011).
Across the road is Why Not Ozzy off-licence and newsagent. Back on Cowbridge Road East and carrying on up the right side for a while (to catch up with where we left off on the other side):
Tuck in Café
132 Cowbridge Road East CF11 9ND
Traditional café with plenty of seating, open for breakfast, lunch and afternoon coffee. Opposite the Tuck In Grill House take-away (Food Hygiene Rating 3: generally satisfactory. July 2011).
144 Cowbridge Road East CF11 9DX (2039 9788)
Butchers that is noted for its home-made pies; there’s often a delightful smell of freshly-cooked pies as you walk past. Also home-made faggots and a good range of meats (Food Hygiene Rating 3: generally satisfactory. May 2012).
146 Cowbridge Road East CF11 9ND (2022 6242)
Portuguese restaurant owned by Navzat Karagul and Victor Rodriguez (both formerly of Casanova in Cardiff city centre). Almada serves authentic Portuguese cuisine at lunchtimes and dinner times (Tues-Sat, and on Sunday afternoons). Typical dishes include Atum a Algarvia, Caldeirda de Piexe, Entremeada com Lombo de Porco, Espada, Frango á Piri Piri, and Perdiz Selvagen(Food Hygiene Rating 2: improvement necessary. March 2012).
154 Cowbridge Road East CF11 9DX (2022 5839)
BBL stands for Breakfast Brunch and Lunch, which are all served at this take-away serving hot and cold food (Food Hygiene Rating 1: major improvement necessary. Aug 2012).
158 Cowbridge Road East CF11 9DX
Popular greengrocers and florist. You can find a good range of more-unusual fruit and vegetables here. Always worth looking in to see what’s in season. On a previous visit I bought a very large bag of fresh ginger for £1 (a year’s supply in my freezer); dates are currently looking good value (Food Hygiene Rating 5: very good. Oct 2012).
160/162 Cowbridge Road East CF11 9ND (2064 4676)
A Smith and Jones pub. There is a large extension at back for dining and they are child-friendly. The menu features a wide range of typical pub food. Theme nights include Curry Night. Private parties catered for (Food Hygiene Rating 3: generally satisfactory. May 2012).
164 Cowbridge Road East CF11 9NE (2022 7474)
This Pizza Hut is take-away and delivery only (Food Hygiene Rating 4: good. Nov 2011).
Across the road:
Sir Ivor Davies
245/249 Cowbridge Road East CF11 9AN (2066 7615)
A J.D. Wetherspoon pub with a typically extensive Wetherspoon pub food menu. There is additional seating upstairs, around a balcony. Ivor Davies is better known as the celebrated actor, composer and songwriter Ivor Novello, who was born just down the road at 95 Cowbridge Road East (Food Hygiene Rating 5: very good. Nov 2011).
255/257 Cowbridge Road East CF11 9AN
(Food Hygiene Rating 5: very good. Nov 2011).
Cross over the short Delta Street, which creates a triangular “traffic island” at the junction of Cowbridge Road East and Leckwith Road. The HSBC Bank building on the sharp edge of this triangle used to be a pub.
The Candy Shop
267 Cowbridge Road East CF11 9AP
The Candy Shop sells old-fashioned sweets (Food Hygiene Rating 4: good. Nov 2011).
269 Cowbridge Road East CF11 9AP (2066 6688)
On the corner of Cowbridge Road East and Leckwith Road, this friendly locals’ café serves breakfast and lunch, including vegetarian breakfasts. Lunches include lasagne, curry, fish and chips, burgers and sandwich range. Also open for Sunday lunch. I stopped by for a small all-day breakfast (£4 including cup of coffee) earlier this week. It comprised a rasher of bacon, sausage, generous portion of mushrooms, a couple of stewed tomatoes, fried bread, beans. Small, only in the context of Cowbridge Road East (Food Hygiene Rating 3: generally satisfactory. July 2012).
Cross Leckwith Road:
Canton Cross Vaults
Canton Cross Hotel, 9a Leckwith Road CF11 8HJ (2038 4550)
The oldest pub in the area, this coaching inn was built sometime before 1875. The bar has been described as being the size of a living room. There’s a basic pub food menu, and loud karaoke. Punch taverns (Food Hygiene Rating 1: major improvement necessary. Nov 2011).
Walk to the staggered junction of Leckwith Road with Cowbridge Road East and Llandaff Road. I’ll see you on the other side of the road, at The Corporation, next time.
Previously, on the walking tour:
Cowbridge Road East 1
Wednesday, 5 December 2012
Previously, I left you crossing the River Taff on the bridge to the start of Cowbridge Road East. It's a long road, with many independent restaurants offering cuisine from all around the world. At the first junction, with Cathedral Road and Lower Cathedral Road, on your left:
49 Cowbridge Road East CF11 9AD (2030 3002)
The Westgate Hotel is a large traditional Brains pub, on the corner with Lower Cathedral Road, with a long horseshoe-shaped bar. It serves a wide range of standard pub meals and real ales. The original Westgate Hotel on this site was established in the eighteenth century, but was demolished in the 1930s. Children welcome with dining adults (Food Hygiene Rating 4: good. July 2011).
Across the Lower Cathedral Road junction, and after Electric Bikes:
53a Cowbridge Road East CF11 9AE (2039 8055)
Posh Nosh is a catering company, with a popular front-of-house sandwich bar. A wide range of sandwich fillings are available, though don’t expect radical or adventurous options (Food Hygiene Rating 4: good. July 2011).
55 Cowbridge Road East CF11 9AE
A small Spar store opened here earlier this year. Formerly D&A News.
Further along Cowbridge Road East is a busy junction, with Neville Street doubling back sharply to the left and Wellington Road straight ahead. Keep to the right fork and walk past the entrance of St David’s Hospital to stay on Cowbridge Road East. It should be noted that the numbers on the left and right of this road soon go wildly out of synch (e.g., 149 on the left opposite 72 on the right). On your right:
52 Cowbridge Road East CF11 9DU (2064 4555)
Indian and Bangladeshi cuisine: take-away and delivery service, with online ordering. Kebabs, tandoori oven, biryani, vindaloo and numerous other curry dishes, good vegetarian special selection, and curried cockles. Halal (Food Hygiene Rating 4: good. Oct 201).
On Way Pizza
54 Cowbridge Road East CF11 9DU (2023 1661)
Take-away: burger, kebab, pizza. Maybe One Way Pizza missing an 'e'. This was formerly Canton House Kebab (Canton House Kebabs: Food Hygiene Rating 1: major improvement necessary. Sept 2011).
Hot Wax Records (58 Cowbridge Road East) sells vinyl records. Plenty to interest the collector and a boxful of free vinyl on the pavement outside to get the curious hooked on its superior sound quality.
60 Cowbridge Road East CF11 9DU (2022 7120)
Fishmongers selling interesting range of fish and seafood, including crabs, lobster, octopus, squid, scallops and shellfish, along with seaweed, vegetables and game (Food Hygiene Rating 1: major improvement necessary. March 2012).
64 Cowbridge Road East CF11 9DU
Off-licence and general store. Sells spices.
The Eurasian Tandoori
66 Cowbridge Road East CF11 9DU (2039 8148)
Contemporary Indian and Indonesian cuisine served in restaurant established in 1968, making it one of Cardiff’s oldest family-run restaurants. The distinctive purple frontage leads into a surprisingly large establishment, with areas for group and couples dining. The menu features Tandoori, Bangladeshi, Indonesian, Punjabi, Balti and interesting house specials. Unlicensed, but you can bring your own wine or beer for a small corkage. Take-away menu closely mirrors the restaurant menu (Food Hygiene Rating 3: major improvement necessary. March 2012).
145 Cowbridge Road East CF11 9DU (2022 8911)
In the impressive old Royal Exchange building (1887), U Diner is a large all-you-can-eat Chinese oriental buffet and hotpot restaurant. Licensed and operates maximum two hour stay at table (to stop people doing lunch and dinner for around £11). Also an extensive take-away menu.
147 Cowbridge Road East CF11 9AH (2022 7700)
This Italian Restaurant and Lounge Bar opened in April 2012. La Galleria is an independent serving classic Italian food, including pizza and pasta, fish dishes, and chicken, veal and steak meals. The Head Chef is Pietro Godino. Chef’s specials include Risotto Gamberoni e Cozze (arborio rice, king prawns and mussels in a white wine, plum and Tuscan tomato sauce). Open for lunch and dinner every day except Sunday (Food Hygiene Rating 3: generally satisfactory. June 2012).
149 Cowbridge Road East CF11 9AH (2039 5959)
Indian restaurant and take-away, with Balti and tandoori dishes a speciality (Food Hygiene Rating 2: improvement necessary. Oct 2012).
151 Cowbridge Road East CF11 9AH (2034 1844)
The New Champagne is a Chinese take-away (Food Hygiene Rating 5: very good. April 2011).
153/155 Cowbridge Road East CF11 9AH (2022 3697)
La Lupa Ristorante is a large independent serving authentic Italian food, specialising in Roman cuisine (e.g., Pollo con Peperoni and Saltimbocca alla Romana). The owner is Roberto Raffaelli. Bread and pasta are made on the premises, and the best value on the menu is the three-course midweek (Tues-Thurs) special for £13.50. Open for lunch and dinner Tuesday to Saturday (Food Hygiene Rating 5: very good. Sept 2011).
The Italian Way
157 Cowbridge Road East CF11 9DW (2036 6980)
Locally-owned Italian restaurant offering all the Italian classics; typical menu items include pan-fried sea bass, Chicken con marsala and Linguini marinara (Food Hygiene Rating 3: generally satisfactory. Oct 2010).
Right side and backtracked to opposite Balti Wallah:
72 Cowbridge Road East CF11 9DU (2034 4320)
Opened almost a year ago (on 15 Dec 2011), Pho Bac is unique in Cardiff for serving authentic Vietnamese cuisine. I met a friend for lunch there this week. We opted for the £6.50-a-head lunch menu, for which you can currently choose practically any starter and main course on the menu, and also get a soft drink or tea for the price. I opted for Sweet and sour grated salad with mango and beef jerky, followed by a fried catfish dish with ginger and mango sauce. My companion had seafood spring rolls followed by a Pho dish (photos below). The restaurant is named after Vietnam’s most popular dish (pho), Vietnamese flat rice-flour noodle soups (Pho Bac means northern pho, variants on the dish from up near Hanoi, as opposed to Pho Sai Gon). Special dishes on the menu are not included on the lunchtime deal; these include goat meat hot pot (£90) and Vietnamese delicacies such as Duck tongue in crispy batter and Vietnamese pork feet delicacy. The menu is being simplified this month, to specialize in a smaller number of Vietnamese street foods (including all the dishes that are most popular with customers). They will still do the Vietnamese specialities, but they will have to request them off-menu. There is a take-away menu and karaoke at the weekends.
74 Cowbridge Road East CF11 9DU (2037 2697)
The Kings Castle Hotel is a traditional locals’ pub on the corner of Cowbridge Road East and Kings Road. The pub dates from around 1890, and according to cardiffpubs.co.uk, was once called Ebenezer Riley’s Kings Castle. It is owned by Enterprise Inns. It’s a drinkers pub and I could see no evidence of food being served.
A short distance along Kings Road:
11 Kings Road CF11 9BZ (2019 0265)
Opened in Sept 2012 by Richard Edwards and Montserrat Prat, with Chef Pablo Melillo, La Cuina (Catalan for ‘the kitchen’) brings authentic Catalonian food to Cardiff for the first time; indeed, it claims to be the first Catalan deli/restaurant in Wales. The downstairs deli sells artisan bread and a range of Catalan products including olive oil, chorizo and other dried meats, sheep and goats’ cheeses, wines, wine-based vinegars, honey and cakes, as well as Catalan earthenware for the oven and dining table. I left with some Xorico. There are also vacuum-packed meals from the kitchen to take-away. Tapas are served in the upstairs restaurant at lunchtimes, with a full menu of Catalan dishes served Thursday to Sunday evenings. A new menu is being printed this week. Expect dishes like Catalan chicken casserole with prunes, chocolate and wine, and Slow-cooked rabbit in escabetx (white wine vinegar). Mains from around £18. From 2002 to 2012, the acclaimed South American meets modern European restaurant Patagonia traded in this location.
The food and drink establishments at the other end of Kings Road are on another part of this tour.
76 Cowbridge Road East CF11 9DW (2038 4210)
Pasta, pizza and other Italian dishes are served in this traditional Italian café, noted for its coffee. Sandwiches deals and other take-away options (Food Hygiene Rating 2: improvement necessary. Sept 2011).
Mario’s Kebab and Pizza
78 Cowbridge Road East CF11 9DW
Take away. Seems to be closed for business at the moment (Food Hygiene Rating 3: generally satisfactory. Oct 2011).
At the nearby junction with Wyndham Crescent, take a short detour:
2 Wyndham Crescent CF11 9EH
Opened earlier this year, this take-away offering authentic Malaysian food, appears to have been short-lived. It closed last month for “restructuring” and is currently still closed (Food Hygiene Rating 1: major improvement necessary. Sept 2012).
4 Wyndham Crescent CF11 9EH (2123 0464)
Indian takeaway, which used to be Masala Night.
14 Wyndham Crescent CF11 9EH (2034 0197)
Chinese take-away (Food Hygiene Rating 5: very good. Nov 2011).
Go back to the junction. I'll meet you on the corner next time!
Previously, on the walking tour:
Wednesday, 28 November 2012
We are in Bute Park / Parc Bute, Cardiff, on a walking tour of the city.
Previously, I left you at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama (RWCMD) on North Road, on the edge of Bute Park. Yesterday, the RWCMD was bustling with its new intake of students. Lunchtime specials were a tomato, red pepper and truffle soup; chicken, ham and mushroom pie; fish pie; and a pasta and tomato gratin.
You can enter Bute Park and Arboretum from North Road next to the RWCMD during daylight hours. Cross the bridge over the feeder stream and turn left. This area of Bute Park is called Cooper’s Field. After a short distance, take the right fork in the path. This curves across the park through the trees (with the giant warthog emerging from the ground on your left).
Although Capability Brown originally landscaped Bute Park in the late eighteenth century for the first Marquess of Bute, the park in its present form is the result of landscaping done in the late nineteenth century for the third Marquess of Bute. The arboretum was created in 1947, when the existing trees were supplemented by a diverse planting of species. There are now many Champion Trees (e.g., trees noted because of their size, rarity or historical significance), which are pointed out on guided walks organized by Cardiff City Council.
Among the events held in Bute Park is the Royal Horticultural Society’s Spring Show. The show was in its eighth year in 2012.
Just before the footpath reaches the River Taff, turn to your left:
Bute Park and Arboretum, Castle Road, CF10 1BJ
The Summerhouse / Tŷ Haf is a coffee shop and sandwich bar that, despite its name, is open all year round; serving take-away with plenty of outdoor seating, some of it under a covered veranda. Yesterday, there were cyclists, walkers and parents with young children taking a break and enjoying the winter sunshine. Serves breakfast; sandwiches, paninis and baguettes with a wide range of fillings; salads; jacket potatoes (e.g., chili con carne filling); flowerpot muffins and home-made cakes. Current best deal is for cake with a hot drink. Does a good trade in ice cream during the summer (Food Hygiene Rating 5: very good. June 2011).
The Summerhouse was built in the style of the original Bute Summerhouse, designed by William Burges (architect to the third Marquess of Bute), which was removed in the 1970s and is now in the National History Museum at St Fagans.
The footbridge across the River Taff by the kiosk takes you to Sophia Gardens (on a different part of our tour). You can also catch the Water Bus near here, which takes you down the River Taff to Cardiff Bay. The service was not running yesterday due to high flow levels on the river.
Walk past the Summerhouse, toward the Millennium Stadium and the city centre. One of the city’s best herbaceous borders runs alongside this footpath (visit again next spring or summer), with the river a short distance away on the other side.
The Gorsedd Circle you will see on the lawn to your left was erected here in 1978, after that year’s National Eisteddfod; although I believe the large flat central stone (Logan stone) may date from the 1938 National Eisteddfod.
The building by the exit to Castle Street is the West Lodge:
Pettigrew Tea Rooms
West Lodge, Bute Park and Arboretum, Castle Street CF10 1BJ (2023 5486)
The West Lodge was built in the 1860s. It was recently restored by the Bute Park Restoration Project, with funding from Cardiff Council and the Heritage Lottery Fund. David Le Masurier opened a traditional tearoom in the building in late March 2012 (just in time for the RHS Spring Show). David chronicled the stages, from leaving his previous job until the café’s opening, on a popular blog: I Want to Bake Free. There have been many satisfied customers since; this morning Pettigrew Tea Rooms was ranked #1 of 511 restaurants in Cardiff on Tripadvisor (98 reviews). The Tea Rooms are named after Andrew Pettigrew, Head Gardener to the third Marquess of Bute, who landscaped Bute Park from 1873.
I stopped by yesterday for a pot of Earl Grey tea and a large slice of carrot cake (see photos). The cakes are home-made and taste every bit as good as they look. The tea menu includes Assam, Lapsang Souchong, green teas, chamomile, white peony and pink rosebuds, lemon and ginger and, for the real connoisseur, Darjeeling 2012 First Flush from Selim Hill Estate (“bright taste, a floral aroma with a smooth finish and a hint of musk…”). There is a typical range of coffees, luxury hot chocolate, and the Fentimans range of soft drinks (including their classic ginger beer). Tearoom Classics (cakes and tea) include a Welsh version with bara brith, and the de luxe Pettigrew Afternoon Tea has just been given a seasonal make-over.
Other food available at lunchtime includes soups; sandwiches (including a finger sandwich collection); ploughman’s, farmer’s and fisherman’s lunches; and salads. Cups, plates and décor are old and characterful with a Victorian and Edwardian feel. There’s a gift shop next door, and additional seating in a room upstairs that doubles as an art gallery. The Pettigrew Tea Rooms are open 9am-4pm Monday to Friday, 9.30am-5pm Saturday, and 10am-4pm Sunday (Food Hygiene Rating 5: very good. May 2012).
The gates to Bute Park close half-hour before dusk. Therefore, during the winter the park closes relatively early (yesterday it was 3.45pm). This affects access to footpaths running through the park (to the annoyance of bicycle commuters) and entry to the Summerhouse and Pettigrew Tea Rooms (which may therefore close earlier at this time of year). If you do get locked in, then head for where we started at the RWCMD and go through the exit-only turnstile.
From the Pettigrew Tea Rooms, exit the park through the arch and turn left. Walk along the famous Animal Wall, which was carved by Thomas Nicholls and was originally erected in 1880 in front of the castle. It was restored in 2010. Toward Cardiff Castle: pelican, anteater, racoons, leopards, beaver, vulture, hyena, wolf, baboons, sea lion, bear, lioness, lynx, and a pair of lions (on the gates by the clocktower).
Entry is free if you are only visiting the café and gift shop, otherwise buy a ticket to visit the grounds and castle (or get a Cardiff resident's Keycard for free entry to the grounds).
Castle Street CF10 3RB (2087 8100)
This site was first fortified by the Romans in the first century AD. The Norman Keep is still impressive, and you get good views from the top. Once through the main door, turn right for the Bute Café (and the gift-shop). The cafe serves good-value breakfasts (9-11am), and a range of sandwiches, light lunches and specials (11.30am-3pm); as well as teas, coffee and Welsh cakes throughout the day. Yesterday’s specials were steak and ale pie and a risotto (Food Hygiene Rating 4: good. August 2012).
I highly recommend a tour of the castle, which takes in the ornate gothic rooms designed by the architect William Burges for the third Marquess of Bute. The Banqueting Hall is still in demand as a banqueting venue, for civic and corporate events, wedding receptions and parties (Food Hygiene Rating 4: good. March 2012).
The Great British Cheese Festival
Cardiff Castle CF10 3RB
The Great British Cheese Festival has been held inside the walls of Cardiff Castle every September since 2008. It claims to be the biggest cheese market in Britain, with over 400 cheeses on offer. In addition to the Big Cheese Market, where you can sample most of the cheeses, there is a Best of British Market selling other food and drink products. A programme of workshops, talks and demonstrations runs through the weekend, along with entertainment (on the council’s mobile bandstand). The evening before the festival, the industry’s British Cheese Awards are held (in 2012 they were in the National Museum of Wales).
From the Castle entrance, walk back along the Animal Wall to the bridge over the River Taff, with Cardiff Arms Park and the Millennium Stadium over the road to the left (we will be on the other side of Castle Street later on the walking tour). I’ll see you next time across the bridge, on the other side of the River Taff.
Previously, on the walking tour:
Cardiff Castle Wartime Tunnels
Cardiff Castle Wartime Tunnels