Saturday, 15 February 2014

Church Street and St John's Street, Cardiff

Previously on this Walking Tour of Cardiff, I left you on the corner of Trinity Street and Church Street / Strys Yr Eglwys, in the shadow of St John’s Church. Down the left-hand side of Church Street:

Cornish Bakehouse
11 Church Street CF10 1BG (2066 5041)
Established in St Ives in 1990, the Cornish Bakehouse specialises in traditional-style Cornish pasties. The company has around 15 shop outlets in the UK. The range of meat pasty fillings includes steak, chicken, spicy chicken, roast lamb and mint, beef and stilton, pork and apple; vegetarian options include country vegetables, spicy vegetables, and broccoli, cheese and sweetcorn. Things do not stray too far from the traditional. The Cornish Pasty was awarded EU Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) status in 2011. To qualify to be a ‘Cornish Pasty’, the product must follow a traditional recipe and have a traditional look, and be made in Cornwall.  In a previous blog post, I compared Cornish and Welsh pasties. Since that post, the Pembrokeshire Pasty & Pie shop in Cardiff has closed (though the original shop in Tenby is still open). My thesis then was that Cornish pasties were a known quantity, based on familiarity and provenance, whereas pasties marketed from elsewhere were not constrained by tradition and had more freedom to experiment (for better or worse, though I liked the direction in which the Pembrokeshire Pasty & Pie Co have taken the pasty - flakier, less pastry and still with the use of local produce). As a footnote, you might argue that, in general, traditional food items endure better those employing “modern twists” that are more likely to come and go with fashion (Food Hygiene Rating 5: very good. Jan 2013).

10 Foot Tall
11a-12 Church Street CF10 1BG (2022 8883)
I know this more as a live music venue; you can find some good bands playing in the upstairs Rock Room. This bar (established in 2008) serves tapas and lunches. A current two meals for £12 deal operates from 12 noon to 5pm, with menu items such as marinated steak ciabatta, smoked haddock fish cakes, steak and chorizo burger, and aubergine and goat’s cheese stack burger.  Cocktails are a speciality. There are club nights, and rooms in this multi-story location can be booked for private parties. Popular with students, so they say (Food Hygiene Rating 4: good. Sept 2011).

Old Arcade
14-15 Church Street CF10 1BG (2021 7999)
The Old Arcade is a traditional and characterful Brains pub. There’s the full range of Brains cask ales on tap and the typical Brains pub food menu. Food is served 11.30am-6pm Mon-Sat and noon-4pm Sun. It was one of the first pubs in the region to have 3D TV sports coverage (Food Hygiene Rating 3: generally satisfactory. June 2013).

The alleyway alongside The Old Arcade takes you to a side entrance into Cardiff Market (see previous Walking Tour of Cardiff post).

At 17 Church Street, a unit previously occupied by The Works discount bookshop, Applejack Bars Ltd have a put planning application in for a late-night bar, with a provision for live music.

18-19 Church Street CF10 1BG (2066 5605)
There are around 200 Harvester restaurants in the UK, with 14 in Wales. St John’s Harvester was a bit of departure for the family-friendly Harvester chain when it opened in 2011, being one of the first to benefit from a rebrand that saw them shift to city centres, rather than just their usual edge of town locations, with take-away being a big thing for the first time. The menu has been adapted slightly, with breakfasts, light lunches, salads, and options that lend themselves to being taken-away. However, the main thrust of the menu remains the same, with steaks, gourmet burgers, spit-roast chicken, unlimited salad bar visits with mains, and their combo platters; for those occasions when you really need chicken, pork, prawns and pineapple rings on the same plate (Food Hygiene Rating 5: very good. June 2013).

Church Street ends at St Mary Street, with a Greggs we have already encountered on that street. Turn around and walk along the northern side of the street back towards the church:

3 Church Street CF10 1BG (2021 0242)
Truffles breakfast house and café opened in 1984. For the past 30 years, this independent restaurant has been offering the good people of Cardiff traditional British food, including all-day breakfasts, lunch and early dinner; with brunch, grills, sausages and mash, fish and chips, pie and chips and other café favourites. We stopped in at Truffles last week for lunch, to escape the driving rain and gales, and focussed in on the Welsh specialities. My partner had the Glamorgan sausages, which came with jacket potato and salad. I had the Welsh rarebit, with bacon and mushrooms; they also do a ham and pineapple Welsh rarebit (what the ?) and a veggie one with tomatoes. The plates are massive, the food delivers and the service is friendly. There’s background music harking back to the 1950s and a more elderly clientele than the Harvester across the (pedestrianized) road (Food Hygiene Rating 5: very good. June 2013).

Café Citta
4 Church Street CF10 1BG (2022 4040)
Café Citta is a small family-run Italian café, pizzeria and restaurant. It’s the real deal and one of the most authentic places to go for pizza in Cardiff. The pizza is delivered fresh from a wood-fired oven. There are also pasta dishes, seafood, Bruschetta, and meatballs. It is highly regarded for quality of food and value for money on Internet review sites. However, it is a small intimate space and, as we discovered recently, you are advised to book a table! (Food Hygiene Rating 4: good. June 2013).

5 Church Street CF10 1BG (2022 6600)
For Your Eyes Only is a chain of strip club bars (Food Hygiene Rating 5: very good. March 2011).

The empty unit at 8 Church Street was previously occupied by a very short-lived locally-owned “fast food” Italian restaurant called Italigo.

The location 9-10 Church Street was for many years occupied by Positano, a well-regarded Italian restaurant. There was a short-lived Italian-American restaurant there subsequently, but that unit is also currently empty.

Turn right at the end and enter St John's Church through the churchyard:

The Tea Spot@ St John’s Church
St John’s Church, Church Street CF10 1GJ
Just inside the church porch, take the stairs up to the left to the small The Tea Spot café, which serves hot beverages and home-made cakes. In the summer, you can take these out into the pleasant churchyard and garden (Food Hygiene Rating 5: very good. Oct 2013).

St John’s Church is well-worth a visit. Originally the site of a Norman chapel, though the present church dates from the fifteenth century. The guide book available inside gives a potted history and interesting details on the stained glass, oaken screens, reredos, and other treasures. At the base of the shafts bearing the chancel roof are carved heads, including those of St John the Baptist, St Paul, St Dyfrig, and the Cardiff fisherman and martyr Rawlins White.

Carrying on round past the church, into St John’s Street:

Tair Pluen
10 St John’s Street CF10 1GL
Mae Y Tair Pluen yn dafarn Gymraeg. Traditional pub food is served, with a current promotion for very cheap food deals on Tuesdays.

Owain Glyndŵr
10 St John’s Street CF10 1GL (2022 1980)
This Stonegate pub has a good range of Welsh ales on tap, including Rhymney, Otley, Felin Foel, Brain’s and Vale of Glamorgan ales, in the traditional bar. There is also a more modern lounge/dining area. There’s an extensive pub food menu. It is one of the oldest pubs in Cardiff and, according to, was called the Mably Arms (or possibly the Buccaneer) in 1731, becoming the Kemys Tynte Arms, The Tennis Court and The Buccaneer before being named after the 15th-Century Welsh freedom fighter. It looks like it could do with some TLC and recent tripadvisor food reviews are not encouraging (Food Hygiene Rating 5: very good. Jan 2013).

Pass the entrance to the High Street Arcade:

Burger King
13-16 St John’s Street CF10 1GL (2039 5000)
This large Burger King is one of three in Cardiff City Centre (Food Hygiene Rating 5: very good. Oct 2011).


Caffé Nero
3 St John’s Street CF10 1GJ
There are three Caffé Nero coffee shops in this small part of Cardiff – see also Duke Street and Trinity Street (Food Hygiene Rating 5: very good. July 2013).

4 St John’s Street CF10 1GJ
Sandwich shop (Food Hygiene Rating 5: very good. Jan 2013).

Next time we will be entering the High Street Arcade. See you then.

Previous post on pasties:

Previously, on the Walking Tour of Cardiff:

Cardiff Market

Wharton Street and Trinity Street

Morgan Arcade

Royal Arcade

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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