Saturday, 29 August 2015

City Salt Beef, City Centre, Cardiff

Noshing on salt beef is one of my favourite things to do in life.

In fact, during my 32 years, many of my most vivid memories originate from inhaling a tower of juicy meat slapped between two slices of bread.

These include the drunken 2am salt beef bagel from Brick Lane’s Beigel Bake during the days when I used to go out past 10pm; the time my friend nearly choked to death on a lump of beef at Selfridge’s Brass Rail when she literally bit off more than she could chew; and visualising that When Harry Met Sally moment whilst eating one of Katz’s Deli's vertiginous sandwiches in New York.

My debut Reuben from Cardiff’s City Salt Beef now joins these recollections in my bovine memory bank. 

City Salt Beef just opened / rebranded last week on Charles Street in the middle of town. Previously a branch of Coffee A Go Go, the owners decided to focus on selling salt beef sandwiches (£7) & reubens (£4.50).

I ordered a reuben on caraway and rye bread (£7) substituting the pastrami on the menu for salt beef. Whilst both meats are sourced from the highly regarded Henson’s in London, it's only the salt beef which is cooked on the premises. 

Everything about this sandwich was top notch.

The toasted caraway and rye bread from the ace Allen’s Bakery had just the right twang of anise; the mountain of meat was impeccably salty, juicy and tender; a heap of sauerkraut tempered the richness; a slather of Thousand Island sauce dialled the richness back up again; and a couple of slices of Swiss cheese were thrown in for good measure. 

City Salt Beef’s reuben is a stonking addition to Cardiff's sandwich line-up. And unlike some of Cardiff’s other best sandwich gaffs, they’re thankfully open on Saturdays when I can make it into town.

Disclosure - I was invited to City Salt Beef, all food and drink was complimentary.

The Details:

Address - City Salt Beef, 41 Charles Street, Cardiff CF10 2GB
Telephone - 029 2023 5141

Saturday, 15 August 2015

Pooja, Indian sweets and chaat house, Cardiff

To the novice Indian sweet shop and Chaat house goer (me), Pooja doesn’t exactly make itself accessible.

A couple of printed sheets of A4 on the wall and in the window name the available dishes. There are no descriptions.

Some items are familiar- samosas, bhajis, bhel puri, curries (oddly takeaway only) and barfi (the milk-based Indian sweet which tastes like its name sounds).

However, there are other items which have me baffled - batata vada, pease kachori, dahi puri and aloo tikki to name a few.

I stick to the known.

Pani puri (£2.50 for 6) are great - six crisp parcels filled with soft potato and chickpeas, coriander and red onion. They’re accompanied by a little pot of spicy & fresh pani water so you can fill the puri at the table and keep them nice and crisp. 

A paneer tikka roll (£1) is a comforting deep-fried pastry filled with well-spiced paneer and vegetable curry. It’s microwaved to order so is inevitably lacking on the crispness front. 

Dessert is an excellent gulab jamun (£2). Served at room temperature and lightly fragranced with cardamom, it’s accompanied by a scoop of smooth Sidoli’s vanilla ice cream.

Pooja is a different, tasty, cheap and cheerful lunchtime pit stop. If you fancy something different to the usual cheese sandwich and sausage roll then give it a go.

The Details:

Address - Pooja, 3 Albany Road, Cardiff CF24 3LH
Telephone - 029 2021 4987