Opposite the Principality Stadium is where you’ll find Bar 44 Cardiff. From their origins in Cowbridge, they have now have three branches- including a rare example of a Welsh restaurant successfully exporting itself to Bristol- and of course their nearby flagship, Asador 44 on Quay Street.
Tapas y copas goes the name. Bar 44 doesn’t lazily replicate memories of Spanish holidays but do something more impressive: they take inspiration from Spain and produce truly memorable cooking. There’s no secret formula to their success: they have built their reputation on attention to detail and respect for the flavours of Spain.
If one measure of their dedication is the lengths they go to to find and meet their suppliers, frequent trips to Spain ensure they are getting the finest produce they can find. These are lengths that many others just wouldn’t go to, and it’s one of the things which sets the Bar 44 group apart.
All of which mean little if you can’t taste the difference on your plate. But you’re in safe hands: here you’ll find a wealth of small dishes packed with attention to texture and flavour, from their jamón croquetas to ox cheek in Pedro Ximenez, ideal for sharing, to fine charcuterie and salt aged flat iron steak and mojo verde.
The menu is strongly influenced by what’s in season, but look out for evergreen favorites like egg and caramelised onion tortilla, or their award-winning triple cooked patatas bravas and sherry alioli, or cider-poached chorizo and jamón ibérico croquetas; or crispy hake with alioli and piquillo peppers or whole wild red prawns in garlic and chilli.
Untypically for a Spanish menu, there’s a substantial vegan menu. Non meat-eaters will find themselves very well look after here- play ‘heat level roulette’ with Padrón peppers, or enjoy tomatoes with a pine nut and moscatel dressing; or roast vegetable pisto and wild mushrooms a la plancha, or a radicchio, white bean and moscatel salad.
We should also mention their renowned Sunday roasts- chorizo Yorkshires, roasties cooked in Ibérico fat, and manchego cauliflower cheese- which lends a distinctively Spanish spin to the classic British weekend.
There’s so much to look out for here. The ‘copas’ are no afterthought, with distinctive cocktails and a wide range of gins, and even their own sherry. Bar 44 Cardiff leaves little to chance: its reputation is no accident.
We can’t profile Bar 44 without mentioning one of the brightest lights to emerge from the challenges of 2020: Mercado 44 makes much of their range available to you at home, such as heir award-winning sauces, whole Spanish hams, their trademark beef, Segovian suckling pigs and their own olive oil and manzanilla sherry collection. There’s even delivery on a national scale. The shop reopens every Sunday at 9am with the order deadline set at Wednesday 12 noon for delivery/collection on a Friday.
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