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


  1. Dropped in a couple of days ago after reading your review. Friendly people. Had a salt beef sandwich. Would have like some slightly more robust bread, and personally I like a little more briney taste to the meat. Enjoyed it though. Not certain it was £7.50 worth. Would try a Rueben if I was passing again.


  2. Dear Ed. Nice review. I used to write them, too, as a local newspaper hack, normally as some kind of 'advertorial.' The quid pro quo is always a skewed review if 'they know you're coming.' Thankfully, you disclose the invitation on your site, so the reader understands the balance. Sadly, in my case, City Salt Beef saw me coming. Unlike the generously proportioned offering in your photo, I got a couple of wafer-thin slivers of salt beef. The sauerkraut wasn't exactly stacked high, either. In short, it was a pale and pasty British upstart masquerading as a more confident, beefier cousin from across the pond. Tasted fine, but thin and desperately unfilling (I weigh 12.5 stone and have a sneaking suspicion sandwich makers provide fillings based on their unconscious observations of a punter's weight). Whilst £4.50 isn't extortionate, lots of Cardiff outlets do better sandwiches in this style - NY Deli, Pret, Bombers. I felt gently disappointed, and I'll be popping out shortly to buy another buttie from somewhere else.... All the best, Heath

    1. @Heath - sorry to hear you had such a disappointing experience. You're right, there's always the risk that I get preferential service when I review complimentary meals. Another possible explanation is that I ordered the Reuben with salt beef which is an off menu item costing £7. The standard Reuben which you ordered costs £4.50 and is served with pastrami. I'm guessing at that price difference there's probably going to be less filling involved. Cheers! Ed

  3. Hi,
    I had a similar experience to the above commenter. My reuben paled in comparison to what I've used to back home (I come from a city in North America known for it's salted/smoked meat sandwiches). The bread was underwhelming (these types of sandwiches would normally be served on a nice firm rye bread - this was sandwich bread with a few seeds thrown in). The fillings were anemic - I received two slices of pastrami that I saw was unwrapped from a Wally's Delicatessen package. It also took them about 10 minutes to make the sandwich. I brought a colleague from work who ordered the Salt Beef sandwich and was similarly underwhelmed for £7.50. His exact words were, "we should've gone to NY deli". Unfortunately my lunch time suggestion cred has taken a hit from this.

    1. @Anonymous - this sounds pants! Sorry to hear you had such a disappointing experience. If they were using pastrami from Wally's then it sounds like they might have run out of their usual product from Henson's.

  4. Hi - Only just been notified of these reviews/comments, apologies. Ed didn't get a preferential sandwich all our sandwiches should be consistent. However during that time we did suffer from some staffing issues and I can understand why you didn't get the experience I would want you to have from visiting us

    Please mail me direct and I hope we can sort out another trial experience for you

    Best and thanks for the feedback