I think a hugely underrated dish is the all day breakfast/fry up. Frowned upon by some as a symbol of the lack of creativity by the Brits on the culinary front and of our supposed unwillingness abroad to try anything remotely different (as some will say evidenced by the presence of the “full English” in many Costa resorts, but actually very unwarranted in my view), it is/was the mainstay of the (increasingly rare these days) greasy spoon.
Contrary to its rather down at heel reputation, to me an all day breakfast/fry up is a thing of beauty when (and only when) it is done properly and that requires top notch ingredients as an absolute must. So that means no white gunk exuding bacon or pink “glow in the dark” rusk and unmentionables filled tubes.
This brings me to Wyndham Cafeteria, in the rather lovely Wyndham Arcade in Cardiff City centre.
Located in the unit Servini’s use to occupy, it is run by the people behind Wyndham Tea
They have stated that buying local is very much their MO and that entails buying the stuff for the all day breakie from Cardiff market. Very admirable philosophy that, with buying local a good thing for all sorts of reasons.
It is a nice space,
with minimalism seemingly the order of the day decor wise. I like that as I have never been keen on fussy, over ostentatious, decor.
On my first visit the menu kept it pretty traditional,
with a full breakfast (standard and veggie) as well as various breakfast baps/rolls.
As I was feeling just a touch fragile (the aftermath of a sherry tasting at Vermut which led to further bottles of red wine in Curado – J leading me astray), it was only ever going to be a full breakfast plate for me.
Whilst tempting, I eschewed the “Go Big” option (4 rashers, 2 sausage, 2 eggs, black pudding etc), at £12, which would certainly set you up for a day (probably week!) on the booze come the Six Nation/last minute panic Christmas shopping.
The £8 “standard” Wyndham breakfast seemed more than enough for my needs that day.
When it arrived it was a fine looking plate,
that ticked pretty much all of my all day breakfast boxes in terms of what I would want bar perhaps a slab of black pudding (on the “Go big”) and/or a slice of fried bread (the latter no longer in vogue, sadly, for fry ups these days it seems).
The quality of the ingredients shone through here, with a very meaty, herby, banger (well seasoned and exuding porkiness)
and good quality streaky bacon that hadn’t been nuked.
Hash browns had a crisp exterior and a soft (again well seasoned) interior and were perfect for dunking in the suitably runny fried egg.
The mushroom, with a hint of garlic, and the fried tomato (properly seasoned) added nicely to the mix.
Sauce was provide on request. Brown sauce, if you please, with a fry up – if you put tomato ketchup on yours you are dead to me!
The only slight let downs were the beans (never a huge fan, as find them a touch too sweet for my tastes), which could have been warmer (brownie points gained for it being in a ramekin, some of those lost due to it not having had a bit longer over the heat)
and the fact they forgot the toast. Once the latter was pointed out I got 2 (rather than the normal 1) rounds. Bread was OK if a touch uninspiring standard white slice (my choice of bread for a sausage sarnie though).
I would have preferred a piece of fried bread if am honest. It rather pains me that bread fried in dripping has so fallen out of favour. Rebrand it as pane fritto or beef dripping fried sourdough and I bet people would lap it up.
All in all, minor quibbles aside, a pretty good all day breakfast.
A second visit bought a sausage sarnie (£4.50) to the table.
Again a very nice herbie sausage (and a half), although I would have preferred something different to the bioche bun as the roll (did like that it had had some time on the flat top and I am sure others would baulk at my preferred choice of a standard white slice – I don’t generally not much time for the standard Chorlywood white slice, but it just works for a sausage sarnie). The roll here did perform its primary role (even though it was a roll) of conveyance of the sausage to gob.
In terms of drinks, logically you should be on safe ground bearing in mind the place’s association with Wyndham Tea and my flat white (£3) was very pleasant with a nice hit of mokka
It was also piping hot.
Whilst the latter should be an absolute given, to me at least, there seems to be a bit of an inverse correlation between the swankiness of a coffee machine (an absolute beast of a machine here)
and the heat of the coffee produced by it. Thankfully here that correlation was broken and a satifyingly hot beverage ensued
In terms of a full breakfast, an interesting thought is what wine you could pair with it?
I know at first sight it seems a bit off the wall, but plenty of people drink at breakfast/brunch. A bloody mary (got to have drop of sherry in that in my book), fizz, mimosas etc. with brunch being perfectly acceptable. We are also talking an all day dish here after all.
The chap from Bin Two in Padstow swears by amontillado with a fry up and I seriously like his thinking here
I think a riesling would work pretty well in cutting all the fatty richness, but sherry for the win I would say.
Beer wise – a stout or porter, perhaps, or even a fruity sour (I would drink the latter with anything mine)?
I love a good fry up/all day breakfast and this is a nice addition to the city centre cafe theme. Actually think there is a gap in the market here, with only the couple of cafes in the indoor market offering similar, and this fills that gap nicely.
Would I go back? Yes, like a good all dayer and I am way too old for the booze kind so the breakfast type on offer here is exactly my kind of all dayer. Ideal repast to ease the pain of last minute Christmas shopping I would say.
On my second visit I earwigged in on a menu development chat, with mention of waffles, buttermilk pancakes and eggs various ways. All sounded very interesting, although I do hope the focus on the all day fry up continues.
Address: 6 Wyndham Arcade, Cardiff, CF10 1FE.
Opening hours: Mon – Sun: 08.00 – 15.00.
Website: Can’t find one at time of writing (strange these days – although nothing seens strange these days ).