If you live locally, La Cuina is exactly what you’d want on your doorstep. The kind of place you could easily see yourself becoming a regular.
And if you’re visiting Cardiff, it’s exactly the kind of place you’d tell your friends about when you got home- dare we say you’d feel a little smug that you’d found it? A cosy corner of Catalonia, somewhere where the welcome is warm and you leave full and content.
Owner Montserrat Prat made the city her home many years ago, and La Cuina has been a Cardiff gem since 2012, innovating with a deli, wine tastings and cookery courses. The Spectator praised lunch here as one of the year’s best- ‘We ate croquetas, hake and drank a lovely dessert wine from the Pyrenean foothills…and before we left we applauded the chef’.
The menu comes from Montserrat’s memories of cooking on the family farm as a youngster- not some exercise in nostalgia, but her homage to a time when we were more connected to our food. A way of life that is disappearing, a time before food became corporate and so many of us became separated from how it is farmed and produced.
Head Chef Samir works with Montserrat on a menu which changes frequently, so you might find sobrassada with goats cheese and honey; or mackerel in a tart pickle; or octopus with hummus and paprika; or crisp croquettes stuffed with anything from goat to spinach to ceps. Montserrat talks of striving for “the beautiful ordinary” and it makes perfect sense here.
You can happily limit yourself to a roam around these tapas, or use them as starters before indulging yourself with mains. Which brings us to a signature La Cuina dish: shoulder of Aragon milk-fed mountain lamb for two, marinated then slow-cooked for seven hours before being roasted with root vegetables until tender, aromatic. And sometimes, isn’t sharing eating out in its best form?
Wine matters here, too: La Cuina works directly at ‘cellar door’ level with Catalan micro-producers who are proud of their ancestry. You’ll find Priorat reds, delicate whites and the iconic Cava, in varieties from young to Reserva and Gran Reserva.
La Cuina brings you cooking full of flavour and heart, and wine with a sense of local identity. It is exactly the kind of locally-owned restaurant every city deserves.
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