High Street Arcade, Cardiff. 029 2034 1390
The wait is over: after months and months and months, which probably seems a lot longer to Mr Barker and team, Barkers 2 has opened its beautifully restored doors to the public. Already operating a successful sister coffee shop in the opposite arcade, this is a far more grown-up affair. Beautifully decorated with butt-hugging deep leather chairs and sofas, William Morris-style wallpaper and decorative lamps with the occasional deer antlers, it’s reminiscent of a gentleman’s club where Sherlock and Mycroft wouldn’t look out of place, sipping an Earl Grey and tucking into a poppy seed muffin.
Thinking the Caesar salad would be a lighter healthier option, I was slightly overwhelmed by the gargantuan plateful that arrived. I’m not complaining, but it would have easily fed two people; in fact I took half of it with me. Warm chicken, two little pots (one with coleslaw, one with Caesar dressing) and a plateful of mixed greens, croutons and black olives – even if it was HUGE, it was fabulous.
The other choice was soup of the day: tomato and basil with a doorstep chunk of bread, served in a small soup saucepan, proved delicious and warming. A substantial selection of speciality teas and coffees and homemade desserts are available daily, as are breakfasts from 8.30am and afternoon tea. If you want to spoil yourself, a glass/bottle of sparkly is perfect for ladies who lunch or those taking mum somewhere special. Or dad, for that matter.
It’s a bigger, shinier tea room with a beautiful ambience and plenty of objets d’art to keep you occupied while enjoying your chosen tea from a perfect little china cup – exactly as it should be.
words ANTONIA LEVAY