It may have surprised us early this year but the inevitable snow day came where offices closed their doors and shops were raided for milk, bread and tins of soup. The Sandwich Club once again took advantage of the snowy weather, making a visit to Cocorico Patisserie.
Cocorico is a fairly new establishment specialising in French cakes and patisseries, the proprietors being French themselves. In addition to the bakery, there is a small café serving a selection of fresh baguettes, croque-monsieur, pastries and cakes.
First up was ham, emmental cheese and wholegrain mustard on a white baguette*. The bread was superb, having been baked fresh, and came topped off with a variety of seeds. The baguette was on the smaller size, but I liked this as I find most ‘normal’ sized baguettes just too much bread. The ingredients were fresh and all very tasty, a generous helping of rocket finishing it off perfectly.
Second was black forest ham, avocado and sun dried tomato on a brown baguette. Again the fresh homemade bread was a great starting point. The flavour of the ham was excellent and the overall flavour of the ingredients was very well balanced.
The service was welcoming and friendly and the prices were pretty reasonable for a sit in sandwich and drink. Other points of note were the tea being served in a FORLIFE teapot infuser (see previous post) and although not tasted on this occasion, the cakes by all accounts are pretty special and also very reasonably priced. An excellent establishment and well worth the trip.
*Originally both sandwiches were requested on brown baguettes. However, they only had one brown bread baguette left. In the interests of fairness a decision was made via the trusted method of paper, scissors, stone.
FORLIFE was established in January 1, 1994 by the ceramic designer and entrepreneur, Masa Fujii, in Los Angeles California. A design philosophy of FORLIFE is simplicity with function. FORLIFE believe products must have good meaning and good use for our everyday living. A design task at FORLIFE is to create something that will last for a long time, and something that will stay beautiful and fresh for a lifetime.
The stump teapot is certainly the perfect example of this. Fully fitted with a tea infuser for loose-leaf teas, whole-leaf teas or tea bags, its clean design and colour range is my ideal teapot. I particularly like the turquoise that reminds of the Bianchi Celeste colour way.
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.
Wellfield Road on a Saturday is a hurried affair. The narrow pavements saturated by people are aligned with a myriad of cafes, bars, clothing shops and of course a Tesco extra. From across the road, through the rolling queue of traffic the Sandwich Story looks an inviting place to take a lunch break.
The Sandwich Story? A question we were about to ask upon arrival, until a glance at the menu board hanging over the polite staff waiting to serve us gazed my eye. Ordering your sandwich consists of three chapters. One, the bread, two, the filling and three the salad garnishes. The menu choice of sandwiches, Panini’s and sweet selection is fairly standard, but they did offer a Tea for two that added a quaint style that the interior design seemed to be aiming for.
After ordering a spicy chicken sandwich and a pork, stuffing and apple sandwich we sat down at one of a few tables they have inside. Presented on porcelain plates with the sandwiches cut into triangular halves they came garnished with a few crisps. Unfortunately the crisps were bacon flavour and to my personal taste this is one flavour I can not stand. It reminds me of my duke of Edinburgh expedition hike from my school days in which I consumed bacon flavour instant noodles for four days straight. Vomit inducing sigh and drama over, crisps consumed by a fellow sandwich club member. I tuck into the pork, stuffing and apple on wholemeal bread free of any bacon smells and instantly taste the sharpness of the apple sauce. The components of this sandwich are a classic but the scarce amount of stuffing did leave me slightly disappointed. Well presented and well received but not a stellar performance from an establishment I am sure will keep improving with every visit.