Grangetown’s Vegetarian Food Studio was an obvious place to start: it’s pretty well known, it’s had praise lavished on it in the national press, but a lot of people I’ve met so far (some of whom have been living here for years) have no clue as to its existence, or if they’ve heard of it, don’t know where it can be found. Something to do with the location?
From St Mary Street, pass by the turnoff into Central Station, veering right onto Penarth Road and ducking under one of Cardiff’s many Brain’s bridges. Enjoy the vista of the station car park as you follow the bend to the right and head into a bleak landscape of call centres and self-storage facilities. Cross the river, pausing on the bridge to admire the view of the Brains brewery and Millennium Stadium. If you’re lucky, some passing rowers may provide a nice contrast to the urban grit.
Ok, congrats, you’re in Grangetown. Stroll down the block, but not too quickly or you may go straight past the Studio’s tiny frontage. Pop into the offy next door, grab a couple of beers and you’re all set. Oh, did I forget to say it may’ve been worth booking?
If you’ve got a wait on your hands, take a stroll across Penarth Road. Head into Dinas Place, along the side of the well-kept Pentre Gardens and down Dinas Street. Hang a left at Merches Gardens and (I’m being serious this time) check out the domed splendour of the Shree Swaminarayan temple nestling in among the terraces. Capture Cardiff did a nice little piece on the temple, which you can find here. If, like me, you used to live in Sheffield, you can then have a little chuckle about the fact that it lies on Mardy Street, and speculate about whether this reflects the general misery of the citizens.
Unless you’re really unlucky, a table is probably ready for you now. Retrace your steps and go fill your face. The Studio’s Gujurati Thalis provide a complete meal in themselves for £5.99, but if you’ve got a full tenner to burn then you can look forward to being levered out of the place. You may need a little walk at this point, so saunter for ten minutes back into town and the next move is yours.