Musings (more like rambling thoughts) of a Cardiff based lawyer obsessed with food and wine
Many of you may be thinking “Hasn’t this place already featured on this blog (on more than one occasion) before?” and you would be absolutely right.
To me, however, the blog is about places I eat in be they the shiney new ones or old favourites as they evolve.
I missed many places during the purgatory that was full lockdown and have been slowly ticking off my post lockdown list of places I have missed the most.
The top three, in no particular order (I love them all equally), are probably the Heathcock, Curado and Asador 44.
I have ticked both Curado Bar (along with Vermut) and the Heathcock off the list and that left Asador 44.
In town, Asador 44 had been pre – lockdown (and will continue to be post this Covid shit show) my go to place (particularly for lunch) for a proper sit down meal.
During lockdown it was a no brainer in terms of buying vouchers which became something to look forward to when we were let out of our gilded cages.
So when relaxation came (albeit it now seems we are going backwards rapidly to the serious detriment of the hospitality business – I may be being thick, but I simply cannot fathom the logic of the 10pm curfew) I duly booked in to the place for a long lunch to spend my vouchers.
The menu has, since pre – lockdown days, been tweaked and very nice those tweaks are too.
We (Mrs. SF, J and I) stated off with an old Asador 44 classic in the form of their charred sourdough with jamón serrano butter and olive oil
Lovely creamy whipped butter, with oddles of salt (I am firmly of the view that butter lacking salt is an “assault” on the very fabric of society by the forces of evil) and generous nuggets of that flavour bomb that is jamón serrano embedded in the mix. The oil had a lovely grassiness to it, with a nice peppery hit as it lingered on the palate and the bread a pleasing chew.
Eating this was like getting a hug from an old friend you havent seen for a while.
Next up was one of the new additions to the Asador 44 menu, with a changing menu item of shellfish on the parilla (£10 a pop). On the day in question, it was mussels – a firm favourite of mine, with great sustainable credentials (lots of shellfish do) for those interested.
We decided on sharing two portions between the three of us.
Good portion size which, with the bread, made for more than enough to share between the three of us.
Gorgeous plump bivalves that had a lovely lick of smoke added to them by dint of being cooked on the parilla.
Whilst it was strange (at least to me) to have a bowl of moules with no liquor, the smoke really worked and enhanced the flavour of the mussels – really simple, but clever stuff. A great addition to the Asador 44 stable this.
On to the mains, there are more tweaks, with the addition of wider (and in some cases cheaper) choices on top of the big hitting aged Galician Blond (still on the board by weight) should you wish to indulge.
A very welcome addition to the mains menu is that of Presa Ibérica de bellota (£20) – a personal favourite of mine.
It just had so much flavour, exuding so much pigginess it almost oinked.
On the list here at £49 (it retails at about £20 – £24 mark , so a pretty fair mark up by UK standards), it seems I snagged the last 75cl bottle of this beauty (sorry guys – couple of magnums left if you are quick), with the list being slightly rejigged.
Shame that, as the Volt 12 is a crackerjack of a wine (hard to sell a Mallorcan red in Cardiff though I suspect and kudos to Asador 44 for at least trying).
Plenty still of interest on the list, especially if you are happy to push the boat out just that little bit.
They say distance makes the heart go fonder and that applies to time as well as space.
The lockdown hiatas has made me appreciate even more what a great place Asador 44 is. Fab food, fab wine and great service – what more can you ask for from a city centre restaurant.
The menu tweaks made during lockdown at Asador 44 are evolution rather than revolution and I think they work rather well.
It would be remiss of me not to mention that the fab Asador 44 menu del día offer is back in play
and so is #mercado44 for your at home goodies needs. I think the tehnical terms for this is huzzah!
In these troubling times, it is places like Asador 44 (and Bar 44) that we must cherish and preserve. They are an integral part of what makes Cardiff a great city to live in.
So my advice is eat at Asador 44 and Bar 44 (and other indies) and eat at them often – we truly need places like these to be still there once the current Covid shit show is finally behind us.