Category Archives: Culture

Science Cream

Who doesn’t love ice cream? Well, I love ice cream and I have an embarrassing number of loyalty stamps from Science Cream.I recently visited this small shop in Castle Arcade because I love ice cream and I had heard that this ice cream was better than your regular 99.

Screen Shot 2016-04-06 at 10.47.16The first thing you notice when you enter is how light and bright the interior appears; the white makes the place feel scientific and this affirmed by the ‘ice cream makers’ who wear lab coats. This adds to the sense of fun and excitement you feel when you enter.

It is an experience that involves all your senses; the sweet smell of the ice cream, the lively interior, the eerie smoke. Oh yes! When you enter, the area where they make the ice cream is barred off with clear protective boards with mixers, metal bowls and the key ingredient – Liquid Nitrogen.

Not only does it make the place utterly unique, it also is there for a practical reason – in a science experiment gone wrong, someone discovered that liquid nitrogen, if added to ice cream improves the flavour. The liquid nitrogen creates miniscule ice crystals which quickly evaporates after touching the ice-cream. Liquid nitrogen boils at -196C, meaning you won’t be able to taste it but this is what causes the really cool smoke, that bobs and swirls around the ‘scientists’ that create this delicious treat.

When I visited, there were so many options to choose from; the classic Madagascan vanilla remained but sat alongside Breakfast Cereal and Caramelised Peanut Butter. The changes change weekly but the classics always feature accompanied by new adventurous flavours.

So, I am not the best at choosing but it was close to Valentine’s Day so I decided go for the special – Cupid’s Straw-Brûlée (Small: £3.95, Large: £4.95) which was Coconut or Custard Vanilla Crème anglaise ice cream, (I went for coconut) topped with Italian meringue marshmallow dipped strawberries & fresh raspberry sauce. Screen Shot 2016-04-06 at 10.47.44

It was absolutely delicious – much creamier than regular ice cream and the toppings complimented rather than overpowered the ice cream. This balance means that I will definitely be visiting here again.

I loved visiting Science Cream, the atmosphere was amazing – fun but I also felt like I was learning about Sceince, the décor is lovely and the ice cream should be called ‘really, really nice cream.’ Better yet, it is only a stones throw away from Mrs Potts and as it is right next to the castle, on a sunny day, it would be great to enjoy this treat sat outside Cardiff Castle.

As the weather is only just entering spring, I think I will relax inside but in my opinion, although it may be cold outside, it is never too cold for ice cream.Screen Shot 2016-04-06 at 10.46.48

Science Cream Ice Cream Parlour is located at 28 Castle Arcade. All details were correct as of Feb 2016.

By Elouise Hobbs

Castle Coch and the Taff Trail

Are you faced with the dilemma of what to do on a summers day in Cardiff? Do you ever think – as the weather is getting warmer, the days are getting longer, I feel like going on an adventure to a fairy-tale castle?
Well, although this may sound like wishful thinking or the beginning of Enid Blyton’s Famous Five, just outside Cardiff City centre lies a castle that looks as if it has been plucked out of a Disney fairy-tale and is easily assessable by bus or bike.


On a sunny day in Cardiff, I like get on my bike and go for a ride along the Taff trail. The Taff trail is a route between the Southern Cardiff Waterfront, Cardiff Bay to the Northern Market Town of Beacon. Throughout the trail there are many ‘green fingers’ where the trail appears to bring the countryside into the town. In such an area, only 6 miles along the trail (it is over 55 miles in length) lies Castle Coch.

The trail is mostly flat and an easy ride for everyone, until you get to the castle. Fools (myself included) have tried to cycle the hill to the castle, but it is a very steep incline and not for the faint hearted. It is probably quicker to just get off your bike and push it the last 200 meters up the hill.

The first time I got to the top and saw the castle, I gasped at its beauty (in-between pants from walking up the hill!). When you get to the top, there is a grassy area, with great views, where I sat and enjoyed a much deserved picnic.

The castle, which translates to the Red Castle, is named after the rough rubble sandstone in which it was built. The history of the castle is intriguing; the castle was probably founded by a Welsh lord in c1240-65 but although its foundations may be ancient, the castle that lies on top certainly is not.


Built by Victorian ‘eccentric genius’ William Burges, he let his imagination run wild when he was building the castle for the the 3rd Marquess of Bute, John Patrick Crichton-Stuart. He was inspired by the Romantic view of the middle ages and was influenced by gothic trends of the time.

This is reflected in the interior of the castle which, is in one word, breathtaking – the furniture is opulent, the wallpaper handmade and the ceilings wouldn’t look out of place in the Notre Dame.

Although it is free to visit the outside and walk round the grounds, there is a small entrance fee to get into the castle itself (adults: £6, children: £4.20) but you definitely get your admission’s worth. It is open all year round, 10am to 4pm most days with extended opening hours in the summer.

A visit to Castle Coch is lovely way to spend a summers day; you get to see a bit of Wales, get some exercise and learn some Welsh history.

I know what I will be doing next time the sun visits Cardiff!

Castle Coch is located Tongwynlais, Cardiff CF15 7JS. All details were correct as of Feb 2016.

By Elouise Hobbs

Cardiff Castle

Perhaps the most photographed building of the Welsh capital; Cardiff Castle is located right in the centre of town, about a 10-minute walk from the Bunkhouse.


We took a tour on a lovely spring day, the sun bellowing down on the old castle stones, with every inch of it looking perfectly picturesque. It was the perfect occasion to climb onto the motte to see the whole of Cardiff below, and to really appreciate the vast ground that the castle sits on.

But if you happen to be in Cardiff during winter; don’t fear. Being one of the first places to have central heating in the Victorian era; the extravagant gold decorated rooms are warmer than you would expect.

The average entry tour (£12) allows access unto the grounds of the castle and the fort but perhaps is a little limiting. So we opted for the guided house tour instead. Although being an additional £3, gave us access to the opulent rooms Lord Bute and his family occupied, as well as an enthusiastic tour guide; who was filled with knowledge about every aspect of the castle and its previous occupants.


If you visiting Cardiff in the spring and summer months, take advantage of the Wartime Shelters tour, which gives you insight into what it was like to hide in the castle during the air raids of the Second World War. Although there is no additional charge for this tour, it is however only available on the weekends, and on school holidays.

The café situated in the visitor centre is nothing to rave about, good for perhaps a quick coffee or to rest after an afternoon of wandering around the grounds. But you are looking a good lunch then we suggest heading over to Pettigrew Tea Rooms in Bute Park for some lovely afternoon tea (have a look at our review of Pettigrew Tea Rooms below).

As an introduction into Cardiff and its origins, the Castle is your best option. The décor will mesmerise you, its religious history will charm you and its ancestral history will enlighten you.


Garland’s Eatery and Coffee House

One of the best things about Cardiff City Centre, are the quirky hidden gems you can always manage to find in one of the Arcades. By complete fluke, I found one of these in the Duke Street Arcade called Garlands.

What makes Garlands a little bit different is the amount of local Welsh dishes advertised on the menu – and better yet, everything is under £9!! A lot of travellers staying at Bunkhouse ask us where to find good Welsh food, and from now on I will send them all here! Situated a mere 4 minute walk from our Hostel it is the perfect place to get coffee, breakfast, brunch and lunch!

The Duke Street Arcade in itself is jam packed with Vintage and Antique shops. Along with bunting and décor very similar to Bunkhouse, it gives off a welcoming and warm vibe. For any of you Instagram lovers; get your filters ready – because this is the place to be!

duke street

For food, I had ‘Good Morning Mumbles’ which is a Welsh Breakfast that consists of cockles (sea food) & fresh laver bread (sea weed) served on fresh laver bread pancakes, crispy bacon and black pudding served with a fried egg. Perfect way to start the day! They also serve a variety of teas and coffees. I had the Lapsang Souchong, which is a black smoked tea. This was presented in a charming little teapot, which set the tone for the rest of the meal.


Garlands is open from 9-5 Monday-Saturday and 10-4 on Sundays. Breakfast starts form as little as £1.95 – with different toasts and cereal on offer. Portion sizes are generous and the atmosphere is cute and quaint. Very friendly staff and fast service!


So, if you’re in Cardiff and looking to go somewhere quirky, affordable and WELSH then this is the place for you!

Jessie & Helen – Bros for life.

Garlands eatery & coffee house
4 Duke Street Arcade

Vegetarian Food Studio

Nominated in the Times, Guardian and Observer food lists.

Located on Penarth Road, a mere 10-minute walk from the town centre, the award-winning Vegetarian Food Studio is a well-kept secret for those in the know. Even the most dedicated meat eaters will find something delicious to tempt their appetites with the wonderful array of dishes on offer.


The hugely extensive menu, which includes both South Indian, North Indian (Gujarati) and a selection of popular Oriental dishes, offers both vegetarian and vegan cuisine made with fresh, quality ingredients for a budget price.

The atmosphere is friendly and welcoming and the staff are always on hand to offer advice. Inside, the décor is understated, except for a few revered deities and the odd embroidered wall hanging, and the lighting is stark, but this is not about ambience, this is all about the food…

To start we had the VFS Platter Mix, (£4.95 per person), which includes a selection of their most popular starters: Samosas, Bhajia, Kachori, Onion Pakora, Atom Bombs* and Bateda Wada. These are served with delicious, tangy tamarind chutney. N.B. This is a very generous starter so make sure you leave some room for the main course!


*Warning! Their famous Atom Bombs, (baby potatoes filled with a fiery garlic chutney), are not for the faint-hearted and are guaranteed to make you break into a sweat! Be warned, the heat is slow and lingering!

For our main course we ordered a selection of dishes to share; Paneer Capsicum, Ringan No Oro and Aloo Palak, (all £4.95 each), plus a portion of pilau rice and Peshwari naan.

Paneer Capsicum, (Indian cottage cheese cooked with peppers and chillies in a tomato sauce), is one of our go-to dishes. The sauce is deliciously rich and tangy and the peppers succulent and caramelised. We highly recommend it! If you like aubergine dishes, Ringan No Oro (barbecue roasted aubergine cooked with onions, coriander, tomatoes and chillies), will not disappoint. The consistency is similar to the Turkish dish baba ghanoush, but the flavours are distinctly Indian – spicy and delicious! And finally, Aloo Palak, a delicately spiced dish of fresh spinach and potatoes is a fantastic way of getting your daily dose of iron!



We were so stuffed after our feast we couldn’t contemplate eating dessert, but there are plenty of tasty options to choose from. There is also a counter offering colourful Indian sweets to take away – my personal favourite is the pistachio flavour.

If you’re on a budget a very popular choice for a bit of everything is the Gujarati Thali, which comes with a huge selection of dishes, all for £6.95! One thing to note is that they do not sell alcohol, but diners are more than welcome to bring their own. In fact, the manager will happily advise you where to go to buy your booze!

115-117 Penarth Road
029 2061 7534


located about 10 minutes walk from Bunkhouse.




Mowlana Persian Restaurant

A taste of Persian culture by Emanuella Mutulescu


On a usual day, do you want something a bit different? Do you want to be nicely surprised? A fresh face among the Cardiff’s restaurants, the Persian Mowlana is a place that will impress your expectations. Situated 15 minutes walk from the city centre, Mowlana restaurant is a family business ran by two persian brothers.

As you enter the restaurant you are welcomed by a clean environment decorated with delicate persian elements. The friendly staff will do the best they can to find the right place for you, so that you can make the most out of your visit, and that is just the start of a very pleasant experience.

Beside the quick service you will be very happy to find that every penny of yours is highly rewarded by a generous portion of food. Right from the starters you can get a glimpse of their unique culture. The food is absolutely delicious with a vast variety of vegetarian and persian meat specialities.

For the meat lovers I strongly recommend the lamb course which contains two large pieces of minced lamb, with a side dish of naan bread or saffron flavoured rice. Apart from this you also get a fresh salad mix to complement the meal.

As an extra on the week days between 12 o’clock and 4 o’clock you can get some good value for money deals. It’s a nice place to have your lunch in, to spend your evening with the family or have a good fun with your friends.

Make sure you book a table and try it for yourself. You won’t be disappointed!


Mowlana Persian Restaurant
2-4 Four Elms Road, Cardiff CF24 1LE

02920 480100
Ask at reception for more details or help on how to find Mowlana.