THEY SAY… “a relaxed, modern dining room and wine house specialising in cooking impeccable Spanish and Welsh produce on the parilla grill over different types of wood.”
WE SAY… Let’s get the obvious bit out of the way first: Asador 44 isn’t a steakhouse. It serves steak, obviously – we’ll come back to that- but it’s a true Asador, not just in name.
We would be missing the point in recognising Asador 44 as ‘the best steakhouse in Cardiff – their steak is the best in the city, hands down, but this isn’t a steakhouse. It’s an Asador in the northern Spanish tradition, somewhere which prizes its method of cooking because it marries so well with the best produce. At the heart of the restaurant is their parilla grill, which is equally at home lending a smoky depth to fish or vegetables or suckling pig or lamb as it is to steak.
Choose from Welsh breeds or the jewel in the crown, the prized imported Spanish beef Rubia Gallega Galician Blond, from older animals further aged in their eye-catching display cabinet. Ideally served rare, and in huge chuleton chops for sharing, this is beef to be savoured and to be reckoned with. Beef – if you’ll pardon the expression – with legs.
Typically it arrives removed from the bone and presented in thick ruby-red slices. It looks an absolute treat, generously flecked with sea salt and cooked over charcoal, forming a crust while remaining rare in the middle. The deep, lasting tang of the meat stays with you, the telltale aged fat a luscious thing and testament to rearing which has taken long, patient years. It’s the opposite of supermarket meat, in other words, rushed on to the shelves for maximum profit.
Beef of this quality is a rare thing indeed, let alone in Cardiff, and deserves to have linger and truly savour a remarkable ingredient.
There’s more. Their £10 set lunch menu is widely regarded as the most appealing in the city centre, with a market fish option among treats like roast duck with Bomba rice or fabada or parilla-roast squash; perhaps mackerel with endive and capers, all from the parilla and all delivered with trademark Asador style.
If you’re eating as a family, don’t worry that this will be inaccessible to little ones. A scaled-down children’s serving is similarly impressive: there’s no patronising younger diners here with the contents of freezer bags.