Musings (more like rambling thoughts) of a Cardiff based lawyer obsessed with food and wine
The somewhat unusual title (I know I have form for this) to this post (a bastardisation of “Orange is not the only fruit“) refers to fact that the press were giving ( a week or so back) Cardiff a slight ribbing about a place here selling chocolate orange and lettuce baguettes (I kid you not – they also apparently do a liquorice allsorts baguette and one previously on offer was a marmite and jelly bean combo!!!!). This sort of thing makes me want to weep as to what people must think of the Cardiff sarnie scene and regrettably, no doubt, offers more gist to Mr. Raynor’s mill in terms of the food on offer in Cardiff.
I am not a great fan of the pre-packed sarnie in general, but do understand why they are so popular (portable, with a seemingly wide choice – all taste alarmingly similar to me bar from said chocolate orange and lettuce one which I suspect just tastes alarming).
I am not totally adverse to one (other than of course a chocolate orange one – which I am very adverse to indeed) every so often (usually when in a hurry to catch a train and starving), but generally I prefer to eat out properly or bring left overs from dinner the night before to buying a pre-packed sarnie.
Whilst there is clearly a place at lunchtime for a quality sarnie, it should for me be a made from scratch one not a pre-packed one (and most definitely not a chocolate orange and lettuce one).
They say variety is the spice of life and with that in mind (and drawing the line way, way, way before chocolate orange or liqourice allsorts), it does amaze me how some people have exactly the same (often pre-packed) sandwich day in day out.
A recent survey found that one in six people have had the same lunch for at least 2 years! This number rises to 77% when looked at over a 9 month period (I can’t believe they mean these people have the exact same sarnie, but …..). This must become so tedious (in the same survey 81% of people admitted to be bored by their lunch time choice- I think the phrase is “No shit Sherlock”).
This got me thinking about the variety of “made to order” sarnies on offer in Cardiff City centre as opposed to the pre-packed supermarket/chain and chocolate orange/allsorts offerings.
It seems to me the humble sarnie gets a bad wrap (excuse the pun – wraps are excluded), perhaps justifiably so when someone in Cardiff puts a chocolate orange and lettuce in one or you just eat crappy pre- packed one, when in reality there is variety of quality sarnies (to suit all budgets) on offer for a takeaway lunch in the city centre.
Convenience and time pressures are generally cited for the growth of the lunchtime sandwich (eaten in work increasingly and sadly at the desk) rather than going out to eat at lunch time.
For the purposes of this post, I have only looked at places selling made to order sarnies (based on fillings between slices of bread or in a roll) that you can easily take back to your desk etc. in work.
Burgers, whilst notionally covered, have been excluded (as have wraps as that gets you into burritos and beyond and the line has to be drawn somewhere – the eat at desk ability of other takeaway lunches available in Cardiff is for another post perhaps)
So what else is on offer?
Curado Bar – 2 Guildhall Place, CF10
With Bar 44 having sadly discountinued their takeaway bocadillo offering, the bocadillo baton has been taken up by Curado Bar.
In addition to its pintxos and deli offerings, Curado bar has a fine selection of quality bocadillos
Top notch ingredients used here make for very fine sarnies (both hot and cold).
I love a good bocadillo and here it comes with a myriad of lovely options, including tostadas.
Curado Bar brings a nice bit of Spanish flavour to Cardiff’s sandwich scene. At the higher end price wise, it is still good value due to the pricey ingredients used.
One of their bocadillos with jamon serrano, manchego and piquillo peppers really hits the spot of a lunchtime.
Website: click here
Bombers – Guildhall Place, CF101EB and 41 Charles Street, CF10 2GB
Bombers, on Guildhall,very quickly established itself as one of the go to places for a sarnie in Cardiff and it now has a second branch, with its recently opened Charles Street premise.
The name of the game here is robust (often unusual) fillings (which change regularly) and massive portion sizes
You can have a sarnie the size of a small baby, in the form of the “Atomic bomb” (£6.95), should you so wish (these seem surprisingly popular – how someone manages works without a nap after eating one I will never fathom). For a more managable size, I go for the “inbetweener” (£3.85), which fills me up without being a total gut buster.
Fillings change regularly (details are posted on their Twitter feed @bombersSH) and always offer the familar as well as something a bit different. Not sure who is tempted by a hit of ghost chilli for their lunch, but there must be enough takers as it seems a permanent feature on the menu!!
Nice to see chocolate and orange in a more suitable place on the menu here.
You can load up your sarnie with a multitude of salad items and other extras. I would, perhaps, hold the cous cous next time rather than ask simply for the works.
Deservedly popular you will always get something interesting and filling for a good price at Bombers.
Fresh – 32 Royal Arcade, CF10 1AE
Situated in the rather lovely Royal arcade, there is always (come lunchtime) a queue outside of this place
A wide selection of made to order baguettes is what draws in the people.
The menu covers both hot and cold stuff and there is a gratifyingly wide selection of baguettes and paninis for both carnivores and veggies.
The queue can be a bit daunting, but always goes down quickly and portion sizes and flavour combinations are good. Prices start at around the £3 mark, going up to £4 ish.
I am rather partial to their number 6 – a chicken and bacon caesar baguette (£3.80) and number 7- pastrami and salami with dill pickle and crispy onion (£3.85).
Good quality sarnies and very friendly staff make this place deservedly popular.
Their twitter feed (@freshbaguette1) has regular updates on daily specials etc.
No website, but they have an app (Apple and Android) called “Fresh Baguette bar”, which provides full menu details and an online ordering option.
Cardiff Market – The Bread Stall
Sometimes all you want is a ham roll and the Bread Stall in Cardiff Market offers a basic ham and mustard roll for a bargain £1.55 ( I have been in Cardiff so long I am sure I can remember them being 55p).
A couple of decent size slices of ham (carved directly off a “bone in” hunk of ham), a crispy cob roll (the option of a soft bab is available, but has to be crusty cob if you ask me) and a squeeze of cheapie German mustard (wish was a bit of decent English mustard mind but heyho) makes for a very satisfying and cheap lunch. No fancy pants fillings here, just a simple thing done well.
No website – doesn’t really need one to be frank.
New York Deli – 19 High St. Arcade, CF10 1BB
No list of places selling sarnies in Cardiff would be complete without mention of that perenial favourite and Cardiff institution, the New York Deli.
A bit of Americana in the “diff”, it offers up a huge variety of massive sarnies (sandwiches, bagels and hoagies)
Favours and fillings are classic American deli (with the likes of salt beef, pastrami, meatballs and, of course, pickles), with the occasional Cardiff twist. Veggies and vegan options are available.
What you get is a very generously filled sarnie of your choice, with no chance of going hungry after you have finished it.
I am rather partial to the “Richie Park Special” (hot salt beef, melted swiss cheese and pickles) on lightly toasted rye bread (£4.70 as a sarnie – £5.70 in a hoagie).
Great sarnie that stays hot on the 10 odd minute walk from the place to my office
Prices range from £3 and go up to just shy of £6 . Not cheap, but you do get a lot for your money here.
Website: click here
Baguetty Junction -24 Penarth Road, CF10 5DN
Slightly out of town on Penarth Road, this place is walkable for me (and close to the train station) so worth a mention.
Whilst they do the full gambit of cold filling baguettes, the big seller is their hot crispy (breaded) chicken offering.
Prices are very reasonable starting at the £3 mark for a tasty and filling sarnie.
The Hut – Working Street (opposite Halifax on the Hayes)
Situated on the Hayes, the Hut is a place that until recently has fallen under my radar. There is, however, always a queue of people there and on closer inspection I noted their use of freshly baked Spanish boccadillo bread.
Whilst they do standard cold filled baguettes,
what people queue up for are their cheddar melts.
Piping hot (it is still always hot after the 10 min walk back to my office) with a good selection of fillings (prices start at a very reasonable £2.90) and loads of gooey melted cheese, they are a good size, very filling and great value for money.
Currently no website.
Cardiff has much more to offer on the sarnie front other than the boring pre-packed ones and the frankly insane chocolate orange and lettuce or liquorice allsort baguette.
To my mind why would you want to go for one of these,
when you can have one of these?
It’s a no brainer if you ask me.
Would I go back? These are the places I tend to frequent if I fancy a sarnie at lunch time – so of course yes.