Earlier this month I wrote a post about the exciting re-opening of Trade Street Café, Cardiff, under a joint ownership between Francois Dupois of Pier 64 in Penarth, and Phillip Gibb, owner of Cardiff-based Syrus Energy (click here to read my post about the reopening of Trade Street Café).
I vowed to visit Trade Street Café to see what all the fuss is about, and true to my word, I stopped at the café one morning last week before work.
As the name would suggest Trade Street Café is situated on Cardiff’s Trade Street, at the back of Cardiff Central Station. Somewhat hidden away, turn right as you exit the station car park and continue straight until you see Enterprise Rent-a-Car on the corner. Then, turn left down the side street and you’ll find Trade Street Café.
With a small glass front and a red sign at the top featuring the café logo, Trade Street Café doesn’t look too impressive from outside, but don’t let this put you off. Inside, Trade Street Café is more like a trendy restaurant than the greasy spoon that springs to mind at the mention of the word, ‘cafe’.
With rustic wooden floors and burnt-orange and red, cushioned seating that stretches right down the length of the wall, Trade Street Café feels cosy and warm as soon as you step inside.
The centrepiece of the café is a stunning, black-and-white painting of Trade Street on the far wall, featuring Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium and the S.A. Brains Brewery in the distance. Project Manager, Duncan Culley, who serves us throughout our breakfast, tells me that this was done by an artist from Bristol who travelled to the café and worked on the painting for 15 hours straight, using spray paint and stencils.
Gazing over the menu, I already know what I want to order; I’m here for breakfast, and a hearty one at that. I opt for the full Welsh breakfast (£6.95), including pork sausages, bacon, tomato, beans, mushrooms and an egg.
The sausages are really meaty and the bacon is thick, and not too salty – it’s obvious that both have been sourced from a good butcher. The mushrooms are literally out of this world, and that’s coming from someone who isn’t very keen on them. They have a rich, vibrant taste and I begin to think they could be a special variety. But no, it’s even better than that – when I ask Duncan about them, he informs me they’ve been soaked in red wine and thyme for three hours!
The customer service at Trade Street Café is excellent, too. I am asked how I would prefer to have my egg cooked and whether I would like white or brown bread for my toast, and Duncan pops over several times to check that everything’s okay with our food. For me, it can be the small gestures like this that make all the difference to whether I return to a restaurant to dine again, regardless of how fantastic the food might be.
My guest orders the Eggs Benedict (£5.95). This is a healthier option than a full breakfast, whilst still making for a delicious, filling treat to start the day. My guest was really pleased with her choice and now plans to attempt making it herself at home.
To accompany our breakfast I had a regular Americano (£1.50), and my guest ordered a cup of tea (£1.50), both served with a dainty jug of milk for self-pouring.
Aside breakfast, Trade Street Café also serves lunchtime meals including a variety of sandwiches, wraps and baguettes, salads, light snacks and traditional meals, like spaghetti bolognese (£5.95), chilli con carne (£5.95) and minute steak and chips (£7.95).
After visiting Trade Street Café, I’m really pleased to say that I found it very difficult to fault anything about it. From the food, to the service, to the atmosphere… everything about Trade Street Café has left me wanting more. It’s a shame its opening hours are somewhat limited (7.00am – 3.30pm weekdays) or I’d be in there all the time. But Trade Street Café is well worth heading off the beaten track for and I love the idea of a ‘café’ serving traditional comfort food with a posh twist, in classy surroundings, so I’m sure I’ll find time to put in another appearance, or several…
If you’re looking for somewhere to watch the match or enjoy some food and drink on a rugby day in Cardiff, Trade Street Café is licenced to serve alcohol and will be extending its opening hours for the 2013 Autumn Internationals. A special menu has also been put into place – please visit Trade Street Café’s website at the below address for further details.
Trade Street Café
4 Trade Street