Review: Pembrokeshire Pasty & Pie Co.

I’m on a bit of a mission at the moment, and it seems to be something along the lines of “try as many new places for lunch as I can”. I headed back into Cardiff early one day last week, sometimes I just like to work from my living room with the boy playing on the floor in front of me – I’m just a big softie.

Anyway, I needed to grab some lunch on my way home so after I exited the train station I headed towards St Mary Street with the intention of going down one of the arcades to find something.

Instead I found this new shop lurking on the outside wall of Royal Arcade – where Ferraris bakery used to be – the Pembrokeshire Pasty & Pie Co. It had been creatively fitted out, with a mural of cow in a field painted directly onto the largest wall, although it was devoid of customers I still decided to check it out.

In situations such as this, walking into a new store when there are no other customers in sight, I usually take it upon myself to ask questions – “How’s business?”, “When did you open?”, that kind of thing – essentially because I know I’m going to write it up, so I can get some background information. In this case, I was met with a wall of nothingness. The boy behind the counter was eager to serve me with a few grunts and get back to reading his copy of The Sun and the lady seemed to prefer to stand away by the door and stare out onto St Mary Street – so I have nothing for you, sorry guys.

I wanted to get a pasty and a pie, pasty for lunch and pie for later on – hell, it’s a pasty and pie company, why not try everything? I was dutifully informed that they had no pies, despite there being a large number that this company apparently have in their range. Perhaps there had been a rush earlier and I’d missed it all? Anyway, I decided to cut my losses and get out of there as quickly as possible – I chose a large traditional pasty and headed for the door. I was a little pissed off if I’m honest, I would have had more of a warm welcome at a busy Greggs than I did at this desolate place.

So onto the food, it’s not all about attitudes after all, and less so when you’re taking out I suppose. So when I got home I quickly forgot about them and got onto the pasty.

The first thing that I notice as I put my fingers into the bag is a distinct moistness, not unlike putting your hand into a bag of oily chips. My hand became instantly slippery and shiny, as though I had slathered it in baby oil – the thing had been deep fried! Well, no it hadn’t, but it might as well have been. Although it did still have some flakiness,  it was so soggy that you sense it had thus far had a very sorry life. I felt a bit sorry for it. I felt more sorry for my insides which had to try to digest bucket of oil and soft, doughy pastry soon.

There was but one redeeming feature, and this came when I finally made it to the filling – it was delightful. The kind of delightful that I knew would have been better had it not been reheated, reheated, reheated. It was sweet, with a taste of apple and the meat tasted like it definitely had a quality to it at one time.

Pembrokeshire Pasty & Pie Co. have a slogan, “Parcles of Magic”, and I see how that could possibly be true – as long as you catch them at the right time, when they are fresh from the oven or within an hour of that – I don’t know how long this one had been around, but it was most certainly longer than that, if it was even the same day. I was disappointed, again.

So – aloof staff, no pies and a questionable pasty at a “Pasty & Pie Co.”? I’d need some convincing to go back.

The Pembrokeshire Pasty & Pie Co, Royal Arcade (St Mary Street), Cardiff, CF10.

6 Comments

  1. I often walk past that shop on the way home and never see anyone in there. Now I see why! Thanks for taking that leap of faith, but I’ll stick to the Cornish pasty shop near the Owain.

  2. That location seems detained to fail. The shop that was there before (which sold chocolates as if they were jewels) never had any customers either and Ferraris did not survive. It has bad retail karma.

  3. I own this shop and I’m really sorry to hear you had a bad experience. We opened in December and are really trying to establish ourselves within Cardiff so reading such a negative review is obviously disappointing. The member of staff that served you has been shown this review and we have talked through it at length, customer service is something that we strive to please in. In fairness to the member of staff that served you, he is a great worker but isn’t that confident with customers, but with some more training I’m sure he will open up. Some of our younger members of staff find conversing with customers more difficult than others; I guess it’s a skill that comes naturally with age.
    As for your pasty, I’m glad you thought the filling was delicious (your right we do use high quality meats sourced locally from Pembrokeshire) and obviously disappointed that you thought the pastry was oily. We hand make all our products so they can vary sometimes like most artisan foods. It would be great if you could come back in sometime when I’m there and maybe sample one of our other products. Thanks for giving us a try in the first place; we will strive to do better!

  4. Like you, I like to try as many different places in town as possible, particularly indy ones, so was quite excited when I saw this shop opening. Os Tim comments, the location isn’t great at the moment with the low footfall on St Mary Street.

    I’ve been there a few times, and I must say I’ve found the staff very friendly on each occasion. I quite like pies (not tried a pasty), but they are expensive. I don’t mind paying more for quality and if it’s tasty, and as a farmers son, appreciate that local produce does cost more to produce (I’d hate to think what goes into pasties in some chain shops!), but there’s too much of a gap in price form what you’d pay in Greggs and what you pay here. They’re probably aiming at the aspiring middle-class (like yourself and I!), but they should try and cut down on their margins and try and sell more pies. I read on their Twiiter account that they have these brownies from the Gower in, so I went to try one – it cost £1.50 for a 3cm x 3cm piece. I could tell the member of staff was embarrassed when I acclaimed “IS THAT ALL I GET FOR £1.50?!!!”

    I really like my pies and want this place to succeed, but it doesn’t look good.

  5. I like your comment Rhys “I’d hate to think what goes into pasties in some chain shops!” as this is absolutly true!! The general public hold their noses up in the great debate of “you are what you eat” , “I don’t buy value goods” ect, but people are happy to go to chain shops and spend £1.20 on a “steak” pasty, where the meat has probably come from a developing country, and god knows what state those animals are kept in and even if it is what it says!

    I am a great believer in you pay for what you get, across every consumable item possible!! I am yet to try this businesses products, but I have heard good things about it.

  6. I visited the Tenby shop last Saturday at around 11:45 am waited and waited and waited some more but no staff were around I could have helped myself to a few pasties and the money from the till as well without any problems

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