Since the Bottle Shop in Roath is still only open for takeaway and not for drinking in, I’m currently without my very own Central Perk, Rovers Return or Moe’s Tavern.
Prior to March 2020, I’d wander down there at least a couple of times a week and bump into mates in front of and behind the bar. And with a constantly changing roster of craft beers and wines by the glass, I’d never be short of something interesting to drink.
So, in the absence of my favourite boozing spot in Roath, I’ve had to explore potential new watering holes.
Two of the most promising have opened in the last couple of weeks.
The Glory Stores
The Glory Stores, on Upper Kincraig Street, is a provisions store selling quality booze, coffee, and snacks. They also have a small seating area and are open late until 9pm on Friday nights.
As well as selling delicious doughnuts and brownies from Pettigrew Bakeries, they offer a range of pies, cheese, cured meats and scotch eggs i.e. ideal food to accompany booze.
Top notch beers are available from The Kernel (£6) and Rothaus (£4.5), as well as the always very drinkable Cidre Breton (£4), which nicely balances fruit, acidity, tannins and barnyard funk.
Mrs G worked her way through some of the wines by the glass, including excellent glasses of albarino (£6.5), chablis (£8) and rosé (£8).
During a boozy evening we demolished a bevy of nibbles including compellingly smoky and salty fire roasted smoked almonds (£4).
Thick hummus (£4), with a sweet zingy tang of red pepper and tomato, was served with crisp crackers whilst a pot of dinky kabanos (£4) had a lovely chew and hit of smoke.
A killer half of game pie (£8) from Legges in Hereford saw crisp pastry and a layer of savoury jelly encasing coarse gamey meat adorned with tart cranberries. If that wasn’t enough, it was accompanied by pieces of milky Spenwood sheep’s cheese and cornichons.
We of course had to check out some more of the cheese on offer.
Sweet, salty and funky gorgonzola (£4) and nutty, grassy Pitchfork cheddar (£4) were both served with an excellent pear and nigella seed chutney that was sweet with an earthy hit of spice.
A focaccia sandwich (£6.50) was well stuffed with silky parma ham and more of that excellent chutney. But the bread itself would have benefited from a bit more softness of crumb.
I can see myself becoming a regular at the Glory Stores. The team running it are great hosts and it’s a lovely spot to while away a few hours.
The other place we visited recently is Kuro on Albany Road, which has taken over the site of the long-lived Trattoria Molisana. It’s another venue where there’s a very warm welcome from the front of house team.
Kuro's influences are global with a leaning towards Italian. Whilst the main restaurant offers unusual combinations such as lasagne with chicken, coconut and pineapple and risotto with mango, chilli and prawn, they also have a small bar area with a more familiar sounding snack menu.
They have a huge range of wines by the glass and we knocked back glasses of red-berry packed primitivo rosé (£12), creamy rioja blanco (£10), aperol spritz (£9), and a pint of San Miguel (£6).
One of the things which sets Kuro apart is their “aperitivo time”. In the Italian tradition, there are complimentary nibbles which accompany each drink (I guess it may be why the glasses of wine are generally a little pricier).
On our visit, this included stilton and manchego served with excellent olive oil-rich fresh focaccia and fruity grape chutney.
Indian-spiced chicken wings were nice and crisp but the spices could probably have been cooked out a little more.
We also had some more of that lovely bread.
We ordered some extra dishes off their snack menu including delicious blistered padron peppers (£4) with a punchy bravas sauce.
Macaroni cheese (£5) was made with al dente pasta, a light coating of savoury cheese sauce, crisp breadcrumbs and a grating of fresh truffle. It reminded me more of a grown-up pasta dish than the comfort food classic.
Crisp rabbit croquettes, filled with meat studded mash, would have benefited from a bigger hit of seasoning but were pepped up by a sweet pepper sauce and briny black olive tapenade.
Kuro is another spot that I’m glad to have in the area. There’s clearly a lot of passion from the team who run it and it’s another good option for a drink until I’m reunited with my beloved Bottle Shop.
The Glory Stores
Address - 1 Upper Kincraig St, Cardiff CF24 3HA
Telephone - 029 2169 0179
Address - Kuro Unit 11 The Globe Centre, Albany Rd, Roath, Cardiff CF24 3PE
Telephone - 029 2132 1331