One of the great things about moving to a new area is all the potential for discovering new places – not just places to eat and drink, of course, but in my case these are the best ones!
North and South is one such discovery, which I made whilst on a wander through my new home of Penarth, which seems to have more than its fair share of cafes and delis, all just waiting to be discovered (and blogged about!) It’s a small café and grill at the end of the Windsor Arcade with an appealing menu of sandwiches and specials which tempted Mr W and me in for an impromptu lunch.
The café has an African theme in terms of décor, but the menu focuses on fairly traditional fare with a variety of influences. We were in the market for a sandwich, and the range of options on offer certainly didn’t disappoint, with some innovative combinations including Moroccan chicken with coconut, and slow cooked lamb and mint, plus hot sandwiches including a ‘Posh Fish Finger Sandwich’ – fish goujons in a ciabatta, and a hot meatball sarnie. Sandwiches are also available to take away, with a tempting deli bar showcasing the ingredients, all of which looked fresh and good quality. Each of the sandwiches has an unusual name – mostly African inspired, and whilst there doesn’t seem to be much logic to the naming, it’s a nice touch that brings the African theme to life.
As well as the plethora of special sarnies, the menu included some salads and jacket potatoes and a full range of main meals – some that stood out included lamb shank, fish and chips, lasagne, beef bourgignon and a choice of three curries.
I spent ages choosing a sandwich from the list and settled on roast Welsh ham with cheddar cheese, red onion and honey mustard dressing (which I think was called ‘the Chad’, or it may have been ‘the Sudan’). I had a choice of white or brown bread, and chose brown – the sandwich came on an absolute slab of seeded brown bread, which could have been too much, but it was so lovely and fresh that it was really good. The ham was exceptionally good, thick cut and tasty, and the onion, sharp cheddar and mustard was a great combination. The sandwich came with a nice fresh salad and some tasty coleslaw on the side. The only slight disappointment was the honey and mustard dressing, which I don’t think was home made, but rather out of a bottle. Although the taste was great, it was a bit too wet for a sandwich and in places the bread was a bit soggy, so I’d have preferred some Dijon mustard instead. Similarly, the dressing was all over the salad, and was a bit overpowering, but this wasn’t a major problem!
Mr W opted for the ‘steakwich’ – obviously whoever came up with the menu likes inventing words using the word steak, as this was described as being thin slices of ‘steaklet’ with onions in a ciabatta. It came with chips (these were excellent – we think freshly cooked for us as they were hot and crisp), coleslaw, and a mustardy dip on the side, which I couldn’t help myself from stealing! Again, really good.
The drinks menu is almost as extensive as the choice of food, with lots of coffees and hot chocolates (including white hot chocolate which I’ll be trying if I go in there for something other than a meal in the future) plus milkshakes, frappes, steamers and even wine and beer as the place has a licence. We chose a caramel frappe and a strawberry milkshake, both of which were freshly blended for us and were very reasonable at £2.50 each – no Starbucks prices here!
The service was friendly and helpful, and we could see all the food being prepared by the staff at the counter.
I’d definitely go back to North Meets South again for a quick and tasty lunch, or perhaps even a takeaway sarnie. The extensive menu gave me a slight concern as to whether they could do that many dishes really well, but the sandwiches were so good that I’m prepared to give them the benefit of the doubt, and perhaps I’ll try a main meal next time!
Food: **** Service: **** Atmosphere: ***
North Meets South, 7 Windsor Road, Penarth CF64 1JB