Skip to main content

Did you know that the only Maltese bakery in Wales is in a street outside the main town center of Cardiff University Students’ Union?

And, unless you’ve traveled to Malta before, they probably serve some of the tastiest pastries you’ve ever had.

McSims, which opened on Senghenydd Road in January, serves a range of pastizzi, pies, sausage rolls and other Maltese specialties including timpana, a Bolognese baked macaroni dish, and Kinnie, a bittersweet carbonated drink made from bitter oranges and wormwood extract.

McSims can be found in a small unit of Cardiff University Students’ Union

Read more: The Cardiff chef who is one of the UK’s rising stars thanks to his Mexican barbecue

The signature pastry on their menu is pastizz, a savory pastry, stuffed with a range of fillings from ricotta and split peas to chicken and beef curry. Traditionally made with filo pastry, they are folded into different shapes depending on the filling they contain.

I tried two different varieties, the creamy ricotta and the velvety curried spinach and split peas, and both were delicious. Served hot, the parcels of crispy, buttery, flaky pastry were well stuffed with filling. They brought down a treat as a mid-morning snack.

Ricotta and Spinach Pastizz from McSims
Crispy, buttery, flaky parcels are delicious

McSims is owned by Libyan-born Adnan Arashi. The idea of ​​opening a Maltese bakery came to him when he had a conversation with his business partner from Malta.

“My partner Fabrizio is based in Malta where he already owns McSims. One day we were talking together and decided to open a café that sells pastizzi,” he says.

Read more: Brother and sister open new wine bar and cafe in former Cardiff brothel

Cabinet display at McSims Cardiff
McSims serves a range of pastizzi, pies, sausage rolls and other Maltese specialties

“We started looking for a store during lockdown because we thought there was an opportunity to find a good location then rather than being scared.”

Adnan, who did regular business in Malta in the early 2000s, speaks Maltese and is happy to be able to use the language again when Maltese customers visit the store.

“Now, because it’s been a very long time, I’m very happy that Maltese come to the store and that I can practice my language. He came back to life.

A range of <a class=pastries available at McSims” content=””/>
A range of pastries available at McSims

Speaking of the Maltese population in Cardiff, Adnan said: “There is a large Maltese community in Cardiff which I found out about after opening the shop. Many of them come to support us.

“For the Maltese, the most popular item on our menu is the plain ricotta pastizz; we call it cheesecake. It’s also very, very popular in Malta.

“We tried to make it a Maltese community store, so I try to tell everyone to come on a Sunday. Maltese families tell me they want to meet more Maltese than they can get to know.

Bottles of Kinnie, a Maltese soft drink
Kinnie is a bittersweet Maltese soft drink

People also come from further afield to eat Adnan’s pastizzi.

“The Maltese who have heard of us in other cities, whenever they have work or something else in Cardiff, they come to see us. They have always been very supportive,” he says.

However, it’s not just the Maltese who enjoy McSims’ pastries; the students also lap them.

“Students in Cardiff like the size of our pastizzi because it’s a snack and the dough is light. They love it,” he says.

While McSims in Cardiff is Adnan’s first bakery, he is already looking to open more stores across the UK.

To receive the latest What’s On newsletter from WalesOnline, click here