Eating out in Cardiff improves: Asador 44
Some will be aware that journalist and former Beard of the Year winner Jay Rayner has something of a ‘down’ on the restaurant culture in Cardiff. Its not that there is nowhere decent to eat but, given, that it is the Welsh Capital, the number and range of restaurants worthy of note is without question on the low side.
Rayner also has an issue about whether he can get something to eat after mid-evening in Cardiff. It is an issue but the City does not have a 24 hour culture in the same way London, for example, has.
Anyway Rayner seems to have vowed not to comment further on Cardiff restaurants but that of course doesn’t stop people like me..
I normally blog on beer and pubs and related issues about which I know a little bit. As it happens there is I think a relation between a rapidly improving beer scene in Cardiff and the start of a rise of a decent restaurant culture.
Asador 44, which is a spin off from the (excellent) Bar 44 Tapas chain (there is a good restaurant around the corner in Westgate St), has recently opened in Quay St, more or less opposite the Principality Stadium. It specialises in grilled or barbecued meat and fish on the Asador grill.
It is on the site of a previous restaurant owned by Welsh brewer Brains. It is within 30 seconds walk of the City Arms, a Brains pub run as craft beer freehouse and Tiny Rebel Cardiff, a bar owned by the now Welsh Regional brewer. Both are to be found in the Good Beer Guide.
The beer scene has improved immeasurably in Cardiff in the last 3 or 4 years. In fact I’d go so far as to say that with Brewdog and Small Bar both within 5 minutes walk there is a beer circuit comparable to any beard and beer bar location to be found in London (where I also live of course).
The point is that the quest for and growing market for good beer in central Cardiff is I think at least in part motoring a similar desire for great food.
Asador 44 is not cheap (although it does an exceptionally good value lunch deal) although suffice to say it would cost a good deal more in London and you wouldn’t be able to get a table with just a few days notice either.
Ive been twice with my partner Megan in the last few weeks. On the first occasion we shared aged steak (served medium rare) off the bone. On the second occasion we shared a leg of milk fed lamb.
Starters and sides are interesting and in the case of the latter compliment the meat. I should add that fish is also a central feature and while I’m hardly the expert here it is also vegan friendly
The Spanish cheese board is well worth sampling too (there is a cheese room).
No doubt the wine range is good but you’ll appreciate from the above that we stuck to beer. Here there is also good news. There is a Barcelona brewed IPA in bottle (6%) and a porter (6.8%). Both score well on Rate Beer.
Eating out in central Cardiff is work in progress. The point is progress is being made and a visit to Asador 44 will make the point