Tag Archives: independent business cardiff

Cardiff, Treat yourself – to some great local independent food and drink!


Did everyone else’s dry January last approximately 1.5 days? Asking for a friend. Anyway, I realise it’s a bit late for the old Blwyddyn Newydd Dda but coronavirus rules means you can wish anyone anything anytime you like (so happy Halloween and Yalda greetings, friends!). So happy new year from us here at We Are Cardiff.

This isn’t really a post about new year though, it’s a post about drinking beer. Or wine. Or anything you like. With or without alcohol. And also eating, because eating is great. Basically this is a post reminding all of you that even though we’re locked down, many MANY amazing Welsh indies are still making and baking and roasting and basting and selling, so if you’re shopping online (let’s face it, what else is there to do these days?) then why not fill your food basket with stuff that supports some local businesses?

Hungry / thirsty yet? LET’S GO.


Let’s stop d*cking around. You want Michelin guide level fine dining but obviously there’s go getting you to the restaurant at the moment. So sweep the cat hair off the dining table and put on a bra, ‘cos we’ve got some options for you. And they’re fancy as f*ck. (Sorry if you’re here for the full swears, we have a NYRes to try and control our potty mouth).


HEANEY’S have put together a Dine at Home box which brings top quality small plates into your home and feeds two people. But be quick – the boxes are limited and so far have been selling out early in the week! They’re still doing their Sunday dinners as well, btw, as well as the sourdough and Marmite butter …. (Dine at Home £85 feeds two people).

Order from Heaney’s website / check out Heaney’s on Twitter.


PURPLE POPPADOM are also doing takeaway set menus – they’ve got a winter set menu (vegetarian and meat options available) that feeds two people – and who wouldn’t want chef Anand George curating that special curry night for them?? They’ve also got an extended a la carte takeaway menu as well. (Winter set menu £27.95 for two people).

Order from Purple Poppdadom website / check out Purple Poppadom on Twitter.


PASTURE are offering Pasture Experience Boxes for the meat lovers (veggies and vegans avert your eyes). And it’s meat tastic. I mean, it’s literally a box full of delicious meat. More meat than I’ve ever seen in a single box. The boxes arrive in time for you to carry out a ‘Pasture cookalong’ with chef and owner Sam Elliott, who will be showing you how to cook your slabs of beef (and all the rest) through a live Instagram event. There are plans for Sunday Roast Cook-alongs and a Porterhouse Box. (Porterhouse Box £95 for two people).

Order from the Pasture website / follow Pasture via Ruby and White on Instagram.


THE CRISPY COD – while you might not have considered a seafood extravaganza as a viable option during lockdown, the Crispy Cod are here to serve you Rock & Scallop platters which look the absolute business. Also HELLO Kinder Bueno dessert from The Cheesecake Guy, get in my mouth please. (Welsh seafood platter £80 for two to three people).

To order the Rock & Scallop platter text them on 07870600481 / to order the takeaway fish & chips menu go to the The Crispy Cod website / follow The Crispy Cod on Twitter.


THE HUMBLE ONION – this indie bistro in Dinas Powys is also offering Sunday lunches and three course Humble at Home boxes. (Three course boxes are £30 pp).

To order visit The Humble Onion website / follow The Humble Onion on Twitter.



KERALAN KARAVAN have literally fuelled us throughout the pandemic. Big thanks to Krish in the kitchen for those magic cooking hands. AND they’ve just started their Heat 2 Eat curry club, where you get fresh curries AND BEER brought to your doorstep! I honestly don’t think I could have made it through without that tasty swag in my belly. My favs from KK are their vegan burger and sexy fries. DAMN. The Keralan Karavan Heat 2 Eat curry club needs to be preordered so get yours in now / follow Keralan Karavan on Twitter.


FRANKS – everyone’s favourite hot dawg – have put together home kits as a special treat. There are veggies options alongside their meaty deals, plus cheese and bacon add-ons and some sweet merch. Order from the Franks website / follow Franks on Instagram.


MILKWOOD – somewhere in between super fancy dining and delicious lunch and dinner options is where Milkwood have placed themselves, and it’s pitch perfect. We’re big fans of the takeaway pizza menu (hello gorgonzola get yourself in my mouth), plus they do beers, wines and ciders and lovely sandwiches as well. Order and book a collection slot on the Milkwood website / follow Milkwood on Twitter.



POP’N’HOPS have their online shop’n’hops (sorry) open for business, with free delivery for orders over £50, or you can pop’n’lock (seriously stop it now) in there for collection during specific times in the week. Pop’n’Hops specialise in those unusual beers you just can’t get from other places – we are big fans of their massive selection of milk stouts (they’ve even got an alcohol free one!) and all the lovely pale ales. Plus cider. Mmm. Order from the Pop’n’Hops website.


Though you’ll know them for coffee, LITTLE MAN have expanded their delivery catalogue to include all sorts of things for doorstep delivery, three times a week! Our orders from them usually include Oatly Barista oat milk, Who Gives a Crap! toilet paper, blue roll (we make a right mess here in this house) and Freddos. YES FREDDOS YOU HEARD. They also sell WINE which is not a drink I know much about, but check out their selection via Chilled and Tanin. On the way in or on the way out – whichever orifice needs attention, Little Man have got you covered. Choose your own adventure from the Little Man linktree / follow Little Man on Instagram.


VINVANCAERDYDD – an independent, bilingual, online wine delivery service based in Cardiff! Get your booze from them by ordering from the VinVan website / following VinVanCaerdydd on Twitter.


PETTIGREW BAKERIES are still STILL nearly a year own baking their way through the pandemic. They’ve been open throughout providing tasty baked goods and kitchen essentials. You can book a slot for collection OR they will deliver some of their patisserie items, if you have some friends who need cheering up with gluten (seriously their brownies should be offered as mood improvers). Have a look at the options on offer from the Pettigrew Linktree / follow Pettigrew Bakeries on Twitter.


HARD LINES – Hard Lines Coffee are trying to twist my melon by offering so much variety of good things I don’t know what category to stick them in. Their Canton store is open for pick up (although check opening times and days – at the moment they’re closed on Mondays and Tuesdays). In store you can buy coffees, pastries (and burritos on the weekends!) and peruse a massive selection of organic wines and ciders, plus a whole bunch of different kitchen essentials. Their website also offers coffee club subscriptions (great gift ideas) plus ALL THE COFFEE for mail order. If this floats your boat then please enjoy the below image of Mary Berry holding a packet of Hard Lines Coffee. Order from Hard Lines website.


PENYLAN PANTRY have recently reopened for takeaway! They’ve also got kitchen larder essentials (oils, salts, pasta, rice, pulses, tinned tomatoes, eggs, butter, coffee etc), as well as freshly baked bread, homemade soup bottles, homemade cakes, organic veg stand, salad boxes and organic Welsh milk. Big up Mel and the crew. Penylan Pantry website / Penylan Pantry Instagram.


WILD THING are open for pre-ordered takeaways from Thursday to Sunday (go visit their hatch in Cathays Community Centre!). Excitingly, they are also running a Community Fridge! If you’re struggling and in need of food, the community fridge is open EVERY DAY between 9AM-4PM, 36 Cathays Terrace (the fridge is also looking for volunteers, so if you’ve got some time to spare please contact Wild Thing!). They are one of our best social businesses – please do what you can to support them. Pre-order takeaways from the Wild Thing website / follow Wild Thing on Twitter.


OASIS SUPPER CLUB – Yes, Oasis are the refugee centre in Splott, but did you know they also run a pre-order supper club? The supper club is relaunching in February 2021 so keep an eye on the Oasis Facebook for info on that – in the meantime, you can order Eritrean Coffee or Iranian Tea from the online Oasis shop. Follow Oasis on Facebook.


ORDERING A TAKEAWAY? USE A CARDIFF-BASED DELIVERY SERVICE! Yes it exists, and it’s called Indie Eats! It’s a co-op affair which means your local eateries get a better deal from it. Also if you use it, you’ll probably discover some great new places to eat! Visit the Indie Eats website or Indie Eats on Twitter and support that little guy.


YES, you can still find Cardiff Markets still open! You’ll find all manner of producers at these markets, including Ty Caws, The ParsnipShip, Handlebar Barista, Paul’s Organic Veg, Riverside Sourdough, and more! Details below:

PONTCANNA MARKET: Every weekend, Sat 10am – 1:30pm / Sun 10am – 3pm, Kings Road Yard.

RHIWBINA FARMERS’ MARKET: Every Friday 10am – 1pm, Butcher’s  Arms, Heol y Felin

ROATH FARMERS’ MARKET: Every Saturday 9.30am – 1pm, Mackintosh Sports Club, Keppoch Street, CF24 3JW

RIVERSIDE FARMERS’ MARKET: Riverside Farmers’ Market Every Sunday 10am – 1:30pm, Fitzhamon Embankment, opposite. Principality Stadium, City Centre.


Okay, well I’m now too hungry to carry on. Hopefully some of these have inspired you to add some indie treats into your weekly shop. Because YOU’RE WORTH IT.

If you see anyone we’ve missed out, please add them in the comments!



Support Cardiff’s independent businesses – open for deliveries and takeaway during COVID-19 coronavirus lockdown



We love independent businesses here at We Are Cardiff. They make up the soul of the city.  At the moment loads of these businesses are super vulnerable, so below is a list of ways you can support some of the city’s indies!

This page will be updated regularly and things are changing every minute (!) so please comment on this post if you think something needs to be added or removed.


The tech whiz that is Matthew Passmore has made a SEARCHABLE LIST OF CARDIFF SHOPS DOING DELIVERIES! Check out Cardiff Delivers

First up: we asked Twitter: How can we support local businesses? Full thread here

Outside of Cardiff, FIND MY DINE have this great list of eateries doing takeaway / delivery / gift vouchers across Wales

Also Hungry City Hippy has put together this list of how to shop local during the Coronavirus Crisis


I’ve done this list by location just to make it easier for you to see who’s local to you. Some businesses are delivering across the city, some only within a small radius, some are streaming services online. Please check with the businesses for full deets.


Multiple locations / delivery only


Beanfreaks – organic / health food shop, store locations are city centre (St Mary Street) / Canton / Roath. Check for opening hours. Call 029 2025 1071 or Beanfreaks Facebook

Bruton’s Bakery – this AMAZING local bakery delivered free goodies up to the Heath hospital this week for the staff there. SHOP LOCAL AND SUPPORT THEM. Shops in Grangetown / Fairwater / Canton / Splott / Penarth. They have a website but are more active on Facebook: Bruton’s website | Bruton’s Facebook

Cardiff Quarantine Delivery – person on bike offering pick up and delivery of whatever you need –  for those who can’t get out and about! Cardiff Quarantine Delivery Facebook

Curado Bar – if you simply must get that bottle of dessert wine and mojama to try and get through the week, Curado got your back! The shop is doing deliveries across the city, see their Facebook for full list of items. Curado Bar Facebook | Curado Bar Twitter

Daisy & Belle Ice Cream – dairy and vegan ice cream deliveries across Cardiff. Daisy and Belle website | Daisy and Belle Instagram

Dusty Knuckle Pizza – delicious pizzas available for delivery! You can find them through Uber Eats and Deliveroo. Dusty Knuckle Twitter

Greazy Vegan – offering deliveries across the city through Uber Eats, every day! Greazy Vegan website | Greazy Vegan Twitter

Hard Lines Coffee – how you gonna get through the lockdown without dat caffeine zing?? Support this Cardiff indie through their online shop. Deliveries across Cardiff. Hard Lines website | Hard Lines Twitter

Holy Yolks – AMAZING HOLY YOLKS are doing Scotch Eggs AND ALSO co-ordinating food deliveries up to the Heath hospital for health care workers! PLEASE BUY THEIR EGGS AND DONATE TO THE NHS FUNDRAISER. Holy Yolks Twitter | NHS FUNDRAISER

Keralan Karavan – our FAVOURITE INDIAN TAKEAWAY! Their burgers and fries are out of this world. Support them and stuff your face. Keralan Karavan Twitter

Little Man Coffee – our favourite coffee house are doing specialty milk and coffee deliveries across the city! They’ve got a ton of stuff they can deliver, check out their Instagram for the full list. Little Man Coffee Instagram | Little Man Coffee Facebook | Little Man Coffee Twitter

The Med Shed – family run kitchen offering an authentic taste of the Med! Deliveries can be booked on weekends, menu changes weekly. Email The Med Shed | The Med Shed Facebook | The Med Shed Twitter

Naked Vegan – baked goods (the brownies – oh my!) – doing deliveries across Cardiff. Email for more info: sarah@thenakedvegan.co.uk. Naked Vegan website

Pop’n’Hops – BEERS! WONDERFUL BEERS! Help keep yourself nicely tippled and these dudes in business. They offer delivery across Cardiff, with a wide selection of ales / craft beers etc from all over the place. Pop’n’Hops Twitter

The Parsnipship – you usually see these dudes feeding the masses at festivals or at markets – now they are delivering their frozen delights across south Wales. Lucky us! Parsnipship websiteParsnipship Twitter

Riverside Markets – Rhiwbina, Roath and Riverside are reopening! Re-opening info as follows:

  • Rhiwbina – Friday June 12th 10am – 1pm
  • Roath: Sat June 13th 9:30am – 1pm
  • Riverside: Sun June 21st 10am – 2pm

Riverside Markets have updated their website with info about social distancing and other hygiene steps – please visit to find out more before visiting any of the location. Riverside Markets website | Riverside Markets Twitter | Riverside Markets Facebook | Riverside Markets Instagram

Totally Welsh – GET YOURSELF A MILK DELIVERY LIKE FROM BACK IN THE 80S! They also do juices, eggs, cheese, bread and other essentials. Direct to the doorstep, plus the bottles can go back to be cleaned and refilled. Totally Welsh website

Ty Caws – Formerly the Cheese Pantry in Cardiff Indoor Market, now delivering delicious cheese direct to your door across the city! Ty Caws Twitter | Ty Caws Instagram

Quantum Coffee – based in Cardiff Bay, they are still roasting, and doing deliveries across Cardiff AND THERE IS 20% OFF EVERYTHING ONLINE!  Quantum Coffee Twitter | Quantum Coffee Instagram | Quantum Coffee website

City centre

Cardiff Indoor Market – the indoor market has the following stalls are offering home deliveries:

K. Blackmore & Son Butchers – (Cardiff Indoor Market). if your supermarket has run out of meat, luckily for you these guys are rolling in steaks. K. Blackmore & Son Butchers Facebook page

Sullivans Fruit and Veg – (Cardiff Indoor Market) now doing fruit and veg box deliveries across Cardiff, Penarth, Barry, Sully, Dinas Powys. Call them on 0771012816 or for veg box orders visit their website. Sullivans Fruit and Veg website | Sullivans Fruit and Veg on Twitter | Sullivans Fruit and Veg Instagram

Brodie’s Coffee – you can find Brodie’s in the lovely little wooden hut in Gorsedd Gardens (in front of the museum). They’ve just reopened! Go pay them a visit and pick up a tasty treat for yourself. Brodie’s Coffee Twitter

La Pantera – margaritas, mezcal, tacos – all open for takeaway! La Pantera website | La Pantera Instagram | La Pantera Facebook

Chronic Fried Chicken – order in advance for tasty fried chicken – pick up or delivery within 1.5 miles of Sully’s Cafe.  Chronic Fried Chicken Facebook | Chronic Fried Chicken Instagram

Butetown / Cardiff Bay

Spokesperson – (Williams Way) bicycle upkeep and repair, offering online classes in how to maintain your bike and also emergency repairs. Spokesperson Facebook

Canton / Pontcanna

Cardiff Salad Garden – (Bute Park) growing delicious salad leaves and delivering them to your door, if you’re local (Pontcanna, Llandaff North and Taffs Well areas). Contact them 07715388771 or cardiffsalad@gmail.com. Cardiff Salad Garden Twitter

Crafty Devil Brewing – (Llandaff Road) beer! beer! beer! Collection from Canton or delivery. Crafty Devil Brewing website | Crafty Devil Brewing Facebook | Crafty Devil Brewing Twitter | Crafty Devil Brewing Instagram

Chapter Arts Centre – although the Centre is closed, there are still some businesses operating inside (like our buddies The Printhaus) – see this Chapter Tweet for more info

Kemi’s – (King’s Road) DELICIOUS food in Pontcanna still open for takeaway and deliveries! Peep the menu and order now! Kemi’s website | Kemi’s Facebook | Kemi’s Twitter | Kemi’s Instagram

Laura’s Greengrocers – (Cowbridge Road East) delicious fresh produce, doing veg box deliveries – call 029 2022 8796. Laura’s Greengrocers website

Lufkin Coffee – serving coffee at two locations in Canton / Pontcanna. Lufkin Coffee Instagram | Lufkin Coffee website

Pettigrew Bakeries – (Cowbridge Road East) delicious baked goods! Shop open for contactless pick up, and they can organise deliveries. Breads, snacks, fruit, veg, CHEESE! Call them between 7-11am on 02921 321270 or 07897 995409, minimum order £10. Pettigrew website | Pettigrew Twitter | Pettigrew Instagram

Pipes – (Kings Road) local brewery offering pick up over the weekend or delivery! Pipes website | Pipes Twitter | Pipes Facebook

St Canna’s Ale House – (Llandaff Road) open for takeaway and deliveries! Text 07890106449 with your order. St Canna’s Ale House Twitter


Katiwok – (Crwys Road) delicious Asian cuisine doing contactless deliveries and takeaways. They’ve got a £6 meal deal for all key workers. Katiwok website | Katiwok Facebook

Riverside Sourdough – (Cathays Youth & Community Centre) I once bought a loaf of their bread and ate the whole thing still warm in the car before I got home. Didn’t share with anyone. No regrets. These dudes are supplying local stores but also doing a pre-order local pick up Tuesday and Saturdays from Cathays. Riverside Sourdough Facebook


Caffé Fragolino – (Waungron Road) Selling eggs, pasta and other essentials alongside takeaway food from the cafe. Caffé Fragolino Facebook


Countisbury Fruit Supply – (Countisbury Ave) fresh supply of veg, fruit and bread available daily and the WONDERFUL man that runs the stall is offering free deliveries for those in need who live local and can’t get out. Please give this man all your monies and call on 02920791101 (there’s an answering machine, please leave a message, 24/7).


Albany Road Fruit and Veg stand – (Albany Road) this is open, plus owner Sam is a legend! go by and pay him and visit and pick up some lovely produce.

Eartha – (City Road) Eartha has now taken over the entire of the Blue Honey Local site (I still think of it as Milgi, because I am OLD) – head here for plant shop, café and restaurant focusing on working with local producers, growers and enterprises. Eartha Facebook | Eartha Instagram

Ripple – ethical lifestyle and zero waste – a great place to pick up food and other bits!  Ripple Twitter / Ripple website

Spice of Life – (Inverness Place) health food store selling dried foods, organic cleaning products etc etc. They’re doing contactless Click and Collect. Spice of Life website | Spice of Life Facebook 

Waterloo Tea – (Waterloo Gardens) the best tea in the UK! Still doing home deliveries and also co-ordinating a wonderful fundraiser for a temporary pop-up cafe serving free meals and coffee at the Heath hospital. Show them some love. Waterloo Tea new volunteer cafe fundraiser | Waterloo Tea website | Waterloo Tea Facebook


Twin Made – (Odan Nos da) these crafty devils are selling hand made goods online, as well as releasing free crafting patterns for you to do at home, plus vouchers for future sewing / crafting classes. Twin Made website | Twin Made Facebook | Twin Made Twitter | Twin Made Instagram


One Mile Bakery – delicious baked goods, delivering to addresses within a one mile radius. One Mile Bakery website | One Mile Bakery Twitter | One Mile Bakery Instagram | One Mile Bakery Facebook


Thornhill Farm Shop – (Capel Gwilym Road) these dudes have fresh local honey! As well as jams, marmalades, chutneys, pickles, fresh meats, fruit and veg. They’re open for collection or delivery. Call 029 2061 1707 or visit Thornhill Farm Shop Facebook.

Slightly further afield…


AB Snell and Son – groceries, newspapers, all your bits and pieces – reduced opening hours but also offering local deliveries of some products. AB Snell and Son website | AB Snell and Son Facebook

Griffin Books – independent bookshop are still taking orders online and doing deliveries. Griffin Books Twitter | Griffin Books website

Pizza Pronto – local pizza pop up, still open on reduced hours (check the site for details). Pizza Pronto website | Pizza Pronto Twitter | Pizza Pronto Instagram


Online services

Blackdog – wellbeing services, offering therapy and wellbeing services online through Zoom. Blackdog website

Lucent Dreaming – local creative mag, offering pay-what-you-can reading and entry fees to creative writing competitions. Lucent Dreaming website | Lucent Dreaming Twitter

Green Squirrel – greener living social enterprise are running online workshops, craft-alongs and storytelling in lieu of  public workshops. Also delivering seed sowing kits and other treats! People can still book onto workshops to transfer onto a future date or buy a gift voucher to support. Green Squirrel website | Green Squirrel Facebook


That’s all for now. Peas. WAC x

See also:


Letters from Cardiff in lockdown: David, Pettigrew Bakeries

Today’s instalment for the Letters from Cardiff in lockdown series comes from David Le Masurier of Pettigrew Bakeries. Please follow and support them as they keep you fed and in bread! We’re looking for your stories, so please contribute to Letters from Cardiff in lockdown

So we’ve been doing home deliveries for a while now.

We’ve had a lot of people ordering care packages, birthday gifts as well as essentials for themselves.

Last week, as we were finalising the daily orders for delivery, we spotted two identical addresses just the letter of the flat being different on each order. They were both for the same day and same building, but two different orders placed by two different people for two different addressees. To add to the coincidence they were both surprise birthday gifts, one for flat A and one for flat B.

When we got to the building to deliver there was only one buzzer, upon pressing it a voice answered and explained that both flat A and B share the same buzzer (weird) so who did we want for delivery? We explained, ‘well both of you!’

A few minutes later two strangers who live next door and share a door buzzer were both given birthday gift packages from Pettigrew Bakeries from their two friends, who also don’t know each other!

We all smiled, laughed a bit and they went back into their building wishing each other happy birthday and getting to know each other (at a safe distance).

A beautiful, random, brilliant little coincidence in this grim situation.

David (Pettigrew Bakeries)

Pettigrew Bakeries is the sister to Pettigrew Tearooms. An independent artisan bakery, baking real bread (really, really tasty bread!). They also stock a number of products from other Cardiff independent producers. Please PLEASE visit their website, order tasty treats from them, go visit their store in Victoria Park. Support our amazing local independents!

Follow Pettigrew Bakeries in the following places:

Want to write for Letters from Cardiff in lockdown? Find out how here…

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Letters from Cardiff in lockdown: Claire Ait-Hammi, The Med Shed

Today’s instalment for the Letters from Cardiff in lockdown series comes from Claire Ait-Hammi of The Med Shed. We’re looking for your stories, so please contribute to Letters from Cardiff in lockdown

One thing I am absolutely loving at the moment is getting to know our local community a lot more. Usually I am dashing to work/from work/running after the kids/working at weekends, so I am really loving being able to take leisurely walks in our local area of Penylan.

So here’s my summary of my life so far in lockdown – as a mum to Zach (nine) and Sophia (seven), wife (to Nabil), full-time employee and co-owner of a small food business.

Even though it seems we were following the spread of COVID-19 for ages, and lockdown was inevitable, it still came on a bit sudden. One minute I was in the office, Nabil was at work, the kids at school. Next minute routine was completely out the window as I enjoyed a delicious amount of free time with Nabil and the kids but was the only one who had to get up the next day to work.

Anyway after a few weeks I started to get into the rhythm of things a little bit. Nabil and I were tinkering with various projects in the house, starting painting and tidying jobs that were well overdue.

Zach and Sophia were enjoying (and still very much are), the freedom of childhood not currently bound by strict timetabling and ferrying from one extracurricular activity to the other.

Unfortunately we are not the type of people happy to tinker in the house for very long. Despite working full-time, our weekends are usually busy with events for our street food business – The Med Shed.  At first I was enjoying the freedom of evenings and weekends at home, but we quickly became bored.

We started to see fellow food businesses branch out into other ventures – including offering meals to NHS workers and offering a takeaway service.

We approached a charity based in West Wales – FeedtheNHSWales and began supplying meals to our hardworking NHS staff in Cardiff and Llandough. It can be tough coming up with suitable meals – considering reheating, presentation and flavour – but we’ve had some great feedback so far.

It certainly presented a new and exciting challenge doing bulk catering from a domestic registered premises!  Meals that we have provided so far include:

  • Poulet Roti with Pommes Lyonnaise
  • Algerian Meatballs & Couscous
  • Tchakchouka & Couscous
  • Chicken Shawarma Wraps
  • Falafel Wraps
  • Butternut Squash & Goat’s Cheese Lasagne
  • Goats Cheese & Caramelised Onion Tartlet.

Nabil is Algerian, so our street food is usually heavily influenced by North Africa, but we decided to create a Mediterranean name and theme to enable us to offer dishes from all over the Med and experiment with different cuisine.

One week in to providing meals for the NHS we got the fever and started to offer takeaway delivery service to locals on a Saturday. We usually take orders during the week and offer a Saturday night delivery. This is going very well and has certainly been a huge learning curve taking on different aspects to a food business during this time!

We have had great support from various local suppliers in helping to feed the NHS. Huge thanks goes out to The Orchard Butchers (Rumney) and C Snell Potatoes. Their generosity knows no bounds and they offer quality produce.

One thing I am absolutely loving at the moment is getting to know our local community a lot more. Usually I am dashing to work/from work/running after the kids/working at weekends, so I am really loving being able to take leisurely walks in our local area of Penylan.

Being a member of a Facebook group such as the Penylan/Cyncoed/Roath community is lovely, but it doesn’t work as well as personal interaction. We were looking forward to hopefully working with everyone at the Penylan Picnic event this year (organised by Waterloo Gardens Fete).

Last year’s event made a huge difference to our community and it was great to meet so many other locals. Hopefully next year! I’m hoping that when things start to go back to ‘normal’ (not sure I ever knew the meaning of the word!), I don’t forget our family evening walks, bike rides and chats (currently at a distance!) to other locals. As someone who has split their time as a full time employee working from home, tutor and food business owner, I never anticipated the lack of energy I sometimes have for either one thing or the other.

Can I confess something? I had big plans for home educating when all this started. I have all the resources/subscription to Twinkl/years of early education/personal tutoring, but sometimes I really can’t be bothered!

I’m often feeling torn between thinking I could (or is that should?) do more with my children; and thinking hang on! They are happy – and as long as they continue to be happy and can reintegrate when all this is over isn’t that enough? Please tell me I’m not alone in feeling this way!

So in short – I, like so many others, am just doing the best I can during this time. I won’t be taking up another language or learning a new subject (although languages is a huge passion of mine and I’ve always wanted to study forensic linguistics), because I really don’t feel like it at the moment.

However I will try my best to get to know my community of Cardiff better and try to be content with what I achieve on a day to day basis. Who else is with me?!

Follow Claire on Facebook (Claire Ait-Hammi), or check out The Med Shed and order all the goodies from them! Email The Med Shed | The Med Shed Facebook | The Med Shed Twitter | The Med Shed Instagram

Want to write for Letters from Cardiff in lockdown? Find out how here…

See also:


Letters from Cardiff in lockdown: Charlotte Twin Made

Today’s instalment for the Letters from Cardiff in lockdown series comes from Charlotte of the awesome Twin Made. We’re looking for your stories, so please contribute to Letters from Cardiff in lockdown

I keep getting the occasional feeling I caused all this because I really needed a week off – mine was so I could sort my garden out! Well, I got my wish and my garden isn’t looking much different!

In February, at least I think it was February, time is a weird thing right now, Ok, sometime at the beginning of the year my business got flooded, not once but twice! I know, I know, who moves into a basement right next to the Taff.

We were recovering from that, and business was getting back to usual and people started to contact me about the upcoming classes that I host.

The FAQ was: is the class still going ahead? Umm, yes. I started to get worried and made my partner summarise the news to me. Things were getting strange, rumblings of a lockdown like Spain were being whispered about. I started hoping for a clear and specific lockdown of a few weeks. I had loads of shit I could get done and that garden wasn’t sorting itself.

My Birthday was on 19th March, everything we had planned got cancelled. I decided not to go and visit my twin in London. Ed and I wandered into Cardiff City Centre and picked up a lot of wool, some beers and doughnuts. The City felt like a ghost town and the beginning of an episode of Black Mirror.

As the UK Government bumbled its way into a lockdown, my fellow indie businesses were getting in touch as we discussed what to do. I started to cancel the next week of classes and then the next fortnight and then all of April and then reluctantly May’s as I was receiving emails, one by one, cancelling upcoming work, as days passed March dates were cancelled and then April and then before I knew it all the work and workshops I had booked in over the Summer had been cancelled, taking with it my income.

Most people have been amazing and understanding but I had a few demand their deposits refunded, this was heartbreaking as when people pay deposits it all gets used to buy and create kits ready for the workshops and pay things like rent and bills. I offered alternatives but in the end, for my mental health I refunded the few deposits, I was so lucky only a few went this route.

Panic set in. My partner and I are both self employed. He couldn’t carry on Dog Walking and even if he could, most customers didn’t need him as they were now working from home.

I worked through my online shops and took down all physical items. I had a full week of mood swings – manically laughing in the kitchen for no reason, a big old cry in the living room, stopped still in bedroom wondering what the fuckity fuck.

I set up a tip jar on my website, people, friends, family and even strangers were reaching out and offering help. Commissions started coming in, I was so grateful I was regularly bursting into tears. With those came lots and lots of unsolicited business advice – most of which was time consuming, above my skill level or something I already did, I got good at replying: Sure, thanks but they were all energy consuming. I needed to be doing more to help, the feeling of uselessness was setting in. I found the Scrub Hub and got involved in sewing scrubs. I felt useful!

I slowly started to put things back on sale on my website and started creating free downloads: colouring in and craft sheets. I worked on turning my sewing classes into kits – weirdly all stuff on my to-do-list which i just hadn’t got around too. I created guides and hacks. My business was still able to work and I set up a desk on the living room table – the perfect place to keep an eye out from deliveries.

My regular job is teaching people how to sew and make things from my colourful studio in the basement of Nos Da Hostel and Bar. I miss the faces I regularly see and teaching my classes.

My group of friends quickly set up a weekly quiz and soon followed by a family one – I am seeing friends and family far more often and laughing at home hair cuts and living for couples arguing over zoom!

The garden is slowly getting done and I am decorating my window, like a mad lady. Crochet and daily chats with twinny and friends are keeping me sane. I love how easy it is to cycle across Cardiff to deliver orders! We even took a Matisse inspired art class and I am having a go at paper art: Check out WinterCroft Masks and this Paper Prawn by Lisa Lloyd – things I would never have time to do before.

My pals at Green City have been hosting craft clubs which I have loved participating in and will be signing up for more!

Ed has started working for Deliveroo at weekends, a job he likes of elements of, but a gentle reminder: TIP YOUR DELIVER PERSON! They are out there, in a pandemic, delivering you delicious food! He sure misses the dogs and has fully embraced helping out a friend by feeding their guinea pigs!

Each time I say: When things get back to normal, I stop myself as I hope some good changes come out of this! I miss all the beautiful faces and social aspects of my job and I can’t wait to get back to Nos Da for a pint or two, but for now I will keep on keeping on with an occasional cry thrown in.

Stay Safe, Stay Sane, Stay Awesome!

Visit Charlotte and Twin Made – buy her things and keep her in business! Twin Made website | Twin Made instagram | Twin Made Twitter | Twin Made Facebook.

See all the free Twin Made downloads

Charlotte (with the pink hair!) and twin, Kathryn

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Letters from Cardiff in lockdown: Melissa Boothman

Today’s instalment for the Letters from Cardiff in lockdown series comes from Melissa Boothman, owner of Penylan Pantry and the Secret Garden Cafe in Bute Park. We’re looking for your stories, so please contribute to Letters from Cardiff in lockdown

Here is my version of lockdown life, from someone who runs a small independent business in the hospitality industry, and employs 17 people.

Wow, where do I start? So far, this whole experience has been a big washing machine of emotions, mainly on spin, then occasionally clicking on to drain, and sometimes pause, pausing in a big puddle of water, still, very still.

Like many I also felt like we are all living in a fictional novel, a dystopian future.

Week 1 (I think). “It’s okay, we’ve got this, together we will be okay”. In this first week, none of us really knew what we were about to fall into. Seeing the news, and how Italy was being struck down with fatality after fatality, we knew it was going to be serious. However, there is this sense of, ‘it’s not happening to us, we won’t get it that bad’ or will we? The unknown set in…….

Within the two businesses, we adapted and put lots of little changes in place. I held a meeting, to put my team’s minds at rest: ‘Your jobs are safe, I will make sure of it’.

I knew we were about to embark on something that none of us had experienced, but I told myself ‘Mel, you’ve got this, you are good with the big stuff, you are good at change and thinking on your feet, it will be okay’.

The team were amazing and took on all these new changes, turning up every day with a smile on their faces, which really helped.

Our local community, our regulars, our customers, came out and showed their support. It was super humbling, grounding and gave me reassurance.

Change was in the air.

Week 2/3 (it’s all becoming blurry). Shit, what is happening?…..okay, stay calm, react, be proactive, adapt, SURVIVE.

I didn’t really stop to think much in this, the second week, my priorities and concerns were of my staff. ‘OK, I need to keep 17 people in a job, and the two businesses alive.’ In the back of my mind, I’m asking myself ‘what’s going to happen to my little businesses?’ Fears of lockdown are looming, thick in the air, a day feels like a week. We are all in fight or flight mode.

I spent the week hastily listening to the news, to a government that were giving vague advice, that were reacting, not being proactive, and with all this vagueness, the week was a flurry of confusion, for us all. I could see it in our customers, in the ambience, the mood, no one knew what to do, how to properly behave, or what was the right and correct thing to do.

This was the week that no support, or clear guidance came from our leaders, which left many of us scared. This was my week of firefighting.

Amongst these emotions, the anxiety, the adapting, the mind whirling with ideas of survival, kindness prevails.

People were opening up, showing vulnerability, coming together, supporting each other, being KIND.

Within both the Pantry and the Secret Garden Cafe we really noticed how everyone had slowed down, how people were calmer, and more patient, the support for independents was amazing to see.

Friday 20th March, our Government finally announces support for workers, promising to keep everyone in a job, and covering wages. This was such a relief, and half the weight of worry off my shoulders (the other half, the future of my businesses still present). However, the government didn’t release any terms of this payout until the following Tuesday. I was checking the government website multiple times a day, waiting for the terms, checking that myself and my team were eligible.

Week 3/4 (Probably, I’ve stopped counting the weeks, it’s purely day by day).

This is the week that I closed both my businesses. I knew it was the right decision, and I knew it was the best thing for me, my team and the safety of our community, but damn it was hard, harder than I’d anticipated, for I did not at any point, in the years I’ve been running my businesses, expect to be closing them through no choice of my own.

They don’t tell you to plan for the world wide spread of a deadly virus when writing your business plan.

I went into the Pantry, and placed a sign in the window, I sat, had a little cry (it was very emotional, which took me by surprise), and locked the door.

That same day, Boris announced lockdown, something we’d all been expecting, and tentatively waiting for.

The next day, we closed down both sites; turning off fridges, cleaning, sorting out perishable stock and talking about the current situation. I had to call all our utility providers, some acted with empathy, and others business as normal – money/profit over people, even during an international pandemic. I sent emails to landlords notifying them of our closure, updates to customers and contacting our suppliers.

A huge outpouring of love came our way via messages, calls, emails, and comments on social media. Thank you, thank you, it really lifted me, I felt and still feel grateful for the community around me, for the people who love and support my businesses, for what the Pantry means to some people.

The weeks that followed… I felt like the rug had been pulled from under my feet, lost, not knowing what to do, and confused. Stay at home they said, but really, there’s a pandemic outside my doors, with people suffering, and I’m supposed to sit at home (this was my internal battle). I felt helpless. I knew I had to stay at home, but my instinct was telling me to get out and help.

I couldn’t stop thinking of all the suffering some people would endure during lockdown, of how COVID-19 had highlighted the huge inequalities in our country, and how the most vulnerable would be hit hardest. With all of this on my mind, I hadn’t properly stopped to think about the virus, and how dangerous it was. I started reading the news again, and realised that this virus has no rules, it can kill young people, and in some cases people with no previous health problems; oh shit.

With this urge to help, the need to be busy, concerns about the virus, business ideas and the need for rest …..

What to actually do whilst in lockdown was very confusing, and felt very unsettling. I certainly had no head space for a new early morning yoga routine, learning a new language or crocheting a blanket for my mum.

I was pulling myself back and forth in many directions. Eventually, I decided, that the Pantry needed to be on pause (in my head), I needed some rest (after six years of very few days off), I wanted to volunteer and help where I could, and restore some balance.

I’ve been keeping in touch with the team, via silly photos, little messages and the occasional Zoom meetings (I find video chat awkward). The next chapter of this situation meant I was even able to see some of the team in the kitchens.

This came about because … my two friends, Kas, founder of Waterloo Teahouses, and Kev from Holy Yolks, started separate initiatives to support our local hospitals, by providing delicious homemade food to NHS staff and key workers (Kev from Holy Yolks is running the Help the Heroes campaign and Kas set up  Feed the Heath). They couldn’t do it alone, and needed some support.

A few of the hospital canteens had closed, making it difficult for staff to access good food whilst on shift, so we (myself and my team) felt we could help out by reopening our kitchens a few days a week, cooking them some good meals, and at the same time show our gratitude.

We also do weekly deliveries of much needed supplies to Cardiff Food Bank, made possible by cash donations from some beautiful people.

I’d found a purpose and a way to help amidst this chaotic time. Even though I was keeping busy, it really helped me to relax and feel more settled about the whole thing. I started to ease into activities that weren’t work, that didn’t revolve around only the businesses. Spending time with my other half, taking walks, foraging, identifying wild plants, listening to the birds, and enjoying a calmer pace.

The calmer pace has given me a little clarity to start thinking about the next phase. Financially we have taken a huge hit, but we are safe and we will be one of the fortunate few that reopen. It will be hard, like starting over a brand new business again with zero cash flow, but lots of business won’t be reopening.

On the day we closed, I stood, alone looking out of the Pantry’s windows, when I realised, let’s fill these windows with hope and sunshine, inspired by the rainbows popping up in everyone’s windows.

The only problem with this idea, is… I can’t draw. But I know just the woman, she’s amazing, kind and very talented; Suzanne Carpenter, one half of @patternistas. I randomly, with no notice, dropped the Pantry keys through her letterbox, gave her the alarm code and planted the seed.

Suzanne asked me if I’d like a message in the window, yes, yes I would, what a great idea, can it be this – What Kind of World would you like to emerge after this crisis is over?

Suzanne did the most amazing job, it’s beautiful.

This is a question that’s been on my mind since it all started.

Positives (there’s no guilt in saying there are some), for me are: I love how little traffic there has been on the roads, resulting in a calmer less rushed atmosphere, better air quality, and less noise pollution. I’ve loved how it’s introduced a simpler way of life, how it’s slowed me down, and how I’ve enjoyed walks, listening to the birds, my garden, cooking at home, regular exercise, regular meals, better sleep, how I’ve reconnected with plants, and my local surroundings. The joy of simple pleasures. I love how Mother Nature has been able to take a big deep breath of clean air, and how we have all had to STOP.

I really hope we can carry some of these new routines into the future. I hope kindness wins, and governments start putting people before money.

I hope we start to live a compatible life side-by-side with nature, and I look forward to reopening the doors to my business with my own lessons learnt.

Love and Peace.

Melissa Boothman is owner of Penylan Pantry & The Secret Garden Cafe. Visit the Penylan Pantry website / Twitter @PenylanPantry / Twitter @secretgardencf.

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Just 10 days left to vote for your favourite Cardiff arcade business!

Over the past couple of weeks, the City of Arcades campaign has been encouraging people across Cardiff to VOTE FOR THEIR FAVOURITE INDEPENDENT BUSINESS in any one of our wonderful arcades. THERE ARE ONLY 10 DAYS LEFT TO VOTE PEOPLE, THIS IS NOT A DRILL!


Go to the City of Arcades website and click through to the arcade where your favourite shop is (you may need to explore the site first to work out which is which).

We voted for Spillers Records! Which you can find in the Morgan Arcade section, bbz. Although we’re not telling you how to vote, obvs.

When you find your store listed, CLICK THE HEART ICON (circled below). You can’t vote from the store’s actual information page (as they don’t all have them) – you can only vote in this list view.

The top 10 stores will be featured in an ad campaign in Cardiff, Bristol, and Bath, so it’s some great exposure for our lovely local independent businesses! ALSO anyone who votes will be entered into a draw to win a £100 FOR Cardiff Gift Card.

Voting is open until midnight on 22 July 2018. VOTE FOR YOUR FAVOURITE ARCADE BUSINESS and help them get a spot in the City of Arcades Top 10! Go to thecityofarcades.com, follow the steps above, and KABOOM.

Once you’ve voted (or maybe before), do spend some time exploring the City of Arcades website. There are some lovely video interviews with different businesses –  this is the Spillers Records interview with Ashley …

Also we love this interview with Matthew Pritchard, owner of Sleep When You’re Dead in the High Street Arcade

Aaaaand this with lovely Kas from Waterloo Tea in the Wyndham Arcade

As Adrian Field, Executive Director of FOR Cardiff, says: “If you frequently visit a café or buy gifts from a certain shop, make sure you get behind the business to help them get on the top 10 list. Looking at the current top 20, it’s all still to play for!”

Dyfed Bowen, General Manager of Rules of Play in Castle Arcade, says: “The support we’ve received since the campaign launched has been incredible. It makes us feel special to see that hundreds of people have voted for us so far, especially when you look at all the other well-known shops in the arcades such as Barkers Coffee and Science Cream.”

Aw. All the feels.

To make sure your favourite independent gets the recognition it deserves in the campaign later this year, MAKE SURE YOU VOTE!

There’s more about the City of Arcades on the socials …

Cardiff’s arcades form such an important part of the city centre’s identity. If you’re interested in learning more, see our other posts:

More about the City of Arcades

The campaign is being run by For Cardiff, an organisation that represents businesses in Cardiff’s city centre (known as the business improvement district, or BID). A BID is an arrangement where central businesses can make decisions about the improvements they want to make in their city centre, and have a say in the amount they think should be spent on these improvements. BIDs are usually run by not for profit companies,  controlled by the businesses that fund them. This post is kindly sponsored by the City of Arcades, helping us keep the social purpose at the heart of We Are Cardiff.


Attention cheese lovers! Cheese Pantry to open in Cardiff Indoor Market, Saturday 26 November

Holy cheeseboard Batman … Penylan Pantry – the award-winning Cardiff delicatessen will be opening a sister location in Cardiff Indoor Market this Saturday. The Cheese Pantry is an exciting new specialist cheese stall in Cardiff Central Market, and I can’t wait to eat my entire daily calorie allowance from it.


The Cheese Pantry will offer the largest selection of exceptional British cheeses in South Wales, a bench for lunchtime cheese board customers and a selection of chutneys, crackers and gifts for sale – this will surely become Cardiff’s go-to spot for lovers of all things cheese.

Melissa Boothman, who along with business partner Jolene runs Cardiff deli/cafe Penylan Pantry, is delighted to be setting up shop in the market.

“We are so proud to be here inside such a beautiful historic building that has been at the heart of the city’s food trade for over 120 years and with such a strong sense of community.”

Penylan Pantry was opened in December 2013 by Mel and Jo, wanting to create a place to showcase all the fantastic produce from Wales and the rest of Britain. Their ethos is all about sustainability: low food miles, supporting local producers and therefore the local economy and aiming to maintain a 95 per cent level of recyclable waste.

Penylan Pantry - one of Elliot's choice spots in Cardiff
Penylan Pantry in Penylan, Cardiff

As a result of their hard work since opening, Penylan Pantry has won a Cardiff Life award for Best Cafe, and been Runner-Up three years in a row in the Observer Food Awards in Wales for Best Ethical Retailer, Best Cheap Eats and Best Independent Retailer.

When asked why she wanted to open a specialist cheese stall in Cardiff, Mel said:

“We are nuts about cheese! The smells, flavours, textures, characteristics, the rich history and varied stories that lie behind each one… did you know there are over 700 cheeses made in Britain?! Each one has its own tale to tell and we’d like to share some of those with you and showcase the absolute best of British cheese.”


Cheese fans Melissa and Jolene are joined by cheese expert Owen, who has 14 years’ experience in the artisan cheese market as a buyer for the catering industry, sourcing the best British cheeses directly from the makers and farmers. If those credentials weren’t enough, he has also been a judge at The World and British Cheese Awards. Sounds like a cheese lover’s dream! Safe to say, Owen is a man who knows his Cornish Yarg from his Dorstone and he’ll be the head cheese monger at Cheese Pantry, imparting his knowledge and expertise to all staff. Unsurprisingly, Owen is also excited about the stall opening:

“We want to give Cardiff the very best cheese counter and this understanding of the cheese we sell will absolutely set us apart from any of the supermarkets. Working with the girls from Penylan Pantry is a perfect match, combining their passion for exceptional food, supporting British producers and their love of great cheese.”

“Their passion for cheese shines through and their know-how will be shared with you when you buy, showing customers how to cut, care for, wrap and present each cheese, including many cheeses which cannot be found anywhere else in Cardiff. What better time to head down to the market and pick up some fantastic cheese and top tips on creating the perfect festive cheese board.”

See you guys at Cardiff Indoor Market on Saturday 26 November for the opening, yeah??

Penylan Pantry website

Penylan Pantry Facebook page