Jonathan Swain speaks to Helen Gorman, the brains behind a new street food and brunch outlet in Cardiff’s Bone Yard space, and profiles the pick of the traders set to pop up there under the TwentySix umbrella.
With the opening of TwentySix, Helen Gorman is a woman on a mission. Perhaps best known for her Bad Boy Brownies, which the pandemic turned into a full-time business, she also runs touring street food events Pwdin and Cracklin from her Cardiff homebase. To this she added Toast: breakfasts at Canton’s Corp Market, where her homemade harissa butter and American pancakes have won a loyal following.
TwentySix is a brand-new café and street food venue at The Bone Yard, also in Canton. It’ll be Toast’s new home for all-day weekend brunches, and coffee starting at 8am from Wednesday to Sunday. That weekend is the time to relax with classics like American pancakes with crispy bacon and maple syrup, or harissa butter on sourdough toast with poached egg and halloumi, as well as her vegan options.
Helen named the venue after her nephew’s birthday. “It’s a date that’s meaningful to me; now I can’t wait to get TwentySix open,” she explains. “I’ve been in the pop-up and street food business for the past few years, doing all of the usual festivals and pop-ups and kitchen takeovers – but I always had it in my head that one day there would be a permanent venue for me.”
Even better, she will host a regular rotation of street food traders from 3-10pm, every Thursday to Sunday. It’s a healthy list, including Reaper, The Rock & Scallop and Pasta Al Sugo: the hook here is each trader having an individual slot, rather than competing against each other. Each gets a chance to shine, so here are some to make a point of visiting.
Krish and Cally’s “unique jazzed-up Southern Indian kitchen” is an affectionate tribute to memories of home. Their food doesn’t take itself too seriously: there’s always a sense of fun, and always some impressive work behind it. Go for the Raj Burger (a smoked pulled chicken masala sandwiched in a brioche bun with an onion bhaji nest and homemade chutneys), or their ‘Frankie’ roll: Keralan-style rolled paratha bread, with a choice of smoked chicken or jackfruit and chickpeas filling.
FIRE & FLANK
Previous winners of the British Street Food Award for Best Main Dish, the constant is steak slow-cooked in a waterbath and finished over flames. You might find it served with cheesy mash and chimichurri, or in a roll with sriracha and smoked garlic mayonnaise.
John and Ceri Cook’s lockdown legends make a rare pop-up appearance from their Goodsheds base. If you don’t know yet how good these are, now’s your chance, but expect something special from the team behind Cowbridge’s highly-rated Rocket & Rye café.
These newcomers bring a chicken laksa burger with fried egg.
Local street food giants (and newest additions to Cardiff Market) will bring their little handfuls of happiness, with their renowned vegan ‘beef’ sure to win new fans.
STRAIGHT OUTTA CANTON
These intriguing newcomers’‘Punjabi BBQ’ offers smoked chicken leg with butter chicken sauce, charred baby leeks with Alabama sauce and pickled red onions, and ‘72-hour pressed pork’ (Punjabi belly pork, charred fennel and pear slaw with apple chilli chutney and yolk sauce) – one to watch.
A fully licensed bar will serve a selection of beers, wines and spirits, plus regular cocktail specials, and if all that hasn’t persuaded you Helen is planning a monthly Bone Yard Bazaar with Martyn Watkins of Richkin’s Woodcraft (also based at The Bone Yard) which will offer arts and crafts, fresh produce and more.
words JONATHAN SWAIN
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