Monday, 16 December 2013

Wharton Street and Trinity Street, Cardiff

Previously, on this Walking Tour of Cardiff, I left you outside Waterstone’s in The Hayes. Turn left and walk down Wharton Street / Heol y Cawl.

On your left:

Barocco
12 Wharton Street CF10 1AG (2041 3600)
This stylish bar, owned by the SA Brain Brewery, puts a strong emphasis on its food. Brains opened Barocco in 2007; it was previously the site of the poorly-named ‘Bar IsIt’. Barocco is open for brunch, with pancakes a speciality, lunch and evening dining. The menu features a good range of burgers, including the Barocco Burger, the vegetarian spinach and lentil burger, and wild boar and chorizo burger. There are stone-baked pizzas and a range of Brains’ more interesting pub menu items, including baked spinach and bean pie, and spiced chicken and almond tagine. The coffee is sourced from the Great Little Coffee Company. As with a number of establishments in Cardiff, they were only doing pre-booked Christmas party groups on Friday (Food Hygiene Rating 2: improvement necessary. June 2013).


Staying on this side of the street and on the other side of Bakers Row, a side street that connects back into the Morgan and Royal Arcades, is the former City Glass Works:


The Glassworks
4 Wharton Street CF10 1AG (2022 2114)
Greene King of Bury St Edmunds own this pub located in the former City Glass Works, a Grade II Listed Building. The Brewery had previously operated this unit as Copa, which closed on 1 October 2013. Greene King game it a bit of refurbishment and changed it back to its original, pre Greene King, pub name; it re-opened on 8 October. Trivia fans might like to know that this pub also once traded under the name The Newt and Cucumber (yes, there was a trend for this sort of thing back in the day). The Glassworks has a full Greene King pub food menu, served from 9am to 10pm. Breakfast, deli lunches, grills and burgers, and pub classics such as fish and chips, pies, and bangers and mash (As Copa: Food Hygiene Rating 5: very good. Jan 2012).


Wharton Street exits onto St Mary Street, with the Sandringham Hotel on one side and Howells on the other. Turn around and head back toward The Hayes.

All along the northern side of Wharton Street is Howells, Cardiff’s oldest department Store, established by James Howell in 1856. It was acquired by the House of Fraser group in 1972, and since 2010 has had the House of Fraser banner above the main door (though James Howell’s plentiful old signage remains around the building). On the second floor is Howells Restaurant and on the first floor is the Zest Café (as previously noted on the St Mary Street leg of the tour).

Back at Waterstone’s, turn left into Trinity Street / Heol y Drindod:

The Old Library Building, on the right-hand side as we walk towards St John’s Church, houses The Cardiff Story museum (opened in 2011) and a restaurant/bar, which will be approached from the far side and will have probably changed its name again by the time we get there.

On your left, in the ground floor of Howell’s (this stretch to the Cardiff Indoor Market is also called St Johns Square):

Caffè Nero
3 St Johns Square CF10 1GJ (2039 9940)
This is the first of three Caffè Nero outlets within a couple of blocks of each other. “The Italian Coffee company” is a fine coffee shop, though this unit used to be Howell’s deli (a sort of mini Welsh Harrods Food Hall that offered something a little different) (Food Hygiene Rating 5: very good. July 2013).

Pass the entrance to Cardiff’s Indoor Market:


O’Neill’s
20-21 Trinity Street CF10 1BH (2037 1263)
This is one of two O’Neill’s, the Irish pub chain, in Cardiff. There is a large bar menu and live music. I had sausages and colcannon washed down with a Guinness when I lunched here earlier this year – it really hit the spot. Plenty of grills, pasta dishes, burgers (e.g., bison, wild boar and chorizo (again)) to choose from, and other favourites that include Irish stew with thyme cobblers, lamb shank, and steak and Guinness pie (Food Hygiene Rating 5: very good. May 2013).


Münchesters
22-23 Trinity Street, Cardiff CF10 1BH (2047 2123)
Officially opening today (Monday 16 Dec), Münchesters is the latest venture from Chef Anand George and his team from the Purple Poppadom. The Head Chef at Münchesters is Kuldeep Singh. It’s a sandwich bar and coffee house with an Indian twist, serving freshly-made salads, pastries, wraps, soup, coffee and cakes. Take-away, or take your food to the pleasant room upstairs. I went along last week, via a Twitter promotion, to sample some of the food. I enjoyed a chapatti wrap with shredded spiced lamb. Soup and stew of the day will feature; I had a cream of parsnip soup, while the stew last week was Kerala chicken and carrot. They bake the bread and cakes on the premises. The chefs have more experience of working in top kitchens than in your average take-away. The coffee is a unique blend, produced for Münchesters by the Clifton Coffee Company of Bristol. This is the first Münchesters to open, but there may be more in the region plus pop-up kiosks to look out for. The ü, incidentally, should be read as a smiley face rather than an umlaut (it makes more sense on their green and red logo). This unit was previously occupied by 1 Malaysia Restaurant; and Piazza Italia prior to that.


Retrace your steps, back down Trinity Street, to the entrance of Cardiff Indoor Market. I will meet you here early in the New Year for a tour of the market.

I wish all the readers of this Food Blog a very Happy Christmas.

Previously, on the Walking Tour of Cardiff:

Morgan Arcade
http://sfnottingham.blogspot.co.uk/2013/12/morgan-arcade-cardiff.html

Royal Arcade
http://sfnottingham.blogspot.co.uk/2013/11/royal-arcade-cardiff.html

The Hayes
http://sfnottingham.blogspot.co.uk/2013/09/the-hayes-cardiff.html

The Old Brewery Quarter
http://sfnottingham.blogspot.co.uk/2013/08/the-old-brewery-quarter-cardiff.html

Caroline Street
http://sfnottingham.blogspot.co.uk/2013/07/caroline-street-cardiff.html

Mill Lane and Wyndham Arcade
http://sfnottingham.blogspot.co.uk/2013/07/mill-lane-and-wyndham-arcade-cardiff.html

St Mary Street
http://sfnottingham.blogspot.co.uk/2013/06/st-mary-street-cardiff.html

High Street
http://sfnottingham.blogspot.co.uk/2013/05/high-street-cardiff.html

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/

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

The Kitchen Cabinet comes to Cardiff

The Kitchen Cabinet is a Radio 4 panel show about food presented by Jay Rayner. Each week, the programme travels round the country. Last night it was being recorded in Cardiff, at The Gate Arts & Community Centre. I went along to find out more about this popular radio show, which completes its fifth season with the Cardiff episode.

The four panel members for this programme were local representative Angela Gray, from the Cookery School at Llanerch vineyard in the Vale of Glamorgan; the Cambridge-based food writer Tim Hayward; the chef and cookery teacher Angela Malik; and Peter Barham, a food scientist from the University of Bristol.

The panel lined up on a stage set up for The Gate’s annual Christmas production of Aladdin, and this was very much the programme’s Christmas episode. Therefore, it was a bit of a missed opportunity to focus on Welsh food, although bara brith and the Welsh-Italian connection featured as key parts of the discussion.

On arriving, all audience members were asked to answer questions (e.g.,'What is your culinary Christmas wish?’) and write down a question for the panel. Recently, we ate Haggis Pizza at a St Andrew’s Night event at the Murchfield Community Hall in Dinas Powys. This inspired my question to the panel: ‘Is there a limit to what can be put on a pizza base?’ Among the other audience members who put questions to the panel was Cardiff’s Ed Gilbert (aka @gourmetgorro). Alternative Christmas meals, cocktails, and cooking with coca cola were among the topics raised.

The recording was efficient and audience involvement was central to the show. The contribution by Angela Gray and an Italian restaurant owner on Italian food in Wales was particularly interesting; Angela Malik proposed some intriguing Asian twists to traditional Christmas classics; Tim Hayward’s had useful tips on baking and the use of rhubarb in drinks; and Peter Barham provided scientific context and had to field the trickiest questions like ‘is there a cooking gene?’. No, is the resounding answer to that question, by the way.

To find out more, I recommend you tune in next Tuesday 17 December (3pm) or over the following week on the BBC website: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b03lph1b

Jay Rayner is a genial host, who gets the panel to explain culinary terms so no audience member is left behind. It’s the inverse of the recent food panel show with experts displaying their erudite knowledge of obscure food items. I believe that ran for one series, whereas The Kitchen Panel could potentially have the longevity of a show it liberally borrows from – Gardeners’ Question Time.

I thank Dan Allsobrook (aka @eggynewydd) for taking this photo of me and Jay Rayner:

Monday, 2 December 2013

Morgan Arcade, Cardiff

Morgan Arcade was opened in 1896. It was originally known as the New Central Arcade. Today, it is owned by Helical Bar, who also own the Royal Arcade. This is one of Cardiff’s beautiful series of Victorian arcades, which are home to many independent local businesses.


Walking up The Hayes, from our previous walking tour destination the Royal Arcade, enter the first entrance to Morgan Arcade, between Moss Brothers and Moulton & Brown. On the left is a plaque with some history about David Morgan, after whom the arcade is named:


Further along on the left is Tabernacle Lane, which links the Royal and Morgan Arcades (collectively, the Morgan Quarter). By Capital second-hand bookstore, the three sections of Morgan Arcade join, with one pushing through to St Mary Street. At this junction:


The Plan
28-29 Morgan Arcade, Cardiff CF10 1AF (2039 8764)
The Plan Café Bar has been running in this prime Morgan Arcade location since 2002. The owner is David Nottingham (no relation). There are tables downstairs and upstairs and they serve breakfast and lunch, locally-made cakes, and the café is fully licensed. The Plan is particularly noted for its specialist coffees and, to a slightly lesser extent, teas. It has been listed among the ‘Top 50 Coffee shops in the UK’ in The Independent and in a similar Top 50 list in The Guardian. Head Barista Trevor Hyam, who started working at The Plan in 2007, writes a specialist blog on coffee called ‘The Bean Vagrant’; he came fourth in the 2010 UK Barista Championships; he experiments with brew methods using his Mahlkonig Tanzania grinder; and he sources craft-roasted traceable coffee beans. In other words, he knows his stuff. You can explore a range of single estate coffees on the specialist menu, with recent coffees on the menu coming from estates in Kenya, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Bolivia, Columbia and Costa Rica (Food Hygiene Rating 4: good. Jan 2013).


The stretch of the arcade along to St Mary Street has no food outlets, but there are many interesting shops, including Bang & Olufsen, (quality Danish sound systems – no MP3 players), Fountain Fine Arts (where you can buy affordable art by Welsh artists), an Oxfam clothes shop, the Camera Centre, and Neal’s Yard Remedies.


Entering the second arm of the Morgan Arcade that connects back to The Hayes, on the other side of The Plan, is Spillers Records (31 Morgan Arcade). Spillers Records was established in 1894 by Henry Spiller. The shop moved to its current location in 2010, from its previous location by the The Hayes entrance to Morgan Arcade.

Jam, Marmalade, Bread, Hot Chocolate, Cream, The Sweet, Meatloaf, Tangerine Dream. Now those were the days - when bands named themselves after food!

Next to Spillers:


Crumbs
33 Morgan Arcade CF10 1AF (2039 5007)
Crumbs is Cardiff’s oldest vegetarian restaurant. It was opened on 3 Dec 1970 by Judi Ashley, at a time when most people had not heard of brown rice.  Crumbs came under new ownership earlier this year. I believe the new owner is called Paul. It has been spruced up, with new tables and décor, and rebranded as Crumbs Vegetarian Kitchen and Coffee Shop, but the original ethos has been preserved. Large bowls of salad are still a main feature and servings are still generous, though possibly not as huge as in the olden days and prices have gone up. I had the large mixed standard salad bowl last week, which as before, comprised layers of different salads (six on this occasion) in a wooden bowl, with grated carrot, shredding cabbage, apple and brown rice. There was plenty of cheese on top, though the amount of brown rice was less than I remember. Crumbs also do breakfast, soups, jacket potatoes and other lunches, and have good bread. It is essentially the same healthy food as served since 1970: it was reassuring to know that Crumbs is still Crumbs. They do take-away. There are two small rooms upstairs, so Crumbs is bigger than it looks from the outside (Food Hygiene Rating 5: very good. June 2013).


Walk back to The Hayes, and exit with Fred Perry on your left and Joules on your right. Turn left and walk up The Hayes to Waterstones bookshop. I will see you there, for a stroll up Wharton Street next time.

Previously, on the Walking Tour of Cardiff:
Royal Arcade
http://sfnottingham.blogspot.co.uk/2013/11/royal-arcade-cardiff.html
The Hayes
http://sfnottingham.blogspot.co.uk/2013/09/the-hayes-cardiff.html
The Old Brewery Quarter
http://sfnottingham.blogspot.co.uk/2013/08/the-old-brewery-quarter-cardiff.html
Caroline Street
http://sfnottingham.blogspot.co.uk/2013/07/caroline-street-cardiff.html
Mill Lane and Wyndham Arcade
http://sfnottingham.blogspot.co.uk/2013/07/mill-lane-and-wyndham-arcade-cardiff.html
St Mary Street
http://sfnottingham.blogspot.co.uk/2013/06/st-mary-street-cardiff.html
High Street
http://sfnottingham.blogspot.co.uk/2013/05/high-street-cardiff.html
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/