It’s Saturday morning, my first Sandwich Club. I wake up and find myself instantaneously salivating at the thought of diminishing a two day hangover. I am almost tempted by marmite on toast but this would be like cheating on the sandwich club so opt out of impure carb thoughts and head out to meet the other tSC participants.
As we begin to deliberate as to where our field trip will be held today, I can’t help but pray to some fictitious sandwich god in hope of a cure for this god awful, brain shriveling hangover. I then realize I am being consumed by hunger and slightly worry about my moment of utter delirium and quickly get myself together and finish my tea..
Don’t be fooled by the name, deli rouge is in no way affiliated to the chain, café rouge. This hidden gem surrounded by rows of terraced housing on Mackintosh place hosts some of the finest sliced meats, cheeses, chutneys and baklava that Cardiff has to offer. The cold weather meant that suitable clothing was required for the walk. Scarf loosened and gloves removed and I open the door to the scent of freshly baked bread sitting in a basket at the front of the counter. I look up and become amazed at the menu. In fact, the menu was so extensive that ordering became an ordeal due to an awful combination of indecision and extreme hunger.
Four members took on the challenge of deli rouge, which included:
Sandwich of the day – goats cheese, pastrami, pesto and Sun blushed tomatoes. £3.40
Spanish fiesta – spicy Spanish chorizo topped with manchego cheese and spicy Mediterranean tomato chutney – £3.10
Hot and spicy – Spanish chorizo with chilli and garlic relish and red devil chilli cheese. Hot – £3.10
Fruit cake and baklava for dessert.
There was a moment of silence when our sandwiches arrived at our table followed by ‘oooing’ and ‘ahhhing’, everyone looked at each others plate and hoped that we wouldn’t have a moment of food envy. We didn’t. The attention to detail that took place in the selection of our sandwiches was very well considered and therefore everyone was satisfied with their choice.
I can’t even express how wondrous the taste was. The feeling was mutual amongst us all. I had the sandwich of the day, – Tres Bon Café Rouge!! I think this could be the best sandwich I have ever eaten… Slight exaggeration, I think not. My words may sound a little over the top yet I challenge you to find a better sandwich fix in Cardiff. I assure you this will be a task in itself…
11/10 from me. Actually, I don’t think this is allowed but you get my point….
Look: 3.5 /4
A harsh winter and an inability to cope with snow and ice for most meant that the usual sandwich club Saturday trip turned into an impulsive weekday – but impending – visit to Waterloo Gardens Teahouse. Our intentions were to review this establishment, but on entering this fine dining tea experience, the choice of sandwiches was severely limited. With a menu selection of soup of the day, Panini’s (5 fillings to choose from) and cake this place is not so much about the food but the extensive range of teas on offer. With some 50+ flavours printed on the wall behind the counter it’s easy to see why this is more of a “tea and cake” experience than getting down and dirty with a wedge of filling and bread.
Panini’s ordered, but perhaps more importantly a pot of vanilla black organic tea brewing on our table. The tea was the clear highlight of the visit and with a slice of cake this place offers an experience that nowhere else in Cardiff can offer. No! Not a cup of tea and a slice of cake, but an extensive selection of teas that is simply unsurpassed in the city. The friendly staff clearly trained in the art of brewing suggested we wait for the tea to brew for 3 minutes before serving. Experimenting with this theory we poured 3 cups at 1 minute intervals between 1 and 3 minutes. Our server was right; cup 3 with a brewing time of 3 minutes was the clear winner. However, as sandwich clubbers, there’s no escaping our urge for bread and filling so two paninis, “steak and cheese” and a “tuna olive melt” were ordered. The Panini’s were clean, fresh and delivered on flavours with a small salad garnish on the side.
The minimalist interior design and clean branding of the store shows an appreciation of style as well as substance in the products on offer. Artwork on display comprises several artists from black and white photos to self portraits that can be purchased with or without a frame. One of the clubbers (an ex picture framer) noted that the frames were mounted on non-acid free board, which could effect the quality of the photo in the long term. Why mention this? Well, although the tea was exciting, our conversation did not only consist of metaphors about leaves submerged in hot water.
Waterloo Gardens Teahouse has been open for a year and has already won an award as “best café in the UK”. If you’re after a cup of tea and a slice of cake be sure to head here. See the website for further details.
Full of tea, the clubbers attempt some promotion of the club on an abandoned side road.
On a typically rainy day in Cardiff, the city’s warren of arcades provides welcome shelter and an opportunity to browse all manner of small and delightful shops. It was on such a day that this clubber chanced upon the diminutive baguette bar, Fresh, situated in the Royal Arcade.
Fresh has room inside for no more than three slender customers, with seating for four people outside the shop front. Posters for local music events adorn the walls and a splendid spiral staircase provides a striking centrepiece.
The shop may be small but the menu is certainly extensive, with ample choice for both carnivorous and vegetarian sandwich enthusiasts. There is also a fine selection of homemade cakes on offer. Before being served, a conversation takes place between the owner and another customer who turns out to be particularly loyal. The customer ruminates aloud that he has been a regular at Fresh for eight of the nine years it has been open. Such a revelation could mean one of two things – either this is an exceptionally risk averse man of obsessive habit, or the food served here is something to keep returning to.
Once the customer in front orders a chicken and honey baguette sprinkled with sesame seeds, this clubber opts for the salami, pastrami, roasted onions and lettuce on wholemeal and a cup of spicy carrot and lentil soup. The service is very friendly and the owner is more than happy to discuss the merits of the various sandwiches on offer.
Due to the lack of seating, this clubber returns to the office to enjoy the sandwich accompanied by spicy soup. On opening the wrapping, it comes as a surprise to find not salami, nor pastrami but what appeared to be … chicken with honey and sesame seeds. A mix up of orders. Oh well, it’s too late to go back now.
Fortunately, the baguette was an absolute delight, full of sweet delicate tastes and complimentary textures, while the spicy soup was just the ticket on a cold rainy day.
Regrettably, it was over too quickly. The baguette appears to have been made in proportion to the size of the shop. In summary, small but delightful.
Look: 3.5 /4
Service: 3.5/4 (would have been a 4 if not for the mix up)