Best Lunch in Cathays

If you managed to resist breakfast after our Best Breakfast in Cathays, you’ll probably be getting hungry.

Never fear, our ever wise words and large stomachs will help you pick the finest food in Cathays for a lunchtime treat.


LUNCH = SANDWICHES. The bigger, the better. If the bread can be upgraded to a baguette of some form, then hallelujah! Dough doesn’t mess around. Its name says it all, simple, to the point- this sandwich shop will give you the sandwiches of your wildest dreams. Feel fancy? Why, have a Brie & Grape baguette for £2.50! Want to be in NY? Then have a Pastrami & American Mustard baguette for £2.80 and quit your whining! There’s fillings galore served in your choice of a baguette, bagel, wrap or sandwich. There are £3.30 paninis from every corner of the globe (the Sicilian roast veg & mozzarella is bellissima!) For £3.40 you can enjoy their meal deal, which includes a freshly baked baguette, cookie/crisps/cake/fruit and a drink.

Dough, 20 Salisbury Rd, CF24 4AD. Mon- Fri, 7.30am- 4.30pm. Sat, 9am-  3pm. 

Kati Wok

Ever tried Pan Asian food in a wrap? Yes, we agree, when we first heard about this we thought it sounded slightly strange. Wraps are for fajitas and Eminem right? Wrong! After The Plate Licked Clean tweeted this to KIC,

we had to try. So we did. We wanted to try the most popular dish on the lunchtime menu, so we went to the source & asked Kati Wok what we should order,

So an Afghan Chicken KatiRoll is what we had. And what a revelation it was. It turns out Kati Rolls are a famous type of Indian street food, and we can see why. KIC should never have doubted that chicken strips cooked with tomato, ginger, chilli and garlic, with a medium or hot sauce and served in a flatbread would be nice. After all, a flatbread is essentially an edible plate isn’t it? So much easier than cutlery and crockery..saves on washing up..stops you missing out on any morsels that those pesky forks can’t pick up. Apparently it’s frowned upon to lick your plate in public, (or at all? Thanks Dad), so thank you Kati Wok for saving our table manners & delivering us a delicious, alternative lunch. A Kati Roll is £3.99 solo, or you can go for a £7.99 meal deal, which includes a roll, soft drink and any side or dessert.

Kati Wok, 53 Crwys Rd, CF24 4ND. Closed Mondays, Tues- Fri 12-2.3opm for lunch, Sat & Sun, 12-10.30pm.

Kama Lounge

A sandwich is all well and good, but sometimes something larger and more exotic is the only thing that’ll fill that lunchtime hole. Kama Lounge will give you all that at a handsome price. There are two sides to the menu- one which has set dishes like Katsu Curry and Thai Green Curry for about six pounds. On the other, you can channel your inner chef and compile your own dish. Before you get carried away, don chef whites and race to the nearest wok, this doesn’t mean you make it yourself. But you can tweak the finer tuning of your lunch and pick the type of noodle, veg, meat and sauce. My, you can get creative! As far as we can see, no combination disappoints! Duck and pineapple with oyster sauce? Delicious! Jasmine rice with chicken and teriyaki sauce? A taste sensation! What makes Kama Lounge particularly good for a lunchtime treat is the fact that between 11.30am and 4pm all main meals are 2 4 1. Which means that you can take some lovely lady or lad out for DIY Asian meal and look ever so generous without spending a fortune. Or, what’s more likely, go with a similarly poor and unwilling to cook friend, and split it.

We’ve suggested Kama Lounge but the lovely leads of twitter have suggested Wok In Wok Out for a similar style of create your own noodle dish, where Cathays local, Shah, says the £4.50 lunch deal (available 11.30 – 3pm) of a noodle box and a can of fizzy pop hits the spot.

Handily, it’s right across the road from Kama Lounge, so you buy one of both & compare. Let us know if you do this, we’d love to hear the results.

Kama Lounge, 106-110 Woodville Rd, CF24 4NY. 11.30am – 11.30pm daily. 

Wok In Wok Out, (opposite) Woodville Rd, CF24 4NY. 11am – 11pm daily.

Magic Wrap

We couldn’t ignore Magic Wrap. It’s seems to be a right of passage when arriving at Cardiff…Lose your dignity at the SU? Check. Return the next day to try and find your phone you distinctly remember leaving in the safe corner by the bar that no one sees? Check. Have a Magic Wrap when you can’t find your phone and you feel like you might pass out? Check. Anything with ‘magic’ in the title bodes well, if only everything we ate had super natural promise. It’s website boasts it’s the healthy hangover cure, which certainly would be magic. We’re not sure how healthy a wrap is when you ask for two types of cheese and bacon in it, but hey. Each wrap comes with salad and your choice of one filling (these range from chicken to falafel) and then you can add as many extras as your purse will allow. Or, if the whole having to decide on fillings is too much, there are ready compiled wraps you can opt for. Prices start at £3.55 but can get pretty pricey if you want beef, bacon and chrorizo as extras. That much meat is also unlikely to help the hangover. Let that be a warning to you.

Magic Wrap, Cardiff University SU, Senghennydd rd, CF10 3QN. Mon-Fri 10am – 5pm. Sat 12-4pm. 


After being told off by Hannah Richardson for failing to mention Tucker on our breakfast post…


We took her fantastic advice & tried it out for lunch. It’s a lovely place to kick back, relax and pretend the huge amount of revision piling up on you doesn’t exist. Heads firmly in the sand, we could appreciate the quirky decor and soothing blue walls. As for the food… there are more baps than Nuts magazine has to offer! The fish finger bap, (oh please behave! we’re all adults here) was comforting and filling. If you’re after something quick there are wraps and paninis with more fillings than you’ll know what to do with (£3-5.) If you really want to procrastinate the afternoon away there are proper meals on offer, a homemade lasagne is only £4.95, and pizzas start at under a fiver. A Big Boy Burger (how could we resist with a name like that?) with double burger, bacon and cheese is £4.50 and definitely made us feel more butch.

Tucker, 23 Salisbury Rd, CF24 4AA. Mon- Fri 8am – 6pm. Sat 10am-6pm. 


So, have we filled your appetite for eating lunch in Cathays?

Or left you hungry for better options?





Cathays at Christmas- What Happens when the Students leave?

DSC_0140Walk through Cathays today and you’re likely to get caught in the sea of people trudging down Woodville Road and Cathays Terrace (unless, of course, you’re staggering home at the witching hour, in which case you might be lucky enough to get the streets to yourself and avoid any snide remarks of those seemingly more virtuous.) The steady stream of Cardiff hoodies and boys in unseasonal flip flops is largely thanks to it’s popularity as home to university goers.


            Cathays is fit to burst with students.

According to a Freedom of Information request made this summer 15,334 registered students were recorded with Cathays post codes in 2012/13. In the 2011 census,  16-24 year olds made up nearly two thirds of the total population.

Age Range of Adults in Cathays (2011)

Age Range of Adults in Cathays (2011)

And we’re not complaining! Neither are businesses, most of the time. When term is in full swing, students bring life to the pubs, restaurants and shops of Cathays. You only have to walk around to notice local business’s dependency on the young population. The Gutsy Goose offers 15% off for students, Balti King 20%, The Vulcan 10% off some drinks and The Sherman Cymru Theatre sells half price tickets for under 25’s.

But students aren’t around all year. When term ends next week, people will be scooting home to central heating and fully stocked fridges quicker than Dasher, Dancer, Prancer and Vixen. (We know there are more, Glancer? Rasher..? Anyway.)

KIC must confess, we are guilty of this crime, and also of not giving our student lodgings a second thought once we’re rolling on hoovered carpets and eating things that aren’t yellow-stickered.

“Cathays becomes a desert in the holidays”

Paul Byers, Connect Cathays.

Paul Byers, Connect Cathays.

The life we leave behind continues though. Paul Byers is a community psychologist who runs  Connect Cathays, a community site striving to bring together the residents. Paul has lived in Cathays for five years and Cardiff a lot longer. Having worked for the council as a town planner and as both a bus and taxi driver, he knows the streets as well as the veins on his hands. Since retiring, Paul’s jumped head first into understanding the Cathays community – past, present and future. He believes the transient population creates a real problem. Along with the worst voting turn out for any ward in Cardiff, (17.1% at the last election ) poor quality homes and litter problems, businesses flounder out of term time.

Cathays Councillor, Sam Knight, agrees that the student population has affected the business landscape.

Some businesses close for long periods, Café Malaysia on Woodville road shuts for a month in summer. With such temperamental seasons, it seems likely, if not obvious, outlets will suffer when the majority of its population leave the area.

Is it time for a metaphor? Is it ever.

Think of students as water, and the businesses of Cathays as plants. Give them water, they’ll thrive and grow. Take away the water, the plants will struggle to survive.

Term time Trade

The Falafel Bar- closed this week.

The Falafel Bar- closed this week.

The turn around of businesses in Cathays is quite high. Just this week, The Falafel Bar on Woodville Road posted a ‘To Let’ sign across its windows. If you have the time or curiosity, look at Crwys Road’s Street View on Google Maps. The map isn’t old but the changes of shop faces are noticeable.  The Veg Rack is gone, as is Central Eating and Lorenza’s.

Of course, the economic climate of the last five years has something to do with it, but the highs and lows of trade has an impact too.

We spoke to Barry Logan, manager of Kama Lounge, an Asian restaurant in the heart of Cathays. Kama Lounge opened a couple of years ago during the summer- a difficult time to begin a business. Without many people around, they struggled to get feet through the doors.

Once students returned in September, they had a ‘re-launch.’ Now, they manage holidays with a battle plan of events including weddings and cocktail master classes. Amid a busy lunchtime service, Barry single-handedly sat customers, served food, made drinks and spoke to KIC about how businesses in the area fare. He admitted it wasn’t easy, but said he had noticed a reappearance of local people when students evacuate.

A renewed local presence is great. The fact that it’s when students disappear isn’t so much.  But that’s a post for another time, we’re sure even the jazziest colour coded maps won’t keep you entertained forever.

Building Usage for Crwys Road & Woodville Road

Building Usage for Crwys Road & Woodville Road

Which moves us ever so neatly onto this one right here. It shows the number of shops (pink) and eateries (red) on Crwys and Woodville road. There’s a lot of them, and some have been around for years. This suggests that businesses have found a way of making the situation work for them.

Kevin Stoyle, W.J. Gardner.

Kevin Stoyle, W.J. Gardner.

Cathays’s oldest shop must have. W J Gardner has been selling painting and decorating supplies since 1905, it’s battled through the storms of time and emerged triumphant. In the last year and a half it’s been taken over by Rabart Decorators Merchants, and has seen a rise in profits. They’ve discovered that having so many people moving in and out of houses in the area can be a big advantage for their business.

There are ups and downs. That’s clear. Talking to businesses  in the area, it seems some are worried. Others are not. Christmas is certainly not as big a concern as the three month gap that stretches over summer. Like Barry, some  welcome a slower pace for the festive period. Others are trying their hardest to exploit Christmas for every deal, party and event possible.

It certainly isn’t the fault of students for wanting to go home over their holidays, and our KIC hat goes off to those brave enough to take the risk of the hot/cold business climate in the area.

Tomorrow is Small Business Saturday (7th December), which seems like the perfect time to give a last bit of trade to the independent cafés, restaurants, bars and shops in Cathays before the holidays. And remember, (sorry in advance for this, but it was too good an opportunity to miss…)

Cathays is for Christmas, not just for term time.