I love seeing new independents open in Cardiff. As a city, I believe we’re quite welcoming towards them and we truly wish to see them succeed. At least, that’s certainly how I feel. This is particularly true for Cardiff’s newest venue, Blanche Bakery which opened its doors on December 16. I was lucky enough to be invited to its pre-opening event on Friday 15 and I was very much looking forward to seeing what it has to offer.
As a fully vegan bakery and coffee shop, Blanche crowdfunded money to be able to finish the project and open the store this December, bringing its gorgeous treats to the people of Cardiff. Based on 16 Mackintosh Place, this quaint little bakery is very much a contrast to the takeaway venues which surrounds it. Instead, its exterior is fresh and inviting in appearance with a classy font announcing its arrival.
When I walked in, I was greeted by the friendly smiles of the two owners, Amy-Rose Hopkins and Remed Aran. A young couple in their 20s, Amy-Rose and Remed started this venture a year ago as a pop-up and have been so successful that they’ve now been able to set up their own store, securing a permanent home for themselves in the city centre.
On arrival, we were greeted with a festive mulled drink and under the small Christmas tree in the window were gift boxes with all of the invitee’s names on. Inside the box, there were four different cakes: a chocolate brownie, a chocolate cupcake, a vanilla cupcake and a seasonal cupcake. This was such an incredibly personal touch which I adored and to me, it demonstrated straight away that Blanche bakery cares about its customers and is a quality brand.
The bakery prepares its food every morning, meaning that the food is always fresh and served to a high standard. Ready for our visit, there was a selection of sandwiches spread out across the tables, ready for us to sample. For my first treat, I tried the full festive, which would cost £3.50 when cold or £4 when hot. As it was a vegan sandwich, I was slightly cautious and was worried it would be a bit plain, but it really did taste like Christmas in a sandwich, made up of vegetables and what appeared to be a vegan nut roast. Whatever it was, I am completely sold on this one.
I also managed to try the Jamaican tofu sandwich which costs £3 when cold or £3.50 when hot. This was my favourite sandwich of the evening – absolutely delicious! The tofu was melt-in-your-mouth good at it was incredibly flavoursome – not something I would have expected from a vegan sandwich. I know I’ll certainly be ordering this one on my next visit.
But it wasn’t just savoury goodies on offer. We also had chocolate chunk cookies to sample. They were a lot thinner than cookies I’m used to, having more of a crunchy texture. Yet, this was really quite lovely and made me crave a nice cup of tea for dunking purposes.
But as well as enjoying the delicious food, I also spent some time looking around the store and seeing all of its decor. Let me start by saying, Blanche is truly an Instagrammers dream. With the clean white walls and touches of nature including plants and an artificial plant wall, I can already imagine countless customers coming through the doors and snapping pictures of their lattes or delicious cakes. But one of my favourite features is the luminous pink sign which says ‘but first, coffee’. This honestly speaks to me, especially on a Monday morning, or any morning for that matter. The whole of the decor looks like it comes from a 1975 music video and it’s easy to tell that each feature has been carefully selected.
However, one of the most personal parts of the decor is a print full of names, framed next to the gorgeous coffee machine. The names on this list were all crucial to the opening of Blanche as they were all involved in the crowdfunding campaign which helped bring the owners across the finish line and make this dream a reality. This is an incredibly sweet touch and allows these people to be part of its journey as the bakery continues to grow.
There isn’t an incredibly large amount of seating available with just four main seating areas available, which means that the venue is able to feel quite cosy and relaxed but also spacious, meaning I didn’t feel at all claustrophobic but I felt more at ease and at home in this lovely space, especially thanks to its friendly owners. And of course after the evening, I went home and shared around my box of cakes with my boyfriend and his family.
I’m so glad that I had the chance to visit this new venue for its opening night and I’m quite certain that it’s a place that I’ll be revisiting over and over again if not for the delicious dairy free cakes then certainly for the Instagram shots. This is a refreshing addition to Cardiff’s food scene and I wish these guys all the best in their new venture.