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.
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.