Showing posts with label Tapas. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Tapas. Show all posts

Friday, 1 February 2013

Amor Amor - Bar 44 Penarth launches

Since confessing my love for sherry on this blog last year, this Cardiff food blogger was thrilled when a number of kindred spirits who have contacted me on Twitter. If you are one of those people, or if you just like good food and great drinks, then the second Bar 44 which opened it's doors in December will be of interest.
Classic Tio Pepe and Soberano brandy adverts
Classic Tio Pepe and Soberano brandy adverts

Owned and run by brothers Tom and Owen Morgan, Bar 44 Cowbridge was already a well regarded fixture on the food scene in South Wales, when the announcement came last year, that a second bar would be opening, this time in Penarth.
Bar 44 Penarth
Tom (Owner) and Tommy (Head Chef)
at the tapas bar Bar 44 Penarth

This has been a carefully managed expansion. Having built the business from the ground up, and defying expectations over the last 10 years, the brothers are working to ensure that the new offering maintains standards.

The new place bears the marks of their experience, and has a style distinct from the Cowbridge offering. Customers can take a seat at one of the tables or at the bar which runs alongside the open kitchen.

Their recent recruitment drive, adding to an experienced front of house team, resulted in the addition of 3 chefs, all of whom bring experience of fine dining and Michelin level cooking to the table. Only one of these chefs (Rita) had previous experience of Spanish food at this level. Tommy Heaney, the new Head Chef across both sites, has been able to add to an already extensive CV, by way of some time in London with Jose Pizarro. The famous chef just appeared in the bar one day 2 years ago (to Owen's utter amazement!) and has provided valuable advice along the way. The third chef, yet another Tom, is Head Chef for Penarth following 5 years as sous chef at J Sheeky and Scotts.

I was fortunate to be invited along to their launch party last Thursday, co-hosted with Gonzalez Byass and attended by the likes of James Sommerin and Stephen Terry. We had the opportunity to sample some of the tapas as canap├ęs including some amazing jamon croquetas (I have managed to extract a promise of a lesson in croquetas which I intend holding them to!)

I was so impressed that I ended up back there on Saturday, skipping my usual pre-theatre dinner in the Bay in favour of tapas y copas (tapas and drinks) in the bar. We worked our way through a tortilla, some prawn and chorizo croquetas, braised ox cheeks in oloroso with olive oil mash and a goats cheese and it was all excellent.

bar 44 Tapas del dia
Tapas del dia - croquetas essential!
Classic tortilla
Classic tortilla, the mainstay of any tapas bar
Balanchares Cordoba
Balanchares Cordoba - goats cheese with a green plum jelly

So what next for the Bar 44 team? For now making a success of the new venture, maintaining quality at Cowbridge, feeding and watering us well is the priority and long may it continue! ¡Salud!

Bar 44 Tapas Penarth on Urbanspoon

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Spanish Eyes - La Cuina tapas review

A couple of weeks ago I took a good friend out for dinner for his birthday. His choice. He chose La Cuina, the new Catalan deli and tapas restaurant in Canton which is where Patagonia used to be. As it was a celebration I wasn't actually planning to blog it but I can't help myself, although the details (and the photos) might be a little sketchy.
La Cuina dining room
La Cuina dining room

 I follow La Cuina on Twitter and the week before they had tweeted that Wednesday is paella night, we booked in for the following Wednesday and I was a tiny bit disappointed to find out that Wednesday night is NOT in fact paella night and the owners were absent, but no matter, tapas is no second best as far as I'm concerned.
Jamon, goats cheese, salad - La Cuina
Serrano ham, goats cheese, salad - La Cuina

We ordered 2 rounds of tapas, a mix of cold tapas (cheeses, ham, olives, tortilla, breads) and hot tapas (croquettas, fried potatoes, chorizo) and a very decent bottle of cava for £17. Apart from the fact that the olives were pitted (why?!?), overall I was impressed with the quality. The fried potatoes with chorizo in particular stood out.

Fried potatoes, croquettas - La Cuina
Fried potatoes, croquettas - La Cuina

Olives - La Cuina
Olives - La Cuina

La Cuina dining room
La Cuina dining room
I liked the dining room, decked out in reclaimed church and school furniture, tastefully understated Farrow and Ball colours and a simple colour scheme in keeping with the simple but tasty food.

La Cuina - deli
La Cuina - deli
For the tapas (7/8 plates), a bottle of cava, a creme catalana and 2 pretty decent sized armagnac the bill came to £57 which I was happy to fork over. Service was attentive and friendly. This is no fine dining but is lovely simple food made with great produce.

There will definitely be a repeat visit soon but next time I'll be calling ahead to book paella!

La Cuina, 11 Kings Road, Canton, Cardiff

029 2019 0265

La Cuina on Urbanspoon
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