I am always on the look out for lunch options and with town a bit of a faff to get into from my Llandaff base (just for lunch) these days, the Cardiff burb of Canton has provided fertile hunting grounds of late.
My latest foray took me to the Corp Market, which seems to me to be a great example of a way to repurpose a defuncted pub.
Back in my (immediate post uni.) youth, when I use to live in a true hovel in Roath (with no central heating, thick ice on the inside of the windows in winter and a deck chair the only seating) my mate lived in a somewhat more palatial pad (to put it in context your average crack house would be much, much more palatial than my hovel was, so the bar was quite low) in Canton and we use to frequent (mainly out of laziness as the beer was awful) and occasional get thrown out of (due to the habit of one of our mates of falling asleep at the drop of a hat, pretty much anywhere, after a few beers) what we call the Copulation (when it was a pub – not sure why we called it that, certainly nothing to do with any of us getting lucky that’s for sure).
Nowadays what was the Corporation is a much more salubious affair, with a set up involving a number of indie traders and a nice looking bar area.
On nipping in to the place to get a rather fine dry furmint from Wine Fiend (sad to see they recently announced that they are closing their store here – still online though), I had a glance at the menus for the inhouse bar.
Very interesting they looked too, with a clear Italian focus from the inhouse Khione Deli.
This lead to a lunch time trip with J, who was wanting to pick up some cannoli from said Khione Deli in any event.
After much deliberation between J and I and the bar staff (we found on ordering that not one but several item we originally wanted were off the menu), we settled on a meat and cheese platter for one, a pizzetta wurztel and a couple of the arancino (one bolognese and one norma).
The platter for 1 (£10) was a lovely mix of excellent quality meats, cheeses and accompaniments.
I particularly enjoyed the addition of the hazelnuts, what was a very punchy salsa and the pecorino with olives and chilli running through it.
The pizzetta wurztel (£4.95 – our first choice, the rather lively sounding mozzarella in carrozza, was off the menu)
was a rather cute little bundle and would have made for a nice light lunch in itself.
The bread was quite soft, with a touch of sweetness which I rather liked.
The cheese was pleasingly gooey (a bit of blistering in the top wouldn’t have gone amiss), with a very agreeable tomato sauce and, my guilty pleasure, slices of hot dog sausage hiding in the interior. I even enjoyed the garnish, which had a good application of properly sticky balsamic.
The arancino hit the brief well, with a crisp oil free outer shell, a bob on cooked risotto rice interior and a nicely melted gooey core.
Really enjoyed these and they were huge. Real bargain at £4.95 a pop.
If you fancy pud, the menu looks just as interesting
and their cannolo are amazing (J bought some to take home).
On the booze front they have a very nice selection of wines (including from Wine Fiend).
as well as beers.
As I was enjoying one of my (unpaid) days off (and J was driving), I went for a small glass of the Dot Austrian Peach riesling.
Nice wine this, with both stone fruit (peach) and citrus (lime) as well as a pleasing touch of minerality. Decent value at £5.20 for a 125 ml glass and £27 for a bottle, with it retailing at around the £12.50 mark (very fair mark up for the UK that).
Another excellent and unexpectedly good lunchtime spot in Canton (at the moment at least, until it inevitably gets subsumed into the Pontcanna blob).
Really good food and booze on offer, with the option of doing a bit of shopping (or you can even get your hair cut whilst you are in there).
As the blog title alludes to, the quality of the booze and food actively encourages a bit of corp. greed (the sort you would want to Shell out for) in a good way.
Easy (free for the first two hours and free after 6pm) parking too, in Grey Street Carpark, just across the road.
Address: 188 Cowbridge Road East, Canton, Cardiff, CF5 1GW.