A couple of Fridays ago I had the misfortune of experiencing 'Black Friday' hysteria in Cardiff. Town was absolutely heaving with bargain hungry shoppers, foaming at the mouth hunting down the best deals and buying all kinds of tat because it was 'Black Friday', what nonsense. So what was supposed to be a delightfully, Christmasy amble around town with a bit of shopping thrown in, turned out to be a nightmare. So thank heavens that we had planned to pop into Wyndham Tea, the latest out post of the Waterloo Tea stable.
Wyndham Tea is named after the arcade it resides in, a fantastic Edwardian arcade that is one of a number of arcades in Cardiff but certainly has a more open and generous feel to it owing to the glass roof above. I had actually popped in once before on a less traumatic shopping day and was so impressed I thought next time we are in the vicinity I would love to try the food here. So that's exactly what we did.
Wyndham tea has such a delightful main 'dining room' with comfy sofas and arm chairs dotted about so as not to lose the tea house feel to the place. The décor is stylish and understated giving the effect of refinement without stuffiness. On this particular day the lunch service was in full flow but the front of house happily accommodated us and supplied a high chair for Baby Clonc and somewhere to stow away the buggy. I believe there is additional seating upstairs but I'm afraid we didn't venture further than our seats. I also believe the kitchen here now provides all the cakes for the other tea rooms also. The lunch menu is packed with lunch time favourites but the mains part of the menu is full of more interesting and exciting options if you choose to be more adventurous. I particularly liked the sound of the kale super food salad. Just reading what was in it made me feel healthier, but today it was going to take more than salad to raise our spirits. Enter Shakshuka (yeah I didn't know what it was either until I saw a photo of it on twitter and fell in love). It's a North African dish, two baked eggs, sitting on top of a spicy tomato and pepper sauce. Delicious, the eggs cooked perfectly with runny yolk enhancing the richness of the sauce which provides a lovely spicy and sweet contrast to the egg. I was feeling better with every mouthful.
Mrs Clonc went for glass noodles with shredded veg, toasted cashews and coriander in a soy ginger and lime dressing. A textural delight, packed full of flavour and zing, needles to say it got the approval of Mrs Clonc. Baby Clonc on the other hand went to town on some cucumber sticks and 'Ella's Kitchen' Moroccan chicken, aside from getting bored of us and trying to join the ladies who were lunching on the table next to us.
We topped it off with a slice of the dense and moist gluten free almond and orange cake with an excellent Chai latte for Mrs Clonc and a Java black tea for myself, accompanied by the obligatory timer for my tea so I knew when it had brewed for the correct length of time.
The front of house are fantastic, our waiter was excellent and could not be more helpful but not only that, everyone had a smile on their face and were happy to help and engage with customers. I think this makes such a difference to the atmosphere of the place but also makes it a great experience that keeps people wanting to come back.
Wyndham tea really is a calming haven in a sometimes frantic world and I would highly recommend a visit there, whether it be to sample one of their many teas and types of cake to lunch or afternoon tea (we spotted a couple having afternoon tea and it looked pretty good from where I was sitting). So when it all gets too much next time you're in town, you know where to go.
Wyndham Arcade, The Hayes, Cardiff, CF10 1FH
Tel: 02920 376249