Food & Drink editor, Kathryn Lewis, tries out one of Salisbury Road’s swankiest lunch stops.
I can only describe Cardiff’s Salisbury Road as a hungry student’s mecca; bustling with greasy diners, late night takeaway stops and a gap-ya’s checklist of continental eateries; this street is the last place you would expect to find a ‘boutique bar and eatery’. From the outside, The Tucker Lounge appears to be a smart and stylish contemporary café, quite a contrast to some of the other garish signage dressing the street. Once inside, the owner’s creativity seems to have been let loose and ricocheted upon the walls, with an army of clocks, quirky wall paper and mounted animal heads (fake, of course) creating a unique atmosphere.
Once the full extent of the design has been absorbed and the last few trinkets have been spotted, the menu is just as engaging. Don’t expect fine dining or exotic dishes, this is still Cathays after all, but what you can look forward to is a fab range of wraps, paninis and burgers and an exciting specials board. From the classic brie and bacon toastie to the intriguing minted lamb burger, there’s something on the menu for everyone’s rumbling stomachs. What’s more the prices here compete with the surrounding eateries’ brilliant student deals with most dishes costing around £5.
In all honesty the service here was a little rushed and the waitress forgot a few drinks, but giving them the benefit of the doubt it was a very busy day. The food didn’t take too long and the Mediterranean vegetable and houmous wrap was delicious. Lightly toasted and stuffed to the brim with perfectly seasoned veg, complimented by a strong garlic houmous, it was hard to fault the food. The chicken and bacon cobb salad, stacked high and perfectly presented on a wooden chopping board, was laden with seasoned chicken and was a real student steal too at £6.
The Tucker Lounge isn’t just a day time venue either, open late most evenings, there’s a small but exciting tapas menu and a great collection of real ales to try. With student deals to arouse the most experienced bargain hunter (4 pint pitchers of real ale for £10) this Salisbury Road venue is a rarity, not just ticking the boxes for frugality, but serving up tasty dishes in a cool and relaxed setting.