When Sticky Fingers moved out of the Brewery Quarter, upping sticks to Roath, the area around Caroline Street in Cardiff City centre became a lot less interesting to me of a lunchtine. My attention shifted to Cardiff indoor market, with the likes of the Masala Hut, Franks and Ffwrnes leading the way in terms of good value eating options.
A new arrival on the Hayes end of Chippy Alley, however, has drawn me back to that neck of the woods.
Souvlike is a Greek restaurant and takeaway that have been successfully feeding the denizen of City Road (in Roath) for a while now. Having built up a loyal following out East, an expansion into the city centre seems like a logical move.
A lot of late night kebab joints fill me with dread (and gawd knows, if I actually eat in them, what else), but this place (at least at first blush) seemed to be the sort of kebab joint I could very much buy into.
The location on the Hayes end of Caroline Street is, I think, a good one. It means they are likely to get trade in the day as well as the later crowd that flock to Chippy Alley to fuel up pre, post and during a night out.
Inside it is all shiny and new
and caters for both takeaway and eat in.
The eat in section is nicely done. Bright and airy
with more than a touch of the taverna about it.
Pleasant enough for both a quick bite or a longer feed, although with the door open it gets a bit (very un- taverna like) parky in there (kept my coat on, on both visits).
The menu mirrors that of the place’s City Road branch and offers a wide selection of Greek classics. A case, seemingly, of if it ain’t broke…..
These range from cheese and dip starters, to pitta wraps
and chargilled meat plates
Not really a fan of the use of the word “authentic” on the menu here (or anywhere, if truth he told). Seems odd plonked on the menu like that and my view is just let the food do the talking.
In addition to the chargrilled stuff, the likes of mousakka and yemista offer further options
and with all of this there is lots to potentially interest both the lunch time and evening crowds.
On my first visit, I went for the place’s sort of namesake in the form of a lamb souvlaki.
What arrived (promptly but not too promptly – I saw the lamb sizzling away on the charcoal grill) was a handsome beast. A good mix of slightly chewy grilled (with a light char) pitta bread, cubed lamb (again with a slight char from the grill), crisp salad (if you don’t like raw onions maybe best to ask then to hold them as it was quite onion heavy) and deep fried potato slices all brought together by a very garlicky tzatziki. I really liked the fried potato slices, which had a good crisp exterior and a nice soft interior.
Really good portion size that filled me up nicely for lunch, with a good ratio of meat to salad and potatoes.
The all important meat had been marinated (olive oil, lemon juice, garlic and oregano I would wager) to enhance both its flavour and tenderness.
All in all an excellent sandwich and perfect lunchtime fare.
A second visit, with @CardiffBites who has come over to the “dark side” by now working at a law firm (oddly she seems to quite like it 🤔), brought the plates section of the menu into play.
We decided on a sharing plate (more, it turns out, a bloody great big tray), which offers a bit of everything they do grill wise (lamb and chicken skewers, pork gyros, greek sausage, a stuffed biftekaki) and various extras (bread, dips, salad and potatoes)
With a massive meat to bread ratio, my first thought was “this looks like something to please even the most voracious of carnivore”. My second thought was “why so stingy with the pitta bread?”, but in reality it was enough as we didn’t eat it all.
Stars of the show were the lamb and chicken kebabs (for both @Cardiffbites and I).
I also quite liked the stuffed biftekaki (the later oozing cheese as it was cut – @Cardiffbite was less enamoured of this cheesy tube), although the grind on the mincer for these was set a bit too fine for my tastes.
Least favourites (still nice enough) were the Greek sausage (bit bog standard frankfurter- ish) and the pork gyros. The latter suffered a bit, I think, from being the last thing we tucked into. By that point the pork shavings had lost much of their heat (as they were the least likely meat element to retain heat this was a schoolboy error on our part) and had curled up a bit. I think freshly shaved and piping hot they would have been much better.
The potato slices weren’t as crisp as the ones I had on my initial visit, but were nice enough with the dips (a tzatziki and a “I am not sure, it’s a bit like marie rose”).
Mrs. SF usually avoids any meal choice that involves sharing with me citing my fast eating and generally gluttony as meaning she will get the raw end of the deal, but @cardiffbites is not the sort of person to let me get away with taking more than my fair share (fork in hand would undoubtedly have ensued).
As it happened, the jumbo portion size meant there was more than enough on the plate, without me needing to resort to food thievery, to defeat both @cardiffbites and me.
To our credit we only left some of salad (thankfully properly dressed – bit cabbage heavy and strangely, for a Greek Salad, lacking in any cucumber though) and one wedge of pitta bread, so not a bad effort.
On this front at first sight it looked like the only stuff on offer was the usual soda suspects.
A closer look, however, showed there were a few Greek numbers in the bottle offering ( in the form of stuff from Loux, the largest soft drink company in Greece). Nice touch that, I thought.
I went for a sour cherry number,
which was quite nice as soft drinks go. Its slight sourness worked well as against the oodles of meat on the sharing plate.
I was quite impressed by Souvlike. Good quality, tasty, food at a fair price makes for idea fare for both lunchtime and pre, post or during a session/a break from Christmas shopping later on (oh how I hate Christmas shopping – runs a close second to a garden centre as hell on earth for me!). As such there is a lot to (Souv)like about this place 😁.
Would I go back? Yep – already have and can see this being a regular lunchtime haunt of mine.
While many kebab shops in the UK offer up a bit of a Greek tragedy on the food front – this place ain’t one of them.
Address: 21 Caroline Street, Cardiff, CF10 1GF.
Website: Click here
Twitter: Dont appear to be on it.
Opening hours: Mon – Sun: 11.00 – 23.00