We tried out Cardiff’s top baguette bar Fresh so you don’t have to, but you might want to

It is listed in the top 10 per cent of places to eat in the world by TripAdvisor

When we found out that in Cardiff, there is a sandwich shop that is listed so highly in the TripAdvisor ratings, we had no choice but to run not walk to Fresh, a baguette bar in the Royal Arcade. Here’s how it went down.

The mission for a boujee baguette

I often go through the Royal Arcade on my dreadfully long walk from the Journalism building back to Taly, (Side note: who’s idea was it to make us poor JOMEC students trek 45 minutes every day?)  and I’ve walked past the Fresh Baguette Bar countless times.

It’s almost impossible to miss, there is always a weaving queue which, at peak lunch times, I’ve seen trail out of the tunnel and into the high street.

Being the nosey food lover that I am, I just had to go and see what all the fuss was about.

Of course, the JOMEC student in me did her research first. It’s ranked 3rd out of all the restaurants in Cardiff and was named in the top 10% of places to eat in the world by TripAdvisor. Pretty impressive stats.

The dreaded English queue

You can imagine my surprise when I arrived to find a tiny little shop with just two poor souls working and barely enough space to fit more than one customer in at a time, (which explains the lengthy queue I suppose).

Determined to investigate the hype, I valiantly joined the queue of department workers and university students who were all waiting eagerly to get inside.

It took about 40 minutes to make it to the front but the time flew-by as I was so pre-occupied with reading the expansive menu that Fresh has to offer.

There’s 21 different types of baguette combinations, as well as nine types of salad bowls and an entire board for Vegetarian and Vegan options. The indecisive trait in me was having a field day.

I eventually made my choice once getting to the counter: a smoked salmon and cream cheese brown baguette with salad and honey mustard dressing. Delicious.

It was impossible not to be tempted by the array of chocolate goodies which begged for my attention as they lay neatly behind the glass counter so I picked myself up a Terry’s Chocolate Orange brownie and vowed to myself the calories didn’t matter as this was important, investigative work.

My baguette was made right in front of me by the smiley workers who didn’t seem at all fazed by the lengthy queue which was still swimming down the arcade and within minutes I had it in my hands.

Taste test

The salmon was perfection

The company certainly lives up to it’s name, the ingredients were all extremely fresh and you could taste the quality. The smoked salmon was to die for and the salad added a healthy, crunchy touch.

They also don’t skimp with the filling. There was so much filling that it was practically spilling out of my baguette, (which was lovely and warm by the way; it’s a massive bonus point from me).

It also made me feel full for hours which is something to note so no need to spend money on snacks afterwards.

My friend had the cajun chicken which was too spicy apparently, (she orders lemon and herb at Nando’s for reference).

Overall thoughts

£6.40 for a baguette is quite pricey for a student budget and queuing for an hour isn’t exactly ideal when you have a mountain of lectures and seminars to catch up on.

The lack of seating is also definitely worth mentioning. Sitting on a public bench in the centre of town while trying to eat a messy baguette isn’t very fun, especially now we’re entering into winter.

However, it was really tasty and it’s always good to try something new. There’s also lots of items on the menu which you couldn’t necessarily buy and make yourself – (hence the smoked salmon choice, that shit’s expensive) – so it was nice getting to eat something I don’t usually have.

It’s especially a good shout if you’re Vegetarian or Vegan and it was really refreshing to see them offer so many options for specific diets.

The brownie was also incredible, and it was worth queueing alone just for that, to be honest.

If you’re looking for a substantial lunch, and if you’ve got an hour to spare, I would definitely  recommend giving this place a visit; just bring friends or headphones to kill the queuing time.

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