So here on the Canton Food Mile is Fizz’n’Flour, Cardiff’s latest pizza place. It’s another example of the locally dominant style, but there’s a lot to like: besides, this end of Canton was an absolute priority for good Neapolitan pizza.
By which I mean, it’s near the school run.
Fizz’n’Flour started as a lockdown project for collection from home. It did so well, quickly building a loyal following, that they have recently opened this relaxed restaurant Canton.
It’s on Cowbridge Rd East, which Google has as Pontcanna (really? Don’t tell the locals, they’ll have an aneurysm and demand a recount). In one of those lovely little coincidences life throws up, this was until recently the branch of Thomas Cook where the owners booked their first holiday, 20 years ago.
It’s opposite Bangkok Cafe and a Greggs (one of which I could be bothered to review on this blog. Go on, see if you can guess which one…) so you can sit in the window and watch the flora and fauna of Canton pass by. And everyone should try that at least once.
There’s seating up at the bar, and an open raised kitchen at the back, with a reclaimed timber wall stencilled with their logo and a sealed concrete floor. It’s all warmly welcoming and unfussy, with Kelly hosting, Anthony in the kitchen and their older children helping out when it gets busy. Their youngest is here, too, in his Spiderman costume. Twice. A family business. I love that.
It’s certainly child-friendly, with potato wedges and chicken strips among the starters. I take my daughter along on my second visit, and she heads straight for the barbecue chicken topping and a brownie so dense they should call it ‘The Dorries’.
Parts of the menu might offend The Authenticity Police, but while toppings like chicken tikka or ham and pineapple or ranch chicken might not be stalwarts on the streets of Napoli, for people who just like eating nice things without an approval checklist there’s plenty here to make it worth your time.
But don’t underestimate what they are up to here. San Marzano tomatoes and fior de latte are used as standard, like any local specialist worth its sale. There’s an intriguing vegan selection- vegan ‘nduja and chillies, tenderstem broccoli with fennel sausage, shawarma and roasted peppers- and beside the 16 or so listed pizzas there is plenty of scope for you to add extra toppings and sauces.
That open kitchen means the waft from my garlic bread order fills the air and starts the engines nicely. It’s slick with butter, salty and fragrant. It disappears quickly.
My Carne (£10.50) mixed meats pizza (pepperoni, salami, ham, sausage) is similarly good fun, especially those little fennel-flecked nuggets of Sicilian sausage, droop in the centre, the sauce just soupy enough without being making the base claggy.
Second time out I try the Spicy Salami Napoli (£10). You know what comes next, though my Bumper Book of Bad Food Writing warns against laying the ‘adjective + ingredient list’ rigmarole on you. You know the type of thing: ‘This one delivered tangy salami, potent ‘nduja, spiky chilli and blah blah blah’ cut and pasted interchangeably ad nauseum.
So I’ll just tell you that it was a cleverly balanced thing, with subtle honey sweetness lurking among the little depth charges of spice, and that you should order it too and congratulate yourself on your good taste.
They tell me their sourdough starter is drier than usual, so while you get that raised and blistered crust, and its air pockets, it shouldn’t sit heavily on you afterwards. And short of hiring ‘Dr’ Gillian McKeith to carry out any digestive investigations, I report no after-effects, despite consuming a heroic amount of rather satisfying pizza.
Service is lovely and personable and everyone gives every impression of enjoying the simple pleasure of welcoming you and sending you away full and happy. Hospitality, in other words. I very much liked it. It’s friendly, it’s unpretentious, it’s well priced, and they feed you well. It’s another family owned and run independent, grown out of pandemic necessity, delivering on what it promises. Canton’s good right now.
120 Cowbridge Rd East
Cardiff CF11 9DX
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This blog is a very simple thing.
I won’t try to sell you any hand lotion, exercise programmes, coffee syrups or Patagonian nose flutes. You won’t find tips on dating, ‘wellness’ or yoga mats.
I write because I love it (and food, as indicated by my increasing girth). Greed happens to be my Deadly Sin of choice, but at least it is never shy of providing me with subject matter.
A simple thing, then: all you get is me wittering on semi-coherently about places I’ve eaten at; hence a ‘restaurant blog’ rather than a ‘food blog’, although there are a few recipes scattered throughout.
From mezze to Michelin ‘fine dining’ and all points in between.