Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Flannels, Cardiff

A new café opened ten days before Christmas in an underused space on the first floor of the designer clothing store Flannels on Churchill Way in Cardiff. The Alius Modi café is on the first floor, above the in-store Tino Constantinou hair salon.

Alius Modi has been promoted as a new concept salon/café/gallery, but don’t let that put you off. It’s a relaxing place for coffee, with healthy-looking browsing and brunch menus. The coffee is free during their opening promotion offer, which runs until the end of March.

All the food is freshly prepared and reasonably priced (£2.50 to £6). The smaller portions on offer can provide for a light lunch or can be ordered in combinations. There are daily specials, such as the Moussaka on the day we our visited.

My Greek salad had some fine grilled halloumi, with feta and olives. Maybe a little too much cucumber and not enough olive oil for my liking, but it was fresh and hit the spot. My partner's maple pancakes with crispy bacon and scrambled egg proved a better choice (no surprise there) with a well-judged amount of syrup.

I like the unpredictability of the menu. The Browsing Menu ranges from fries, wild mushrooms, risotto balls and salads, to whitebait, mussels and squid; while the accompanying Brunch Menu encompasses omelettes and the AM breakfast (minute steak, wild mushrooms, potato rösti, fried egg and tomato).

The panoramic windows give views onto Churchill Way, and the Premier Inn and offices of Helmont House next door. It’s a different perspective on Cardiff. There’s an attractive wooden floor and wall space for a gallery (e.g., student design work).

Alius Modi may find it difficult attracting people to their first-floor location. However, they will soon have a drinks licence and the outside terrace looks a good place for al fresco drinking and grazing on salads during the summer. Getting people out (and noticed) on the terrace, particularly from the nearby offices, may be key to their success.

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