Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Royal Arcade, Cardiff

Royal Arcade opened in 1858 and is the oldest surviving arcade in Cardiff. It was designed and built by James & Price, for the Cardiff Arcade Company, and connects The Hayes to St Mary Street.

On our walking tour of Cardiff, we enter the Royal Arcade from The Hayes, with Dr Martens (boots) and Scribbler (greeting cards of dubious taste) on your left-hand side and Rossiters (Bath-based designer department store) to your right. Second on the left, though you’ll have to walk a few units to find the door:

Wally's Delicatessen and Wally's Kaffeehaus
38-46 Royal Arcade CF10 1AE (2022 9265)
This family-run delicatessen, currently owned by Steven Salamon, has been a feature of the Royal Arcade since 1981. The deli has expanded considerably since it first opened and stocks around 1,600 products from around the world. It’s great for those unusual ingredients and foods imported from continental Europe.  In 2011, Wally’s Kaffeehaus opened upstairs. This Viennese-style coffee house specializes in Open Sandwiches, such as the Tyrol (roast chicken breast, chorizo, shaved manchego cheese, Piquillo peppers, garlic mayonnaise, rocket, black olives and toasted sourdough) and the Baden (German smoked black ham, Hereford Hop cheese, chutney, balsamic onions and sliced pear, on wholegrain seeded bread). Vegetarian options include the Rohrbach (Grilled aubergine and Caerphilly cheese). The Aufschnitt comprise sharing platters of cold meats or cheeses. The menu draws on the deli produce downstairs, so if you particularly like something chances are you can buy it on the way out (Delicatessen and Kaffeehaus, both Food Hygiene Rating 5: very good. June 2013).

32 Royal Arcade CF10 1AE (2022 3158)
Fresh Baguette opened in 2000 and has established itself as one of the most popular independent sandwich shops in Cardiff. Gareth Lawton and his partner Samantha make good use of Twitter to promote the business, with daily specials often posted in the morning (@freshbaguette1). Yesterday’s was Falafel and Humous Baguette with salad and toasted cumin seeds. My most recent involved chicken, bacon, mayo, rocket, red onion and salami cracking. Easily the most creative sandwich-makers in the city; they are not afraid to be experimental, with novel ingredient combinations and spicy sauces. Regulars can also work through the 100-plus regular fillings for baguette and paninis on the menu. Service is friendly and efficient. Expect to see a queue outside at lunchtimes (Food Hygiene Rating 4: good. June 2013).

The alley across the way, Tabernacle Lane, links Royal Arcade with Morgan Arcade.

Vom Fass
28-30 Royal Arcade CF10 1AE (2022 9497)
Vom Fass Cardiff sells oils, vinegars and spirits from barrels (Food Hygiene Rating 5: very good. June 2012).

The cupcake shop Velvet Ice (formerly 20 Royal Arcade), which opened in 2011, has closed. Has the inexplicable (to me) fashion for cupcakes peaked?

Further along this southern side of the arcade, there is a Health with Herbs (24 Royal Arcade).

I intended to take lunch in Harleys Coffee Shop (8 Royal Arcade) when my walking tour made it to the Royal Arcade. But, alas, this long-established coffee shop closed earlier this year after 13 years of trading in the arcade.

This side of the arcade also has a new Oxfam book shop, with vinyl records upstairs. At the entrance from St Mary Street, there’s a sign of the times: an electronic cigarette shop.

Cross to the other side of the arcade, which currently starts with a seasonal Christmas shop.

Royal Sweet Shop
7 Royal Arcade CF10 1AE (2038 7438)
Traditional newsagent with rows of those tall jars of old-fashioned sweets (Food Hygiene Rating 5: very good. June 2013).

There are no further food-related units in Royal Arcade. However, of note along this side of the arcade is the very wonderful stationary and art supply shop Pen and Paper (where our eldest daughter has a Saturday job).

Further along, by the entrance to Tabernacle Lane, is the Ian Allen bookstore and model shop (31 Royal Arcade), specializing in books on transport.

Carry on, back in The Hayes, turn left and walk up to the first of the entrances to Morgan Arcade. I’ll see you there next time.

Previously, on the Walking Tour of Cardiff:

The Hayes

The Old Brewery Quarter

Caroline Street

Mill Lane and Wyndham Arcade

St Mary Street

High Street

Castle Arcade and Castle Street

Womanby Street and Quay Street

Westgate Street


Cathedral Road

Pontcanna 2

Pontcanna 1

North Canton

Cowbridge Road East 3

Cowbridge Road East 2

Cowbridge Road East 1

Bute Park

Cathays Park

Cathays Terrace

Salisbury Road

Woodville Road

Crwys Road

Wellfield Road

Albany Road

City Road

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