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