'Wales has always been known for being a great place for sourcing ingredients – meat, seafood and dairy produce, in particular', says Simon Thomas. And he should know: he's been sampling food around the country and working with some of the country's top chefs for his last street food event, Bite!, held in Cardiff's historic Insole Court.
'When you’re producing street food, you have to take the simple approach, making the most of those ingredients. You can’t over elaborate. That's why street food is such a vibrant and important part of the food scene. Over complicated dishes won't work. It's a different kind of challenge.'
When you’re producing street food, you have to take the simple approach, making the most of those ingredients. You can’t over elaborate. That's why street food is such a vibrant and important part of the food scene. Over complicated dishes won't work. It's a different kind of challenge."
This simplification of the pleasures of food and drink has also drawn people to support a host of new independent cafés, restaurants and bars in Cardiff, as well as developing a new-found appreciation of some of the capital’s more established family-run eating places - beyond the usual chain-restaurant fare.
Read on to get some of Simon's recommendations for the inside track on eating out in Cardiff.
A great cup of coffee (or tea)
'City Road is Cardiff’s own World Food Mile and .cn is a Chinese restaurant with a really different menu. Lots of tripe and tongue. It really does serve the most authentic Chinese meals I’ve had this side of Kowloon. Check the .CN Facbook page. Head a little further away from the city centre, and you'll reach Zi's Cafe - another cracking Chinese.'
All the beer in the world?
A nice Sunday lunch?
A bit of a change?
A cheeky drink ...
'Tiny Rebel is probably best known for its beer selection, which is flawless, the envy of any city. They don’t do a bad job at cocktails either, with a good range of whiskey and bourbons. The Dead Canary brought the independent prohibition-style cocktail vibe to the city first, and they're still the best. But top tipple at the minute is Wright's Wine Emporium - the cutest wine bar in Cardiff, part of the Wright's Food Emporium Empire. It's tucked away upstairs in the Castle Arcade - make sure you seek it out.'
A hearty breakfast?
'There are a couple of good spots - Thé Pot on Crwys Road, if you can get a seat in this intimate space. Also Servinis, where they serve proper portions. The Hayes Island Snack Bar is an institution and probably the longest- standing street food option in the city. Lots of life and character passes you by with a decent bacon bap and coffee.'