Last week I was fortunate enough to try the latest addition to the specials board at Fresh Baguette – Salami crackling. Fresh is located in Royal Arcade Cardiff and at lunch time is hard to miss as customers line the arcade queuing to order. This is for good reason, the inviting smell and welcome atmosphere coupled with an impressive menu selection has generated a real cult following.
When I typed in “planning” into the world of Google the first result that caught my eye read “simple planning makes for a more enjoyable vacation”. I’m sure this statement is true, but today’s lunch was a very much unplanned affair and resulted in one of the most delicious.
Behold, today’s special I picked up in FRESH – minted lamb and salad Panini.
The daily specials are exactly why FRESH is an appropriate name. The lamb was slow roasted, tender and succulent, coupled with the minted mayonnaise and fresh salad it was an absolute pleasure to eat. Keep an eye out for this special if you are yet to try.
Last year we took our first visit to Fresh in Royal Arcade. Impressed by what it had to offer we thought it deserved an updated write up, so much so we’ve been there twice in nearly the same number of weeks.
Tucked away in a tiny space just along from Wally’s Deli. Fresh is consistently very very good, with the owners having a real passion for what they do. They specialise in baguettes (no sandwiches!) and also have a range of paninis, salads, cakes and drinks. The chalk board is crammed with a wide variety of staple fillings as well as some very intriguing daily specials.
Lunchtimes will often mean a queue out the door and down the arcade but service is very good and you don’t have to wait long. Here’s a sample of what we’ve had from Fresh recently.
Salami, pastrami, caramalised onion, mustard, mayo and salad on brown baguette
Ham, chicken, dill pickles, gherkins, mustard on brown baguette
Friday special (28/01/2011): Asian pork balls panini with super special homemade chilli sauce!
We even got to sample the home made chilli sauce that comprised twelve ingredients whilst waiting for the paninis to toast:
The clubbers were pretty unanimous on the the fact that this was one of THE BEST fillings we have tasted. Fresh do it right, they are friendly, inventive and know what the customer wants. They are one of the best in Cardiff.
Follow Fresh on Twitter to keep up to date with the daily specials and whats going on:
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)