Saturday, 12 April 2014

Trade Street Cafe - Hunt for Cardiff's Best Breakfast

Trade Street Café has been on my to visit list for yonks.

In fact, in that time they’ve closed down, changed hands and reopened after an £80,000 refurbishment.

However, due to their advertised weekday opening hours & the fact I don’t work anywhere near their City Centre location, it looked like I’d never get to visit…

Apparently though, they are open on Saturdays they just don’t tell you on their website, Twitter account or Google business listing. This might explain why I had their rather lovely dining space all to myself when I popped in last weekend after dropping Mrs G off at the station.

The breakfast – Full Welsh Breakfast

The price - £6.95

Pros – Meaty mushrooms, thick salty bacon and fresh toasted bloomer

Cons – Winey Toulouse sausages were too potent for a fry-up and just the one fried egg felt a bit stingy

Beverages – A full-bodied Americano (£1.95) 

Verdict – Trade Street Café is a lovely place to relax with the weekend papers and their breakfast is pretty good, if a little modest in proportions.

Details – 

Address - Trade Street Cafe, 4 Trade Street, Cardiff, CF10 4DQ
Telephone - 029 2022 8666 

Sunday, 6 April 2014

La Bodega, Spanish tapas bar, Cardiff review

Sometimes you can’t help but think we’ve got the short end of the stick when it comes to bar-snacks.

Whilst in Italy you can fill your boots from groaning antipasti bars, in Spain there's a national snack-based cuisine and in Japan you can munch on yakitori over a few post-work beers - we typically have a choice between Big D salted nuts, Mini Cheddars and (if it’s an upmarket gastro-boozer) a stingy pot of sweet chilli rice crackers.

La Bodega serves my kind of bar food. Furthermore, their warm welcome, (almost) cliché-free interior and Spanish booze list make a night out on St Mary Street seem nearly as appealing as a night spent on the sofa watching the latest HBO boxset.

Pan con tomate y jamon (£7.50) was everything it should be – warm, crisp toast rubbed with punchy garlic, sweet tomato, top-notch olive oil and topped with unctuous, room-temperature ham. 

Morcilla Iberica con huevo (£5.90) could be a candidate for Cardiff’s best breakfast; the crisp-crumbed black pudding & runny fried eggs proving to be a winning combination anytime of day.

Ham croquetas (£7.50) were lush too – a crisp exterior cosseting silky béchamel flecked with salty ham.

However, at over seven pounds for a dainty portion, it felt at least a couple of quid too expensive – an accusation which could be levelled at a few of the other dishes on the menu. 

Gambas pil pil (£7.50) were plump and juicy but would have benefited from a bigger whack of chilli…

whilst enjoyable patatas bravas (£3.80) would have been massively improved by a few minutes longer spent crisping in hot fat.

Dessert, a slice of tarta de Santiago (£4.50), was a revelation despite its soft pastry base – the moist, rich almond filling balanced perfectly by the hit of orange and lemon juice. 

Except for a few blips in the food and some overly-steep pricing in places; La Bodega is highly recommended. It's most certainly a very welcome, independent addition to Cardiff City Centre.

The Details:

Address - 15 High Street, Cardiff, CF10 1AX
Telephone - 02920 371 823
Web -

La Bodega on Urbanspoon