Cardiff has an abundance of Italian restaurants, many of which are rather average. Café Minuet is definitely one of the better Italians around and it also sports a unique theme.
The café is located in Castle Arcade, right across the road from the entrance to Cardiff Castle. This location is very central and convenient yet manages to make diners feel detached from the hustle of the city outside. Café Minuet is a small and independently owned café which tends to be very busy during lunchtime (it is not open for dinner, unfortunately) but the staff and owner are always friendly and the service is excellent.
The café has a musical theme, with many of the items on the menu named after composers. One can enjoy the food in the café along with classical music playing in the background. Interior décor is also splendid and fits well with the theme, as can be seen above. Seating is available both inside and outside the café. Space is rather limited inside the café and the tables are close together, but it avoids being uncomfortable or awkward.
During our time here, we’ve tried several items that Café Minuet has to offer. Pictured above is a Cheese, Mushroom and Pepperoni Toasted Slipper. Priced at £3.90, this toasted ciabatta sandwich was freshly prepared and served warm. It is excellent for a snack and for those in a rush who would prefer something to take away.
Café Minuet’s Minestrone soup was a really good deal at £5.00. It came with excellent home-made garlic bread. The garlic bread was freshly baked and one of the better tasting garlic breads we’ve had in a while! The minestrone soup came in a rather big bowl and there was a generous amount of vegetables in it. One particular nice touch to the soup was the sprinkling of cheddar cheese on the top. The soup was really good and really value for money. If not sharing, the soup and garlic bread alone is bound to make most people full.
This is the Spaghetti Bolognese which was priced at £5.90. The bolognese in Café Minuet is made using pork mince as opposed to beef mince and is garnished with parmesan cheese. The pasta here is always top notch and has that home-cooked feeling to it. The spaghetti used in Café Minuet is thinner than usual and always served al dente. The bolognese specifically was mild with neither pork nor tomato being too overpowering. It was good, but one of us thought it could have been richer.
A very popular item from Café Minuet is the James Bowman. For £6.50, one would get a baked penne dish in a light cream sauce with spinach, tomato and two types of cheese. Taste-wise, this dish was excellent. The sauce was not too creamy and the spinach added a distinct savoury flavour to overall taste of the dish. The spinach was my favourite part, personally! The cheese cannot be faulted as well. Usually baked pasta dishes have the problem of causing people to feel surfeited by the excessive cheese and cream, but the James Bowman managed to avoid being one of those. We did not get tired of eating this dish even towards the end!
A favourite of ours is the Spaghetti Lucullo, priced at £6.20. This spaghetti dish was served with prawns along with a tomato, cream, garlic and chilli base. The light tomato and cream base was light and the chilli lent a hint of spiciness to the excellent sauce. The Spaghetti Lucullo is a frequent order for us!
Café Minuet is definitely a gem and serves up some great Italian in this city. We enjoy it for its homely and relaxing atmosphere along with great inexpensive Italian food. If any readers here are ever in Cardiff, be sure to check it out!
42 Castle Arcade,