Food editors Kathryn & Emma have a snoop around Cathay’s latest food hangout
People watching is a guilty pleasure we all secretly love to indulge in from time to time. Whether to relax, or just to satisfy those nosy intuitions, peering from a window onto a busy road and watching people go about their daily tasks is one of life’s simpler pleasures. Taking a seat in a prime petching (people-watching) position I knew I’d found a new spot to indulge my favourite past-time, as the floor to ceiling windows of CF24 Project perfectly framed the hustle and bustle of Cathays.
Perched on the end of Crwys Road, CF24 Project is one of Cardiff’s newest and most intriguing eateries. Only opening its doors in January, the community inspired project is a newcomer to the Cardiff dining scene, yet has a whole lot more than just food to offer those who make a trip. Created as a bar, come restaurant, come cafe, come gallery, come music venue, come whatever else you fancy, CF24 really is a jack of all trades. By day the upstairs forms a relaxed space to eat, drink and relax, and come night time all these can still be enjoyed whilst the basement is transformed into a comedy club, dance floor or social space (depending on the evening).
Crafted with an eco-ethos in mind, the whole venue is upcycled and second hand from top to toe. Oil drums form tables, crates cradle lights from the ceiling and the entire bar is crafted from reclaimed wood and scrap materials. It may sound like a junk yard, but the intriguing array of items come together to form a quirky and interesting interior. Entering the new eatery on a quiet Thursday evening I instantly found my eyes exploring every surface possible, with an explosion of colours and textures I was praying the food was as exciting as the venue.
Once I’d managed to tear myself away from the kooky art work decorating the walls and the excitable dog chat with the friendly bar staff (there happened to be a puppy there that evening which, of course, I had to meet for a few obligatory cuddles) the menu was equally as engaging. Composed of mostly burgers, pizzas and salads, the food offerings here are quite simple. Yet, simple doesn’t have to mean boring, and boy do they have some exciting varieties of what they do offer. It’s all about that the twist on a classic here so expect your favourite pizza toppings with that little something extra and sides taken to the next level. The pepperoni, goat’s cheese and onion pizza and the fries served with pulled pork and cheese were particularly drool-able. But after much deliberation, and I mean a good 10 minutes here, I finally decided to try the spicy breaded chicken burger with seasoned fries.
Arriving on the table after just the right amount time to do a spot of people watching, immediately I could tell this was no ordinary chicken burger. A chunky helping of lightly crisp chicken sat between a plump glossy bun, kept cosy with a hearty portion of fries and a touch of salad to garnish, oh God I hoped it was going to taste as good as it looks. My prayers were wasted, of course the taste didn’t disappoint. The chicken was nicely seasoned, not spicy as advertised, but tasty all the same. The fries carried a cajun warmth which complemented the spices used in the chicken coating. Delicious on all accounts and costing just £6 it was an absolute bargain too.
With good food, great company and even better value for money, this is exactly what Cathays needs to battle the abundance of greasy, chain pubs us students find ourselves frequenting when we can’t be bothered to cook. As a venue for local acts and artwork, this place also forms a brilliant social hub in the centre of our community, I will definitely be visiting again if not for the bandeoke but for coffee and a cheeky spot of petching.