the sandwich club

Fresh, Royal Arcade

Posted in Reviews by thesandwichclub on January 11, 2010

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.


Price:                     2/4

Taste:                    4/4

Look:                     3.5 /4

Service:                3.5/4 (would have been a 4 if not for the mix up)

Originality:          3/4

Score: 16/20



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