Just before they went into lockdown, Dave and I made an impromptu visit to my favourite Welsh city, Cardiff. We actually went to look at a car, but I can never go anywhere without searching out something delicious to eat. This time, it was Bar 44.
We’ve eaten at Bar 44 in Penarth several times with my family (and enjoyed several rather raucous New Year’s Eve parties there), but have never been into the bigger restaurant in the centre of Cardiff. We’d gone into town to have a drink in Tiny Rebel, but after I’d spotted that Bar 44 was next door, there was no way I was just heading home.
Bar 44 was founded by two brothers with a love of Spanish food and drink. There are now four Bar 44’s across South Wales and the West Country, each with a different menu to showcase the sheer variety of Spanish cuisine.
I usually drink vats of red wine when we eat at Bar 44 in Penarth, but I’ve heard a lot of rave reviews of the white rioja on offer, so opted for a large glass of that. It was still summer last weekend, so the light white was spot on.
The Padron Peppers (£4.50) are a little different from any others I’ve had anywhere else. Padron peppers are usually dredged in salt, with very little spice. The Bar 44 menu warns you that some are hot, some are not. My husband has no head for heat, but we ordered them anyway, as neither of us has ever eaten an especially hot Padron pepper. The menu doesn’t lie. Some are sweet and salty, whereas others will take your head off. Go carefully if you don’t like spice!
I always order a patatas bravas (£4.80) when I have tapas, mostly because I like alioli. The Bar 44 bravas is delicious, but I’m not a massive fan of it being served with the sauce on the side. I want my bravas smothered!
Dave’s favourite tapas dish is always croquettes, so we ordered the Jamon Iberico Croquetas (£5.90). Fluffy, creamy, fit. The Tuna tartare (£8.50) is served in a sauce that is essentially gazpacho, making a great light, summery dish.
The Pedro Ximénez Duroc pork cheek (£8) wasn’t as full of flavour as we’d expected. The white bean salad it comes with was a little simple for our taste, but the cheek itself fell apart beautifully. We both loved the squid dish from the specials, especially the punch of chilli.
Bar 44 is following all the government guidelines on mask-wearing, and track and trace. The NHS check-in QR code is displayed prominently at the main door. All staff were wearing masks correctly and tables were well-spaced out when we visited.
There may be some walk-ins available, but I’d suggest booking. You can book online, and there were plenty of same day tables available when we booked ours.
We paid in full at Bar 44. All opinions are honest and my own. Prices correct at time of writing.