When the Food Blog was last on Barrack Lane, in June 2012, work had only recently started on the nearby Admiral Building and only the unit nearest the building site was occupied (Cafi BARICS). Barrack Lane, part of Cardiff’s Retail Enterprise Quarter, is owned by Linc-Cymru, who specialise in the affordable housing, social care and health sectors. Along with 27 small residential apartments, there are 9 retail units along the lane. These are now all occupied by local businesses. Four of them are dedicated to food and drink.
The Grazing Shed
1 Barrack Lane CF10 2GS
After Cafi BARICS closed, this end unit was taken by The
Grazing Shed, which opened in Sept 2013. This independent burger joint uses local suppliers and has an
innovative ‘Super Tidy Burgers’ menu. The burger menu splits into beef, chicken
and a smaller vegetarian section. It was my first visit, so I started near the
top with a Spicy Uncle Pedro (pictured), though tempted by the Rasta Hen
and other creative burger options. The bread is locally produced in an 'artisan bakery', making for a superior bun, and the
sauces are homemade. The burgers are more rustic than gourmet, of a piece with
the cobbled-together wooden décor. Ideal if you want quick
alternative fast-food (Food Hygiene Rating 5: very good. Feb 2014).
The Magic Wrap
3 Barrack Lane CF10 2GS
The Magic Wrap is a local business founded in 2008 by Ed Jones.
It specialises in wraps of a heathy nature, using Lebanese khobez bread and
plenty of salad in the fillings. The website describes the bread as ‘made with
unbleached flour, light, soft and low in salt and without any added fat,
artificial colourings or flavourings. It is also suitable for Vegans’. You can
make up your own combinations or go for one of their suggestions. The current
favourites listed on the website include Falafel, The Bilbao, Brie and bacon,
Spicy Jamaican, Piri piri chicken and the Chinese-style The Emperor with
mixed-herb chicken. The Magic Wrap also has an older outlet in Cardiff
University Student’s Union (just along from the Sherman Theatre) and a
recently-opened outlet in Cardiff Bay (Food Hygiene Rating 5: very good. Jan
The Gravity Station
9 Barrack Lane CF10 2FR
This ‘take-away bottle shop and tasting bar’ is owned by the
Waen Brewery of Llanidloes, which was started in 2009 by Sue Hayward and John
Martin, and has that breweries ‘hand crafted in Wales’ beers on tap and in
bottles. The Gravity Station stocks the regular T.W.A. (3.7% ABV) and the
ever-changing range of seasonal Waen beers, which currently include Snowball
(7.0%), which is a chocolate, coconut and vanilla stout, Chilli Plum Porter (6.1%), Blackberry stout (3.7%) and Pamplemousse (4.2%).
I sampled some Mistletoe & Waen from the tap, which contains fortified wine
and has a pleasing chocolate-port-like flavour. There are bottles from a range
of other Welsh breweries available to take-way, including Celt, Otley, Pipes
and Untapped, along with a well-selected range of beers from Belgian
(include Trappist ales), Germany, Holland, England, Scotland and the USA. As
well as some Waen brews, I took away a bottle of Scottish brewery Harviestoun’s
‘Old Engine Oil’. Live acoustic music can be heard here on the last Friday of
every month (they had Harri Davis on the bill last week).
9 Barrack Lane CF10 2EF
This small independent Italian café does good Italian coffee
and cake. Founded by Daniela Francesca Ferrari and opened in July 2013, the
emphasis here is very much on home-made food: traditional breakfasts and lunchtime
pasta dishes, with daily-changing sauces, along with soup and paninis. Outdoor
seating in a sheltered and relatively quiet corner of Cardiff city centre, which
is just around the corner from The Hayes (Food Hygiene Rating 4: good. July 2013).
Loyalty cards are available in all four of these local Barrack
Street businesses. I suspect they all have their regulars. It's good to see this street flourishing now the Admiral Building
has opened. Indeed, with FED soon to join The Smoke Haus along Mary Ann Street,
this part of Cardiff is definitely on the up.
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