Popular Caribbean restaurant closes in Cathays

Street food favourite Irie Shack survived the pandemic but increased costs have become too much

POPULAR Caribbean restaurant Irie Shack has closed its Cathays venue — but is set to reopen a takeaway in Cardiff Bay and will sell Jamaican patties from a bakery in Roath.

The owner is hoping to find a different site for the restaurant later on.

Irie Shack’s street food restaurant moved from Cwmbran in April 2015 and has since become a popular eatery among students and locals alike.

Rising rent and maintenance and other costs mean remaining on Woodville Road has become too expensive.

“We somehow survived the pandemic but it’s financial drain plus the problem of being unable to have any music outside and having to keep the volume right down inside was a killer,” said a statement on the restaurant’s Facebook page.

“It just become unviable. We could no longer afford the rent, the rates, maintenance costs, the huge increase in utility bills, cost of the imported spices, vegetables etc plus the massive hike in the price of goat, chicken, lamb and red snapper.”

Irie Shack ran a takeaway in Cardiff Bay between December 2015 and 2019. This will reopen and it will start selling patties from a bakery in Roath, said the statement.

Irie Shack’s owner, Iftekhar Haris, said they would be teaming up with award-winning baker Bruno Pinho, of Bruno’s Pastel de Nata in Roath, to sell Irie Shack patties.

The bakery and takeaway will be trading after a couple of weeks of preparation, he added.

Woodville Road staff will be offered jobs at the Cardiff Bay takeaway, the bakery, or the company’s Newport restaurant.

Over the years, Irie Shack’s Woodville Road restaurant has held live music events, been visited by celebrity guests — and even catered for Sean Paul at the Motorpoint Arena in August 2022.

The restaurant’s lease runs out on March 31 but the site has already closed. The statement said: “It’s goodbye for now but we hope to be back very soon.”