Madame Fromage started off life in Cardiff as a deli, with on site catering more of a side line. Over the years this has changed and now (to my mind at least and I suspect balance sheet wise) it concentrates more on the in house food element. Not that I am complaining – eat in, take out who cares if the food is good.
I have eaten here a few times and a catch up with old and current work friends presented an ideal opportunity to give it the once over for the blog.
Located in one of Cardiff’s charming and often quirky Victorian Arcades (Castle Arcade), Madame Fromage allows for both indoor and al fesco dining regardless of the weather outside.
We ate in the main area where the deli counter is located
but you can also eat outside and there is a rather odd stand alone overflow area across the arcade from the main shop/restaurant area.
It always seems to be a popular lunch spot (hence the overflow area) and was quite busy on our midweek lunchtime visit.
Cheese, of course, features quite heavily on the menu (let’s face it, it would be odd if it didn’t) in various iterations with a selection of cheese related platters, salads, bakes and sandwiches. The menu, however, goes beyond pure cheesiness, with plenty of other stuff on offer.
This was well executed with a bubbling cheese crust sitting atop a good bechamel sauce, decent slice of proper ham and a good hunk of white bread. The cornichon on top helped cut the richness of the dish and it came with a decent, well dressed salad (good size to it) and a pot of nice chutney. Proper comfort food to warm the cockles on a dreary Winter day.
Other dishes ordered were a lamb cawl (£8.50) and two small charcuterie platters (£6.95).
The cawl smelt lovely and was a very decent sized portion. Nice to see they don’t skimp on the bread (somewhat of a bête noire of mine, restaurants being stingey with bread or crackers). The chunky and plentiful lamb was beautifully tender (l stole a cube), with a lovely flavour to the broth in sat in. It got a huge thumbs up from the person who ordered it and pangs of jealousy from those that did not.
The charcuterie platters (on boards which I can forgive for cold cuts) were a decent portion for the £6.95 price tag, with lots of variety. It included traditional Yorkshire ham, parma ham, salami and chorizo, as well as a decent, well dressed side salad, cornichons and apple slices. The meats on display were all good quality products and both platters were polished off with gusto by my fellow dinners, with me nicking some salami and parma ham off one of them. Very nice they were too.
Again it was nice to see them not skimping on the bread provided with the meat platters.
On the drinks side they have a nice mix of hot and cold (with both soft drinks and booze in both categories). There is a bit of imagination in all areas with things like “London Fog: (not my cup of tea that, but certainly interesting with Earl Grey tea, vanilla syrup and frothy milk) in the hot drinks and kir royale/petilliant on the booze side.
Prices for the booze (with a nice local theme on the beer and cider front – not sure exactly what Welsh ales and craft ales are on offer) looked very reasonable to me. For example , sparkling wine at £16 is pretty good, even if it is a cava or prosecco, as is £4.50 for a double G&T.
Alas it was a working day so no booze. I defaulted to a large Americano coffee. Decent enough if a tad weak for my taste (I do like my coffee seriously strong).
Others had juice (£1.80 for a decent sized glass) or Fentimans (ginger beer – £2.25).
We all enjoyed our meal at Madame Fromage – good company and good food (with Madame Fromage providing the latter) always makes for a pleasant way to spend a lunch hour or two.
Would I go back? Definitely – a very decent lunch is to be has at Madame Fromage (especially if, like me, you are a cheese lover).
Always an option this place if you are looking for decent grub in the day in town. They also do (by all accounts – not been myself) very good cheese and wine tasting evening events.
21 Castle Arcade,
Tel: 02920 644 888
Website : http://www.madamefromage.co.uk
Mon – Fri: 10am – 5.30pm
Sat: 9.30 – 5.30pm
Sun: 12 noon – 5pm
Eat in and take away available.