Our wet weekend in Wales was coming to an end and it was time to hit the long road back to London. Having to make a stop off on average every 1.5 hours to let the van cool down we decided to skip on at least one service station and opted for a coffee break in Cardiff instead.
In desperate need of a caffeine fix we strolled into the Victorian Castle Arcade and were immediately drawn to the row of european style outdoor seating and shiny glass windows that belonged to Coffee Barker.
This was far from the faceless Starbucks that we had been filling up at previously and was packed with personality and charm. The interior had the feel of a classy warehouse antiques showroom with exposed brickwork, comfortable leather seating, pretty tiles, teapots, studio lights and many more eclectic details.
It was not only the decor that was impressive but also the food, which consisted of large, well stuffed sandwiches, cakes (including gluten free), fresh soup and steaming baked potatoes which are all made on site. It didn’t stop there, with good quality coffee, tea selection, fresh smoothies and milk shakes that came served in an old fashion milk bottle.
After a diet that had mainly consisted of veggie sausages, bread and crisps prepared in our camper van I was slightly overwhelmed by real food and had to go halvers on two meals. The boyfriend and I shared homemade tomato and basil soup and a baked potato with cheese and beans which were fittingly presented in retro white and blue rimmed tin dishes. The food, like the rest of the Barker Coffee, was simple and homely yet done with great detail.
Though we were full from our generous lunch we could not walk past the counter without purchasing one of the many cakes on offer – which gave us a much needed sugar hit whilst stuck in the Reading festival traffic.
This independent coffee shop was an amazing find; if this is the standard of eatery that Cardiff has to offer then I am definitely stopping over for more than lunch next time.
On a side note- the pictures really don’t do this place justice but my camera had run out of battery by this point in the holiday!
13 Castle Arcade