We are currently in Pontcanna and will be heading down through Riverside. Previously, I left you walking along Pen-Hill Road to where, at the bend to the right, it turns into Cathedral Road. On your left you will have seen Llandaff Fields.
On the driveway to the Llandaff Fields car park:
Cathedral Road CF11 9JJ
With indoor and outdoor seating, this friendly café at the entrance to Llandaff Fields opened early in 2012 and serves hot drinks, sandwiches, soup, snacks, pasta and other meals. Highly rated on Internet review sites; the quality of service and food in such a location seems to have taken many walkers by surprise, to the extent that it was at one point rated #3 out of 538 restaurants in Cardiff on Tripadvisor (currently #26) (Food Hygiene Rating 5: very good. Sept 2012).
This is a good place to detour if you want to take a walk across the fields to Llandaff (you’ll see Llandaff Cathedral from here beyond the rugby pitches) or along the nearby Taff Trail. There are public toilets to the side of the building. The irregularly-shaped roundabout opposite the café is where the old Cardiff trolley-buses used to turn around.
Start walking down Cathedral Road, in a southerly direction. Cathedral Road was first laid out in the 1850s, with most of the grand houses dating from around the 1890s. Many of these fine buildings are today used for businesses (e.g., dentists, health centres and language schools), hotels, guest houses, and bed and breakfasts (which although they serve food, mainly cater for residents and so are outside the scope of this survey). On your right:
247 Cathedral Road CF11 9PP (2066 7135)
The Halfway Hotel is a traditional Brains pub; built in the 19th Century, and refurbished in 2003. Pub food is served from lunchtime until 9pm (except Sundays, when the afternoon roast is the thing). The grill menu is popular. This spacious open-plan pub also has a skittle alley and a walled garden for outdoor drinking (Food Hygiene Rating 4: good. Aug 2012).
239 Cathedral Road CF11 9PP (2037 1791)
Chinese take-away, specialising in chop suey among other things. It opens in the evenings only (Food Hygiene Rating 1: immediate improvement necessary. Aug 2011).
Pontcanna News has closed.
Bant a la Cart
231 Cathedral Road CF11 9PP (2022 7180)
Deli and cafe opened around seven years ago by owner Elin Wyn Williams, specialising in Welsh food. Deli produce includes Welsh cheeses, pastries and cakes. Bant a la Cart are also a catering company, who cater on film sets and for diverse events (Food Hygiene Rating 3: generally satisfactory. Oct 2010).
Hot Pantry Bakery
229 Cathedral Road CF11 9PP (2022 8649)
Independent bakery, selling range of pies, pasties and cakes. I bought a large wholemeal loaf (Food Hygiene Rating 2: improvement necessary. Feb 2011).
The Fruit Bowl
227 Cathedral Road CF11 9PP
Greengrocers (Food Hygiene Rating 4: good. April 2012).
D J Driscoll Butchers
221 Cathedral Road CF11 9PP (2023 0915)
This traditional family butcher has been trading in Pontcanna for around 75 years (also known as Mike Driscoll family butchers). Welsh black beef and Welsh lamb, sausages, free-range chickens, Woodland pork and other meats from notable farms. A quality butchers shop (Food Hygiene Rating 5: very good. Jan 2011).
211-217 Cathedral Road CF11 9PP (2022 4654)
This large Coffee #1 outlet opened in May 2012 on a site formerly occupied by Ballantyne’s wine merchants. Coffee #1 is owned by Cardiff-based brewing company Brains (SA Brain & Co), which is expanding this coffee house brand. There are now over 30 Coffee #1 outlets (Food Hygiene Rating 4: good. May 2012).
66 Cathedral Road CF11 9LL (2034 5102)
The food ranges from pub classics to more adventurous restaurant-level dishes, with plenty of Welsh ingredients in evidence on the menu. The Cricketers is family (and dog)-friendly, with a patio out back for al fresco drinking. Yes, they do sponsor a cricket team (Food Hygiene Rating 5: very good. Nov 2012).
36 Cathedral Road CF11 9LL (2023 5211)
A traditional Marstons pub, with five en-suite rooms for guests. The pub prides itself on the selection of real ales for sale and its long wooden bar. The pub food menu features burgers, sandwiches, buckets (e.g., of chicken wings), grills, fish and chips, fajita specials, pies, and desserts. Nathan Sutton is the manager. The Cayo is named after William Julian Cayo-Evans, leader of the ‘Free Wales Army’ (Food Hygiene Rating 3: generally satisfactory. Oct 2012).
Across the road, detour down Sophia Close. We are now in Sophia Gardens:
Y Mochyn Du
Sophia Close CF11 9HW (2037 1599)
Pub and restaurant, in a converted gatekeeper’s lodge, popular with those wanting to speak Welsh over a pint (the name translates as The Black Pig in English, and it derives from a traditional Welsh song). Welsh dishes feature strongly on the menu, including cawl, laver bread and cockles, Welsh rarebit, faggots and mushy peas, Welsh steaks; along with the usual pub standards. There’s usually an impressive range of Welsh ales on draught. The tables outside provide a pleasant place to be on a summer evening (Food Hygiene Rating 4: good. June 2012).
Elsewhere in Sophia Gardens it’s all very sporty. For example:
Sport Wales National Centre
Sophia Close CF11 9SW
Sports facility run by Sport Wales with aim of increasing participation and raising performance levels in sport. Expect healthy meals in the canteen (Food Hygiene Rating 4: good. June 2012).
SWALEC Stadium / Glamorgan Cricket
Sophia Close CF11 9XR
Cricket ground that has hosted Test Matches (Food Hygiene Rating 5: very good. Dec 2012).
Back on Cathedral Road, and further down to your left:
Jolyon’s at No 10
10 Cathedral Road CF11 9LJ (2009 1900)
“Boutique hotel” opened in 2011, with 21 rooms, to build on the success of the original Jolyon’s in Cardiff Bay (opened 2004). Non-residents encouraged to dine in the restaurant. Jolyon’s have the charming Cwtch Bar in the bay; here they have the more corporate Cwtch Fawr. Main meals on the current menu include Pan-fried venison steak, gin and tonic fish and chips, Poached chicken roulade, Red mullet, and Rump of Welsh lamb (Food Hygiene Rating 2: improvement necessary. Feb 2011).
We are back at the junction of Cowbridge Road East and Cathedral Road. Cross over and continue down the road, which is now called Lower Cathedral Road. We are in Riverside, Cardiff.
On your right:
56 Lower Cathedral Road CF11 6LT (2038 8899)
Chinese take-away (Food Hygiene Rating 3: generally satisfactory. Dec 2010).
On your left:
53-59 Lower Cathedral Road CF11 6LU
Large Indian restaurant (Food Hygiene Rating 1: major improvement necessary. Oct 2011).
On your right:
62-64 Lower Cathedral Road CF11 6LT (2064 4150)
This Caribbean café, diner and bar (live music) extends around the corner into Neville Street (where you’ll find the diner entrance). The “Rice and Peas” Caribbean café diner serves authentic and traditional Caribbean cuisine; including Caribbean Soup, Jerk chicken, Goat curry, Fried snapper, Ackee and saltfish. Themed nights (e.g., curry on Monday and Thursday) and Sunday lunches. This self-appointed “House of real gravy” will also do you a take-away. Rajas bar was previously at this location (Food Hygiene Rating 5: very good. Oct 2011).
For those of you who are with me every inch of the way, you can briefly detour up and down Neville Street (which joins Cowbridge Road East at its other end).
Opposite the Neville Street entrance to Rockin Chair:
90 Neville Street CF11 6LS (2034 3829)
Food store, specialising in halal meat and fish (Food Hygiene Rating 1: major improvement necessary. Oct 2012).
10-12 Neville Street CF11 6LR
Grocery store (Food Hygiene Rating 1: major improvement necessary. May 2012).
6 Neville Street CF11 6LR (2022 9618)
Take-away and delivery service: Pizza and fried chicken. There’s a second Rocket Joe’s on City Road.
4 Neville Street CF11 6LR (2022 6305)
Take-away: Fish and chips, curry sauce, pizza and kebabs (Food Hygiene Rating 2: improvement necessary. Jan 2012).
Backtrack to Lower Cathedral Road, which here changes its name to Clare Street. You’ll see Clare Gardens on the right-hand side of the road and Despenser Gardens on the other side. There is a Lifestyle Express convenience store and a view of the Millennium Stadium down Despenser Street. I’ll see you here next time.
Previously, on the walking tour:
Cowbridge Road East 3
Cowbridge Road East 2
Cowbridge Road East 1