We are in Pontcanna, Cardiff; on a walking tour of the city. Previously, I left you walking up to the junction of Severn Grove with King’s Road.
Turn right into King’s Road. On your left is The Dairy (200
King’s Road). I found little information about this building actually being used
as a dairy, but it was formerly Pontcanna Pine Warehouse, a flea market, and it
was nearly turned into 14 flats and a convenience store. More recently, it was
a design hub and the location for a Ffotogallery exhibition in 2011. Now, at weekends, it has become Cardiff Street Feast: a large-scale Supper Club with Milgi, Chucks, and the Tiny Rebel Brewery.
Opposite, down a courtyard:
Artisan Brewing Co.
183a King’s Road CF11 9DF
Simon Doherty started the Artisan Brewing Co. in a converted
garage at the end of the driveway here in 2008. His microbrewery specializes in
making continental-style lagers, and he is not afraid to experiment. The beers have
been sold under the Bare Naked Beer brand-name. However, Pepsi won a two-year copyright
case to stop the use of the word Naked in this context. I interviewed Simon for
the Buzz Food and Drink Guide 2011 (link below), and caught up with him again
for this post to find out about the rebranding of Artisan Brewery Co. beers.
While Simon was overwintering in Australia and Thailand, a
re-branding competition to name ‘The Beer with no name’ (I liked that name!)
was running on the Artisan Brewing Co. website. After due consideration, Simon
announced the new brand-name last Saturday (2 March). In the end, it was one he
had been thinking about himself for a while: Pipes. He is surrounded by pipes
in his garage brewery. So we need to get used to ordering “a pint of Pipes”. The
new artwork will be unveiled shortly and, reassuring, the beers remain the same.
You can buy bottled beers direct from the brewery on Saturday afternoons (noon
to 6pm), and get them on draught there on the first Saturday of each month or in
independent bars around Cardiff, including Milgi Lounge. I had a fine pint of the
Bavarian wheat beer in Gwdihw last week, before a meal in Madeira. Other current
brews include Bohemian Pilsner, Helles Lager (Munich style), Smoked lager, and
Across the road:
Kemi's at Pontcanna
186-188 King’s Road CF11 9DF (2037 2055)
Kemi’s opened here in Septmber 2012, building on the success
of Kemi’s@Craft in the Bay (Cardiff Bay). There was a free sampling celebration
last Friday (1 March) to mark the first six months. The Lunch Menu offers salads,
including Kemi’s salad feast and exotic salads, quiche, baguettes and jacket
potatoes; with plenty of vegetarian and vegan options. There are cakes and
desserts, served with hot and cold drinks, from 9am to 5 pm (10am weekends). Kemi’s
is family-friendly, with the Little Menu aimed at little ones. The café is eat-in or take-out, with a range
of food in the deli-style display counter. Kemi’s cater for dinner parties and
weddings, and also run a cookery school. This was formerly the site of Wyatt’s
Garden Store and, for a while, Crème Café (Food Hygiene Rating 3: generally
satisfactory. Nov 2012).
On the other side of the King’s Road:
Mimosa Lounge (175 King’s Road) closed in July 2012 and this
site is currently empty (Mimosa Kitchen & Bar in Mermaid Quay, Cardiff Bay,
on the other hand, has recently re-opened after a major refurbishment).
The Cinnamon Tree
173 King’s Road CF11 9DE (2037 4433)
A popular and traditional family-run Indian restaurant,
owned by the Uzzaman Brothers; their father opened the family’s first Indian
restaurant in 1960 on Wellfield Road. Classic Indian restaurant dishes, though
the menu also features surprises that have previously included ostrich, duck
and venison dishes. The restaurant is one two floors, with the buffet being a
popular option (Food Hygiene Rating 3: generally satisfactory. March 2011).
It's worth having a look in Caban (160 King’s Road), a Welsh-language
bookshop that also sells Welsh-language and local artist CDs. You can get a
coffee here at the counter, and there are a couple of seats by the window.
King's Road carries on in a southerly direction to join
Cowbridge Road East (we visited La Cuina, 11 King’s Road when we walked down
Cowbridge Road East).
Turn around, cross Sneyd Street, pass Flowers with a Twist
florist, and start walking up Pontcanna Street.
On you left:
3-5 Pontcanna Street CF11 9HQ (2022 0466)
The Cameo Club Bar Bistro and Lounge is a members-only club
that dates from the 1960s. A recent development lets non-members eat in the
bistro at lunchtime (Food Hygiene Rating 4: good. Nov 2011).
Keep walking along Pontcanna Street. On the corner with
71 Pontcanna Street CF11 9HS (2037 1929)
Brava café and restaurant opened just over a decade ago. It
offers breakfast and brunch, from 8am (e.g., American pancakes, eggs benedict,
smoked salmon and scrambled eggs), and lunch (e.g., soup, quiche, burgers,
pasta dishes and salads). In the evening, Brava takes on a bistro atmosphere
and serves meals until 9pm. Brava encourages BYO: no corkage after 6pm. Owners
Andrew and Lee are keen to source Welsh produce. Brava displays work by local
artists (Food Hygiene Rating 3: generally satisfactory. July 2011).
The Smoke House
77 Pontcanna Street CF11 9HS (2034 4628)
Earlier this year, Diner 77 closed on this site. It had
operated here since 1977. Fans of its American dining ethos, however, need not
fear, because new venture - The Smoke House - will retain the American-style
diner feel while updating the style. The new owners are Richard and Jaz Davies,
and the Head Chef is Sean Lewis. Authentic American BBQ will be on offer from
their Hickory Burning Smoker: ‘Memphis’ style dry rub pork ribs, Hickory slow
smoked beef brisket and BBQ chicken. Also on the menu will be grills and
burgers, including classic rib-eye steak and blackened butt (I guess that one
might taste better than it sounds), while you will also find dishes for “non-smokers”,
including shrimp and tuna. All will be revealed when The Smoke House opens
later this month, on Friday 15 March.
83 Pontcanna Street CF11 9PH (2023 2226)
Cibo Italian Café Bar opened here about 15 years ago and is
popular for its Italian bistro food and coffee. The menu features pizzas, such
as the Fiorentina (spinach, egg and nutmeg), calzones like the Calzone al Cibo
(Gorno’s Italian sausage, tomato, spinach, parmesan and taleggio), pasta dishes,
and main course salads. They do take-away and delivery, which can now be done
online (Food Hygiene Rating 4: good. June 2012).
Fish at 85
85 Pontcanna Street CF11 9HS (2002 0212)
Fishmonger and restaurant operated by Channel Fisheries (of
Brixham, Devon). Opened in June 2011 and managed by John Lester, this is the
company’s first retail outlet (although they supply many restaurants, shops,
and even the Royal Family by appointment). Padrig Jones is Chef. Mussels,
oysters, scallops, squid and a wide range of fish on the menu and on the
fishmonger’s slab, some fairly unusual. You can come in and purchase fish to
cook at home, or choose your fish and get them to cook it. They supply several
top local restaurants with fish and seafood; when I walked past the small Pier
64 van pulled up outside. A new a la carte menu has been launched in the
20-cover restaurant, which includes Roast Monkfish, boulangere Potatoes and
creamy curried mussels; and Sole, pak choi, mash, sherry and shallot Jus. There’s
also a fixed-price menu. Eating here is not for everyone, with the sight and
aroma of the long fish counter nearby, but it has become a minor mecca for
Cardiff’s fish and seafood lovers. Fish at 85 has recently starting cooking
classes (Food Hygiene Rating 4: good. Nov 2012).
Pontcanna Post Office and Pontcanna Stores
89-93 Pontcanna Street CF11 9HS
Convenience food store, off-licence and post office (Food
Hygiene Rating 4: good. Dec 2012).
At the end of Pontcanna Street you’ll see Coffee #1, the big
Brains-owned coffee shop, which we will pass again shortly when we walk down Cathedral
Road. Take the left turn down Mortimer Road.
Walk along to the junction of Mortimer Road and Conway Road:
58 Conway Road CF11 9NW (2022 4373)
The Conway pub had a major overhaul when the Knife and Fork Food
Company (who also own Woods Brasserie in Cardiff Bay) took it over in 2009.
Inside, the division of traditional drinker’s bar for locals and lounge dining
room has been retained. The new Conway quickly gained a good reputation for
food (and has had repeated entries in the Michelin Pub Guide). Chef Stefan
Nilsson likes cooking fish and offers signature dishes like Hake, new potatoes,
samphire and cask cider sauce. Vegetarians are well-catered for, with dishes
such as Halloumi stack with sweet pepper and avocado butter chips and onion
rings. The menu is constantly changing, as you would expect when good seasonal
food is on offer. In addition to modern takes on classics like fish and chips,
expect the odd curveball (e.g., Chocolate ganache with Irn-Bru caramel). Wye
Valley ales are the house beer. A model gastropub (just when it was becoming a
dread word). Quiz night is Sunday. The Conway also hosts special event
evenings. Recently Nick Otley was here launching a new Otley Brew, while on 12
March there’s a Pudding Club, with the patisserie chef Stefan Romare visiting
from Stockholm (Food Hygiene Rating 4: good. March 2012).
Turn right at the Mortimer Road-Conway Road junction, along
Conway Road until you get to Penh-Hill Road. Turn right and walk along to the
start of Cathedral Road. I’ll see you there next time.
Simon Doherty Interview in Buzz Food and Drink Guide 2011 (p.
Previously, on the walking tour:
Road East 3
Road East 2
Road East 1