Hard to resist this breakfast line up – Hard Lines, Canton, Cardiff

They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day – presumably to fuel up after a long snackless sleep.

Generally I am not really a breakfast person, with a strong coffee and little else being my standard “start the day” fare since I was a child (I blame the parents).

Despite this, or perhaps because of it, I love to go large on the rare occasions I am eating (usually out) a proper breakfast.

Whilst I am all in for a full English/Welsh/Scottish/Ulster Fry Up, I am also a big fan of the American diner breakfast model.

The breakfast scene seems to be rather blossoming in Cardiff – some may call it brunch, but that is just breakfast for the lazy (those who can’t get out of bed at a reasonable hour) or lunch for the impatient (those who can’t wait) in my book – with the likes of Milkwood, Ground, Milk and Sugar, Wyndham Cafeteria and (the subject of this post) Hard Lines (in Canton) to name but a few.

The latter was my venue of choice when Mrs. SF offered to buy me breakfast,

with the allure of Hard Lines’ somewhat unconventional (more diner than greasy spoon) breakfast menu.

I was, as ever, somewhat torn in terms of what to go for. Really tough choice between the huevos rancheros,  the breakfast burrito and “The Big Diner Breakfast”, but the promise of rosemary salted fried pots, pancakes and maple syrup won the (start of the) day for me. 

After settling on the Big Diner breakfast, I was presented with another quandry in terms of whether to go for the prociutto or Teifi halloumi. As Mrs. SF was treating me for services rendered (helping with dog walks for guest dogs at el hotel para perros de los londres) my dilemma was easily solved by ordering both. Slight oddity in pricing here, I thought, as it is £9 with either the halloumi or the prociutto but as an extra the halloumi was £2.50 and the ham £2. This means it could end up paying £11 or £11.50 depending on which one you add as an extra despite getting exactly the same thing. As I say bit odd that – assume it is always £11 if double up.

Anyhow, with both ordered it was a pretty voluminous plate, with plenty of interest.

A slight let down was a pair of fried eggs, where the yolks had been left to go just that little bit over.

This was a shame as the fried potatoes were just begging to be dunked in a properly dippy egg.

Bar from the slightly over eggs (obviously getting them just right is not over easy😂), the plate was rather good.

The potatoes had a nicely crisp exterior and a fluffy interior. The rosemary added a nice flavour profile, without it all getting a bit soapy.

The American pancakes had a pleasingly light fluffy texture,

perfect for absorbing the generous amounts of maple syrup.

In terms of my orginal quandry as to the relative merits of the halloumi and prosciutto,

the veggie option of halloumi won hands down. 

To me the crisped up prosciutto was just a bit too crisp in texture and a little too salty (and I am a bit of a salt fiend) for me.

The halloumi, on the other hand had a nice textural contrast between the exterior and interior and the saltiness was present but a touch more muted.

If I am honest I would have preferred a couple of rashers of streaky bacon and would definitely have gone for that if I had been offered the choice.

Notwithstanding the slightly over eggs and the absense of bacon, I really enjoyed my breakfast here.

Mrs. SF was a tad more restrained than me, going for a rather fine looking cinnamon bun.

She said it was very nice, with a good hit (rather than the all to often mere passing presence) of cinnamon.

On the drinks front, Hard Lines is first and foremost known for its coffee and there is certainly plenty of interest on that front

We ordered a cortado (me)

and a flat white (Mrs. SF)

Not sure what coffee was used, but based on the distinct fruitiness and touch of brown sugar I would hazard a quess that it was the Costa Rican number (probably totally wrong).

Whatever coffee it was, it was very nice.

The verdict

I rather enjoyed my little breakfast treat courtesy of Mrs. SF.

The place also has an interesting rest of the day set up with a nice lunch menu

and sweet treats a plenty

The key lime pie, in particular, looked the absolute business

The booze offering (mainly retail, but was mention of stuff on the board if you fancy booze in – as it was breakfast I didn’t) looks quite good, with an interesting selection of beers and wines.

Not sure why but their own brand “Gwin Coch” wine, an Italian merlot I believe,

just makes me think of mulled wine (maybe it is their coffee cup logo on the label that does it).

So would I go back? Yep, lovely breakfast and fancy me a piece of that key lime pie

after one of their hero sarnie for lunch.

The fact that it is dog friendly is very much the icing on the cinnamon bun for me.

Would I go back? Yep, with subsequent visit of a lunch time allowing me to zero in on the hero (£7, including homemade tortilla chips)

and very good it was too.

A lovely mix of coppa, salami, mortadella (the latter is such an underrated cold cut) and cheese, with giardineria added a welcome touch of fresh acidity.

I also Twin Peaked it with a piece of pie (key lime – £3.50 – rather than cherry),

and a cup of joe.

Again all very nice.

The details

Address: St. Canna Court, Cowbridge Road East, Canton, Cardiff, CF5 1GX.

Website: click here

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