Friday, 28 February 2014

High Street Arcade, Cardiff

On this walking tour of Cardiff, we are entering the High Street Arcade, from the St John Street entrance. The High Street Arcade was constructed in 1885, to a design by Waring and Jones. We are back in the Castle Quarter. Keep left past a right fork into Duke Street Arcade, where the arcade bends to the left, past Hobos period clothing and The Joke Shop. Just beyond the bend, on your right:

The New York Deli
19 High St Arcade CF10 1QR (2038 8388)
The New York Deli was established in 1990 by US-born Harriett Davies. Above a rustic wooden bench in the arcade, the US flag flies. Inside you’ll find a carving of a Native American and, upstairs and down, some urban New York art I believe was painted by her son. The New York Deli is a place to come if you are very hungry, as some of the hoagies (long bread roll) and bagels they serve are not for the faint-hearted. The ‘White House Special’, their largest hoagie contains turkey, ham, pastrami, coleslaw, Swiss cheese and mayonnaise; I had mine with the Reggae Reggae sauce option. The bread choice is bagels (white or cinnamon raisin), sliced wholemeal or light rye, and the hoagies. Other favoured ingredients include abundant cream cheese, cheese (Swiss, cheddar, Brie, provolone, Philadelphia), bacon, and smoked salmon. You can make combinations up to suit your particular taste. Take-away and eat in, with popular regular and student discount schemes. Soup is back, apparently, with a bagel. There are typically queues outside the door at lunch time (Food Hygiene Rating 5: very good. June 2013).

Across the arcade:

16 High Street Arcade CF10 1BB (2037 2352)
La Crêperie de Sophie was founded as a company in Llantwit Major in 2008 by Loïc Moinon, who named it after his wife Sophie.  After four years of mobile catering, at farmers’ markets, festivals, corporate events and weddings, they opened their first static location, in Cardiff’s High Street Arcade, in July 2012, to sell their authentic French crepes. Within the past few weeks there has been a rebrand and a change of name, to Sophie’s. There is more emphasis on the paninis, baguettes, galettes, cakes and other lunch and take-away options. There’s still a good selection of sweet and savoury crêpes, served in the downstairs lounge and the row of tables outside in the Arcade. On a previous visit, we went for some crispy and light savoury crêpes:  ‘Cocorico!’ (chicken breast, brie, cranberry sauce, rocket salad and balsamic dressing) and ‘L’Italienne’ (Parma ham, mozzarella, sundried tomatoes, pesto, rocket salad). Other savoury crêpes on the menu include ‘The Barn’ (with free range egg), ‘The Farmyard’ and ‘L’Atlantic’ (with smoked salmon).  The sweet crêpe selection includes ‘The Brittany’ (with banana, home-made Caramel Breton, crushed biscuits and “Chantilly” cream), while other typical ingredients include chocolate, Nutella spread, fresh fruit, nuts, cream and liqueurs. ‘Sophie’s – A Love Story’ combines Belgian chocolate (or Nutella or Caramel) with fresh strawberries, cream and flaked almonds. Sophie’s is licensed and serves cider and wine with your food order (Food Hygiene Rating 4: good. Nov 2011).

Staying on your left, Price’s Sweet Shop (14 High Street Arcade) is now closed.  The unit is now incorporated into the recently opened:

Barker Tea House
8-14 High Street Arcade CF10 1BB (2034 1390)
Opened on 20 Dec 2013 and already established as a firm favourite with the city’s tea drinkers, Barker Tea House builds on the success of the Barker Coffee House in the Castle Arcade (which opened in 2009 as an addition to a clothing shop that it has now all but replaced). The Tea House offers around 60 loose leaf teas, home-made cakes, breakfast and lunch, along with luxury hot chocolates, milk shakes and coffee (if you’ve come to the wrong Barkers!). They have hit on a café style that is a perfect fit to the historic arcades, which involves a melange of heritage furnishings including ornamental and functional tiles, lights, fans, William Morris-style wallpaper, period cups, bowls and plates, and mirrors.  I had lunch there earlier today, and ordered a pot of fragrant smoky lapsang souchong, from the top 10 tea menu (that included black, green and herbal teas).Tea comes in stylish black metal teapots, with milk in little glass milk bottles. I had a very tasty smoked salmon salad, which included herbed soft cheese, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, salad leaves, olives, red onion, French vinaigrette, lemon slices, and a glass of coleslaw topped with a walnut (Food Hygiene Rating 5: very good. Jan 2014).

Cinnamon Sticks
6 High Street Arcade CF10 1BB (2132 0270)
Cinnamon Sticks is a new vintage shop, with an upstairs tea room to match. They serve hot beverages, cakes, buns, salads, wraps and sandwiches, with an emphasis on vegan and vegetarian options. If you like  your tea serving in antique cups, then High Street Arcade is definitely the place for you.

Carry on to the end of the Arcade, with Atlantic Coffee at the entrance on the High Street (on the High Street leg of this tour). The building on the High Street containing the Arcade entrance is surprisingly ornate.

Turn around and walk back to where the short Duke Street Arcade branches off. We will be walking along Duke Street and Arcade next time.
Previously, on the Walking Tour of Cardiff:
Church Street and St John’s Street
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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