Saturday, 23 July 2011

Allen's Bakery, Arran Place, Roath, Cardiff Review

I’m so excited. I’ve definitely never been this excited about writing a blog post before.....  Who wouldn’t be when you’ve just returned from a bakery round the corner from your house that you didn’t even know it existed until 2 days ago? It’s not like it’s just been there for a few months either. I’m told it’s been there for over 100 years. I can’t even remember how I found out it. I think I stumbled across a link to a map to of it on Google but there’s really very little else about it on t’interweb. I was met with a wall of silence on Twitter when I asked whether anyone had been. It all feels a little bit like the Goonies and One-Eyed Willie’s treasure. It was there all along just waiting to be found. I’m doing the truffle shuffle right now I’m that happy.

Allen’s bakery is hidden down a side alley off Arran Place. It’s in fact located in what is the rear of number 11 Arran Place. As I approached at around 8am this morning I could hear voices emanating from what looked like someone’s garage and saw a slow trickle of people heading in its direction. As I got closer I began to smell the familiarly tantalising waft of fresh baking.

And there it was. Everything I hoped for and more. A charming but ageing sign heralded the presence of Allen’s bakery. In the front room of the shop stood a baker in whites separating bread whilst in the back room dough was being mixed, fresh loaves were sitting on a rack, bread ovens stood open, fresh pastries lay on the table and a fridge of cream cakes waited to be eaten.

I was so overcome by excitement that I bought a pain au chocolat, pointed at a granary loaf, paid £1.80, took a couple of photos and exited swiftly. In my haste I forgot to ask all the interesting questions about the history of the shop and whether it’s been in the same family all this time. These are questions that I’ll have to ask when I go back next week.

As soon as I got home, I unwrapped my bounty. The pain au chocolat was perfect; crisp on the outside, soft on the inside with melted chocolate oozing out of it. I had to have a slice of bread and butter as well. You know just to check it was as good as it looks (bear in mind I’ve already had my breakfast). And it did. Just look at the photo.

With all the recent talk of the homogenisation of the high street in Cardiff (I’m referring specifically to the opening of Gregg’s the bakers on Wellfield road and the rumours of a Tesco opening on Cathedral road in Pontcanna), it’s clear that supporting local bakers, butchers and grocers is vital if we want them to be around for generations to come. Allen’s seems like a wonderful place and I hope it’s going to be around for another 100 years.

The details: 
Allen's Bakery, Rear of 11 Arran Place, Roath, Cardiff , Opening hours: Monday - Saturday 7AM - 1PM


  1. We went today after we saw your post. It is fantastic and would have never known about Allen's if you hadn't written this. Thanks very much!

  2. Awesome. Glad I helped you discover Allen's and glad you enjoyed it! Thanks for leaving a comment.

  3. Ohh wow this looks amazing...please tell me it's still there!!

    Laura x

  4. Yes. Still there. Hopefully it will be there for another 100 years!

  5. I am lucky enough to live next door to Allen's. The smell kills me every morning. I've tried most of their gorgeous produce over the years, here's my wishlist:

    * Wholemeal organic loaf: like eating savoury cake. Best toasted.
    * White floury bap: great with an organic burger.
    * Raspberry and rhubarb madeira slice: heaven.
    * Chicken tikka pasty: good with a German lager from The Bottle Shop, Albany Rd
    * Pizza dough ball - make the best pizza in cardiff for 60p a shot.

  6. Awesome tips. Thanks. The raspberry and rhubarb madeira slice, the chicken tikka pasty and the pizza dough sounds right up my street.

    Living next to Allen's must be heaven. I'd roll out of bed in my pyjamas every morning and buy 5 almond croissants and a Chelsea bun!

  7. I used to live on Roath court road with this bakery right behind my back garden. Always ( dangerously) bought my breakfast here before heading to work. I was so sorry to leave but made sure i pointed it out o the people buying my flat from me!

  8. I'm only about 5 minutes away but wish I lived closer! I think I'd be there every day too if it was at the bottom of my garden. Saying that I'd have to roll to work because I'd no longer fit in my car.

  9. We used Allen's bakery for a long time, had our own catering business but if you really LOVE bread, you should try Hungry Planet Bakery who sell the most fantastic sourdough bread every other week at The St Mary St open market and from their shop in Adamsdown.

  10. @Judith - Great! Thanks for the recommendation. Love a good sourdough.

  11. Thanks, we have been trying to find it but couldn't figure out where it was. We will go there straight away!!!!!

  12. Used to live around the corner and before that on Arran Street. Now I live in Cathays and don't get there as much. I know you wouldn't go to a bakery for one normally, but you need to have one of their flapjacks. Need to.

    1. @Mr.P - I LOVE their flapjacks - both the chocolate and fruit varieties are epic!