Canton- as you already know because you’ve been paying attention- is currently the most interesting area to eat out in Cardiff.
The range on The Food Mile (let’s agree not to quibble over the odd few metres here and there) is what sets it apart. Gluten-free and vegan, shawarma to bulgogi, pizze to pierogi, cake to croqueta, : whether it’s freshly-made gelato or car park arancini, a Keralan tasting menu or Taiwanese ‘school run’ chicken, burgers with a distinctly Welsh profile or Rees’ steak pies which have people queueing every morning, the Mile knows what you crave.
All this without is veering off into Pontcanna’s many diversions: there is more good eating in Victoria Park alone than some whole suburbs of Cardiff.
And now we have more, because Maasi’s has just taken over the cafe in St Luke’s Church. You might recognise them from their samosa popups at The Boneyard or Riverside Market, or enjoyed their home delivery service, but now they bring breakfast and lunch, often with a Pakistani influence, in their first proper home.
It’s very much a family business, you feel, which has settled in this little space directly opposite Bloc and Victoria Park. There’s plenty for you if you avoid flesh, with meatless sausages featuring in the cooked breakfast and the filled rolls.
Lamb samosas and the chicken naanwich are rare meaty choices. We’ll come back to those. There’s no shortage of choice for those avoiding flesh, with meatless sausages the default in the fry-up and breakfast rolls.
Rather good they are too: choose two from four fillings, with the sausage and egg ticking the ‘oozy’ and ‘surprisingly porky’ tasting boxes with room to spare. Bagels with chilli flakes and avocado, and fresh chillies and courgette, mean the meat-free options outweigh the carnivorous.
Their warmingly spiced breakfast shakshuka, eggs baked in a thick hearty stew of onions and peppers, aubergines and tomatoes and spinach, is served with a wholewheat paratha. There will be much satisfied mopping of skillets.
Homemade samosas- one each of lamb keema and peas, the other spiced potato- are Maasi’s DNA, the success of which have led them here. Those of you who prefer your samosas lightly blistered, as I do, will be glad they ordered these aromatic little parcels.
That naanwich is a lovely thing, piled pink pickled onion rings and the snap of slaw. There’s tangy chutney dressing medium-spiced chicken on a generously pliant naan, just the thing to wrap around all that good stuff and to mop up the mess you will inevitably (and quite happily) make.
A welcome debut in an already-rich area, then, and a pleasant woman-led haven which feeds you well. Chalk another one up for Canton.
Maasi’s Kitchen, St Luke’s Church, Victoria Park.
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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.