Monday, September 09, 2019

Market value

The Old Brewery Quarter's loss is most certainly Roath's gain, but personally speaking it's a real shame that Sticky Fingers has moved from the city centre to the 'burbs. In its original location just off St Mary's Street, the street food bar - which I reviewed back in May - was perfect for a quick pre-gig bite and pint, a significant cut above anything else on offer. But the doors closed at the end of August and it has since reopened in its new home, the former Varsity pub in Roath - with local food blogger Gourmet Gorro one of the first visitors.

Whatever the reason for the relocation, it certainly can't have been lack of custom. Crippling overheads and rent, perhaps? If so, there's a bit of an irony in Sticky Fingers getting a mention in this Independent article about how food market halls offer pop-up owners the opportunity of permanent premises without the cost and risk associated with setting up a fully fledged restaurant on their own.

As a diner, too, places like Sticky Fingers have huge appeal in that they can cater to a wide range of different tastes while allowing everyone to eat together, and the dishes are generally less expensive than they would be in a conventional bricks-and-mortar restaurant.

Here in Canton we currently have a pop-up equivalent of Sticky Fingers, Street Food Circus - it's due to close at the end of September, but fingers crossed it might take up permanent residence here. With Nook now open at Victoria Park alongside The Dough Thrower, Bwydiful, Bloc and Pettigrew, though, and Hard Lines on the way, perhaps us Cantonians shouldn't be too greedy.

Meanwhile, what of the city centre? St George's Market in Belfast shows that a traditional market can host a whole array of foodie traders, even if only on Sundays. Might Cardiff Central Market go one better? It's already home to Hard Lines, Ffwrnes and Cheese Pantry, and there are a number of empty units that could be occupied without pushing out long-standing traders or fundamentally transforming the character of the market. Here's hoping.

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