Award-winning chef, Anand George, of Purple Poppadom fame, seems to be heading for world domination (or at least domination of South Wales) with a couple of new ventures under his belt in recent months. The first is The Pickled Pepper, a takeaway in Penarth (which I have to confess I am yet to try, although it’s on the ever-growing list!) and the second, Munchesters, an eat in and takeaway venue in the centre of Cardiff, billing itself as ‘Coffee House Cuisine’.
Working in the city centre means there are a plethora of options for lunch and sometimes it’s easy to get a bit overwhelmed with all the choices on offer and end up with a disappointing pre-packed sandwich (gone are the days when a prawn sarnie from M&S was considered the height of luxury and sophistication!) but I now have a few ‘go-to’ destinations for the days when I’m not organised enough to bring my own lunch in from home. Munchesters is one of these!
There are always a few pre-made sandwiches on offer there, but the main attraction is their chapati-style hot deli wraps. These are all pre-made, but incredibly fresh; there never seems to be more than a few of each flavour on display and I often see fresh supplies being brought out to the hot counter when I’m there. I’ve tried a few of the options. Pulled pork with mustard, cabbage and smoked bacon was actually my least favourite as the pork didn’t have a strong barbecue taste, which is what I normally love about pulled pork. Beef island paradise – slow-cooked beef with coconut and red cabbage – sounded delicious, and was. There wasn’t a strong taste of coconut, but the beef was so tender and succulent that it was fantastic anyway. The wraps themselves have a hint of sweetness to them as well, which is great with a rich meaty filling. My favourite so far, though, is the long-cooked lamb: 24 hour cooked shoulder of lamb, served with pickled red onion, cucumber and tomato. The meat was unbelievably tender and flavoursome, and the wrap had been cleverly constructed so that the salad stayed crisp. Other options include chicken, bean and chickpea based recipes. Normally, the wraps are around £4.45 each, but each day there is a special deal on one of the flavours where you can get a wrap (or one of the pre-packed sandwiches) plus a soft drink for £4.00, which is a bargain! All the wraps I’ve tried have been absolutely packed with meat, so they’re a very filling lunch option – although I was once tempted to try a side salad (they normally have two different salad options) and ended up with way too much food, albeit delicious! On that particular day, the salads were tomato and mozzarella and roasted aubergines with a very garlicky yogurt dressing (perhaps not the best thing to eat in the office at lunchtime unless you particularly dislike your colleagues!) I also prefer to eat the wraps with a knife and fork as they’re so chock full of meat.
As well as the delicious wraps, Munchesters sells coffee and pastries, plus a selection of Indian-inspired sweets and yogurts. I’ve never sat in to eat my lunch, but there’s a pleasant upstairs seating area for anyone wanting a break away from the hustle and bustle of the city over lunch time. I have to confess I’m a bit baffled by the name as it doesn’t really tell you anything about the type of food to expect – indeed, when I saw it being made ready for opening I’d envisaged fairly standard café fare, so I was pleasantly surprised to learn that Mr George was joining us in the city centre.
Name bafflement aside, Munchesters is a welcome addition to Cardiff’s array of lunch options and I’d recommend popping in!
Munchesters, 22 Trinity St, Cardiff CF10 1BH