Friday, 10 May 2013

High Street, Cardiff

Cardiff’s High Street/Stryd Fawr is not as long as you might think. The street that runs from Cardiff Castle down to Cardiff Central railway station and Callaghan Square is called St Mary Street for most of its length (and sometimes the entire street-length gets referred to as St Mary Street). High Street is one of Cardiff’s oldest streets, linking the Castle to the place where the tidal river used to reach, at what is now the junction with Quay Street.


In recent years, High Street has been pedestrianized. The attractive new street furniture, Welsh flags and new paving have turned the street here into a pleasant open space. Last summer, the High Street was the location of the Castle Quarter Farmers’ Market, a mid-week offshoot of the popular Riverside Farmers’ Market.

At the place I left you, on the corner of Castle Street and High Street, on the previous leg of this walking tour:


Flavour
34 High Street CF10 1PU (2037 3024)
Flavour Coffee Shop is a small take-away sandwich bar (though there are three stools at a window seat). Baguettes are the main thing, with a large selection of cold fillings that include some novel options (e.g., beef and stilton; peanut butter and sweet chilli chicken) and plenty of vegetarian/vegan options. Hot baguettes and paninis (e.g., bacon or sausage), breakfasts, and soup, especially in the winter (Food Hygiene Rating 3: generally satisfactory. Oct 2010).


The Goat Major
33 High Street CF10 1PU (2033 7161)
A friendly Brain’s pub that serves a home-made Pie Only menu (midday-6pm): Welsh steak and ale, Pork and cider, Curried mutton, Bacon and black pudding, Lamb and rosemary, Cheesy leek, Wye Valley Pie, and more unusual pies on the daily specials board. All the usual Brains cask ales on draft, plus Brains craft brews. Their craft beer ‘Beardface’, a 5% milk stout, was launched in The Goat Major this February. The pub is to be found in CAMRA Good Beer Guides. The pub dates from around 1813. Cardiffpubs.co.uk notes that the pub was originally called The Goat, but it must have changed its name to The Blue Bell soon after; becoming The Goat Major in 1995. This name comes from the mascot of the Welch Regiment, in particular the goat that survived the Crimean War and was introduced to Queen Victoria back in London. The pub was refurbished in 2003, but retains a traditional atmosphere, with wood panelling and comfy leather armchairs (Food Hygiene Rating 4: good. Dec 2011).

Pizza Express
29-30 High Street CF10 1PU (2023 3091)
This is one of three Pizza Express outlets in Cardiff (the others are in the St David’s Centre and on Mermaid Quay in Cardiff Bay). Go for the pizza. It has a back door in Castle Arcade (Food Hygiene Rating 5: very good. Oct 20110).

Zizzi Restaurant
27 High Street CF10 1PU (2064 5110)
Pizza is also the big thing at Zizzi (an Italian restaurant chain established in 1999). This is the older of two Zizzi in Cardiff (the other one being in Cardiff Bay) and is located in the impressive space of a former Lloyds Bank building. The menu also features calzone, salads, risotto, pasta and gelato. Child-friendly. I think this was the first place I ate in Cardiff, a few years before moving to the area (Food Hygiene Rating 5: very good. Feb 2013).

The Potted Pig
27 High Street CF10 1PU (2022 4817)
The Potted Pig was opened in 2011, in the former Lloyds Bank vault (underneath Zizzi) by The Chameleon Group (who also own The Meating Place, The North Star, and The Vulcan Lounge in Cardiff). There are dark corners and candlelight for intimate dinners, while larger groups can be catered for in the former strong room (suckling pig being a popular choice for parties, such as the entire Championship-winning Cardiff City FC team recently). Meat eating (of the nose to tail variety) is to the fore, but fish and vegetable dishes also feature. Potted Pig is a signature starter (shredded pork shoulder lightly spiced); others incorporate duck hash, smoked trout and potted shrimp. I can recommend the Barnsley Chop (a double lamb chop cut); other mains may include 6-hour slow roast belly pork, Welsh topside of beef, ham hock, Madgetts Farm roast chicken, pan-fried pollock with cockles and fennel, and brown crab. The menu varies seasonally (Food Hygiene Rating 2: improvement necessary. Jan 2013).


High Street continues a short distance to Quay Street on this side. Return to the start of High Street, across from Flavour, and walking down the left hand (eastern) side:

Bella Italia
6 High Street CF10 1AW (2039 9466)
One of three Bella Italia in Cardiff (the others in the Brewery Quarter and Atlantic Wharf), serving pizza, pasta, risotto, salads, meat and fish dishes. Child-friendly. Does take-away (Food Hygiene Rating 5: very good. Oct 2011).

On the far side of the High Street Arcade entrance:

Atlantic Coffee
13 High Street CF10 1AX (2023 2202)
Atlantic Coffee is an independent sandwich bar and coffee shop on the corner of High Street and High Street Arcade. Serves soups, sandwiches, cakes, and is highly rated for its coffee selection (Food Hygiene Rating 2: improvement necessary. Oct 2011).

Kitchens
14 High Street CF10 1AX (22022 9814)
Kitchens opened in 1990; it is one of the UK’s largest specialist cook shops, selling a wide range of kitchen ware and catering utensils. I spend too much money in here.
 
Taste (15 High Street) opened in December 2011, but has recently closed.

A little further along is the junction with Church Street. I’ll see you here next time, when we will carry on down the street, which changes its name to St Mary Street.

See also:

Flavour
http://sfnottingham.blogspot.co.uk/2011/03/flavour-cardiff.html

The Potted Pig
http://sfnottingham.blogspot.co.uk/2012/04/potted-pig-cardiff.html

Taste
http://sfnottingham.blogspot.co.uk/2012/01/taste-cardiff.html

Previously, on the walking tour:

Castle Arcade and Castle Street
http://sfnottingham.blogspot.co.uk/2013/05/castle-arcade-and-castle-street-cardiff.html

Womanby Street and Quay Street
http://sfnottingham.blogspot.co.uk/2013/04/womanby-street-and-quay-street-cardiff.html

Westgate Street
http://sfnottingham.blogspot.co.uk/2013/04/westgate-street-cardiff.html

Riverside
http://sfnottingham.blogspot.co.uk/2013/03/riverside-cardiff.html

Cathedral Road
http://sfnottingham.blogspot.co.uk/2013/03/cathedral-road-cardiff.html

Pontcanna 2
http://sfnottingham.blogspot.co.uk/2013/03/pontcanna-2.html

Pontcanna 1
http://sfnottingham.blogspot.co.uk/2013/02/pontcanna-1-we-are-leaving-canton.html

North Canton
http://sfnottingham.blogspot.co.uk/2013/01/north-canton.html

Cowbridge Road East 3
http://sfnottingham.blogspot.co.uk/2012/12/cowbridge-road-east-3-llandaff-road-to.html

Cowbridge Road East 2
http://sfnottingham.blogspot.co.uk/2012/12/cowbridge-road-east-2-wyndham-crescent.html

Cowbridge Road East 1
http://sfnottingham.blogspot.co.uk/2012/12/cowbridge-road-east-1-cathedral-road-to.html

Bute Park
http://sfnottingham.blogspot.co.uk/2012/11/bute-park-cardiff.html

Cathays Park
http://sfnottingham.blogspot.co.uk/2012/11/cathays-park-cardiff.html

Cathays Terrace
http://sfnottingham.blogspot.co.uk/2012/11/cathays-terrace-cardiff.html

Salisbury Road
http://sfnottingham.blogspot.co.uk/2012/11/salisbury-road-cardiff.html

Woodville Road
http://sfnottingham.blogspot.co.uk/2012/10/woodville-road-cardiff.html

Crwys Road
http://sfnottingham.blogspot.co.uk/2012/10/crwys-road-cardiff.html

Wellfield Road
http://sfnottingham.blogspot.co.uk/2012/10/wellfield-road-cardiff.html

Albany Road
http://sfnottingham.blogspot.co.uk/2012/09/albany-road-cardiff.html

City Road
http://sfnottingham.blogspot.co.uk/2012/09/city-road-cardiff.html
 

Thursday, 2 May 2013

Castle Arcade and Castle Street, Cardiff

We are in Cardiff’s Castle Quarter. Previously, I left you on the corner of Quay Street and High Street. Turn up High Street toward the castle (past Bryony Theatrical fancy dress and a tattoo parlour) to the entrance of Castle Arcade on your left.


Castle Arcade is the first of Cardiff’s celebrated Victorian and Edwardian arcades to be visited on this walking tour. Its L-shape connects the High Street with Castle Street. It was built in two stages, between 1882 and 1887; three-story for the most part with a two-story section at the Castle Street end. There are small businesses (e.g., violin maker, wig consultant) and offices (e.g., Friends of the Earth) on the balcony level. All the food businesses are on the ground floor.

On your left as you enter the arcade is Barker menswear (1-5 Castle Arcade). They are currently having a closing down sale. I bought a shirt. Along the arcade or through a door at the back of the shop:


Coffee Barker
7-13 Castle Arcade CF10 1BU (2037 1491)
It started out as an independent clothes shop in 1970, but doubled its size back along the arcade to include a café. Will the café soon extend to the High Street? A possibility. Robert Barker founded the original designer clothes store, while Charlotte Barker now manages Coffee Barker. Stylish and a little quirky, Coffee Barker is a popular place for brunch and lunch. Brunch includes combinations of bacon, sausages and duck eggs (e.g., scrambled with mustard seeds), alongside muesli and porridge. Soup of the day is served with rustic bread and the sandwiches are large. There’s an attractive cake selection and, of course, all the usual tea and coffee options. Coffee Barker is one of Cardiff’s notable indie alternatives to costabucks; and a good place to relax and catch up with the papers. I recently had an enjoyable bacon and egg croissant with coffee, while admiring the décor (e.g., old tiling, art deco glass, brickwork). A dalek and Homer Simpson looked in at me through the window: they keep guard outside The Joke Shop across the arcade (Food Hygiene Rating 4: good. Jan 2012).


On the bend in the arcade:

Madame Fromage
21-25 & 18 Castle Arcade CF10 1BU (2064 4888)
Madame Fromage was founded in 2004 by Karen Cunnington; originally in Duke Street but it soon moved to its current location. It’s a family-run café, specialist cheese shop and deli. The café has extended across the arcade (no. 18) into the opposite corner unit; the cooking has tended to focus on Welsh and Breton cuisine. Around 150 cheeses are typically available, predominantly from Wales, England, France and Italy. If you are of a certain age, reading the cheese labels (e.g., Y Fenni, Teifi with laverbread, Stinking Bishop, Bomber, Gorgonzola dulce, Gruyère, Wensleydale) may put you in mind of the Monty Python Cheese shop sketch, although Madame Fromage probably stocks all the cheeses requested in that sketch; with the probable exception of Venezuelan Beaver Cheese (“Not today Sir, no”), which was the only made-up cheese name (though online cheese shop Venissimo claims to stock it!). We are also partial to Pieminister Pies here on the Food Blog, so it was good to hear that since the start of this year Madame Fromage is now stocking them (I left with Heidi and Hamhock). A catering business also operates from here (Food Hygiene Rating 4: good. Nov 2012).


Celtic Cakes
37 Castle Arcade CF10 1BW (01633 662684)
Celtic Cakes is on your left as you carry on down the arcade. Here you can order celebratory cakes. The window display is always worth a look: dragons, rugby players and fairytale castles are perennially in fashion.


Opposite are offices of National Theatre of Wales (no. 30), next door to which is Pizza Express (32-34 Castle Arcade). Pizza Express extends through to the High Street, where it has a front door.

Troutmark Books (very good selection of second-hand books) is across the arcade, while on your right toward the exit to Castle Street:


Restaurant Minuet
40-42 Castle Arcade CF10 4BW (2034 1794)
Music lover, chef and former owner Marcello Genesi retired in 2010, after running Café Minuet for 24 years (est. 1986). New owner Nadine Lodwick worked in this Italian restaurant for 20 years, so knows the much-loved recipes and is carrying on the Minuet tradition. Café Minuet recently changed its name to Restaurant Minuet. Classical music informs the décor and the menu descriptions. The menu features pasta, pizza, salads, spinach compositions, meat (mainly chicken) and fish dishes. It’s a small cosy space, with seating extending out into the arcade. Arrive early for lunch, there may be a queue; no table bookings are taken (11am-4.30pm). Certain menu items (e.g., slipper sandwiches, mini pizzas, calzoni) are available to take-away – via the new take-away hatch off the kitchen (Food Hygiene Rating 5: very good. April 2011).

On your right, as we exit to Castle Street is a newsagent. The unit opposite (formerly Cegin y Ddraig and then a florist) is unoccupied.

Exiting Castle Arcade, turn left and walk along Castle Street:

Revolution Bar
9-11 Castle Street CF10 1BS (2023 6689)
This Havana-themed bar, restaurant, and nightclub is a popular party venue. Rum and cocktails to drink, and with a large food menu that includes burgers, pizza, flatbreads, pasta, steaks, fish and chips, salads and sandwiches (Food Hygiene Rating 2: improvement necessary. Oct 2011).

Dempsey’s
15 Castle Street CF10 1BS (2023 9253)
Irish pub owned by Brains Brewery, with a plaque proclaiming it the oldest pub in Cardiff (former names include The Globe). Meals are served at lunchtimes and early evening; with some Irish-influenced pub food washed down with Guinness. There’s an upstairs function room, and the Four Bars music venue (e.g., jazz every Tuesday and Wednesday) (Food Hygiene Rating 4: good. Oct 2011).

Across the entrance of Womanby Street:

Nisa Local
17-21 Castle Street CF10 1BS
Convenience store (Food Hygiene Rating 5: very good. March 2012).

Baskin Robbins
21A Castle Street CF10 1BT (2023 2200)
One of two branches of “the world’s largest chain of ice cream stores” in Cardiff; the other being Millie’s Cookies down in Cardiff Bay.

Just past the Castle Convenience Store is an empty unit (no. 25) that used to be La Vita, an independently-owned Italian pizzeria. In March 2013, La Vita opened in its new location on Wellfield Road in Roath. Further along Castle Street are the Angel Hotel and Callaghans (see Westgate Street for entries).

Turn around and retrace your steps, back across the entrance to Womanby Street and the entrance to Castle Arcade:

Torre Coffee
3 Castle Street CF10 1BS (2034 4580)
The Torre Coffee Shop opened last month (April 2013). It is aiming to serve the coffee connoisseur and is notably child-friendly (e.g., play area). Brews being promoted this week include a single origin Copocabana from Bolivia and a filter coffee from Guatemala.

Further along, Castle Welsh Crafts is a good place for souvenir shopping (whether you’re visiting or wanting to send Welsh-themed presents abroad). Don’t miss the display of traditional Welsh lovespoons, including the world’s largest hand-carved wooden lovespoon.

Walk along to the start of High Street. Castle Street changes its name to Duke Street on the other side of the High Street junction. I will see you here next time: opposite Cardiff Castle’s main entrance, at the top of High Street outside Flavour sandwich shop.

Previously, on the walking tour:

Womanby Street and Quay Street
http://sfnottingham.blogspot.co.uk/2013/04/womanby-street-and-quay-street-cardiff.html

Westgate Street
http://sfnottingham.blogspot.co.uk/2013/04/westgate-street-cardiff.html

Riverside
http://sfnottingham.blogspot.co.uk/2013/03/riverside-cardiff.html

Cathedral Road
http://sfnottingham.blogspot.co.uk/2013/03/cathedral-road-cardiff.html

Pontcanna 2
http://sfnottingham.blogspot.co.uk/2013/03/pontcanna-2.html

Pontcanna 1
http://sfnottingham.blogspot.co.uk/2013/02/pontcanna-1-we-are-leaving-canton.html

North Canton
http://sfnottingham.blogspot.co.uk/2013/01/north-canton.html

Cowbridge Road East 3
http://sfnottingham.blogspot.co.uk/2012/12/cowbridge-road-east-3-llandaff-road-to.html

Cowbridge Road East 2
http://sfnottingham.blogspot.co.uk/2012/12/cowbridge-road-east-2-wyndham-crescent.html

Cowbridge Road East 1
http://sfnottingham.blogspot.co.uk/2012/12/cowbridge-road-east-1-cathedral-road-to.html

Bute Park
http://sfnottingham.blogspot.co.uk/2012/11/bute-park-cardiff.html

Cathays Park
http://sfnottingham.blogspot.co.uk/2012/11/cathays-park-cardiff.html

Cathays Terrace
http://sfnottingham.blogspot.co.uk/2012/11/cathays-terrace-cardiff.html

Salisbury Road
http://sfnottingham.blogspot.co.uk/2012/11/salisbury-road-cardiff.html

Woodville Road
http://sfnottingham.blogspot.co.uk/2012/10/woodville-road-cardiff.html

Crwys Road
http://sfnottingham.blogspot.co.uk/2012/10/crwys-road-cardiff.html

Wellfield Road
http://sfnottingham.blogspot.co.uk/2012/10/wellfield-road-cardiff.html

Albany Road
http://sfnottingham.blogspot.co.uk/2012/09/albany-road-cardiff.html

City Road
http://sfnottingham.blogspot.co.uk/2012/09/city-road-cardiff.html