Words by Katie Comer
Once again, my love affair with tapas continues, but this time in Cardiff. Situated off of St Mary’s street, Curado Bar is contemporary bar and deli serves food and drink typical of northern Spain.
Boasting a great selection of cured meats, cheeses, wines and cocktails they also offer delicious home cooked items from the kitchen. Although I would consider their dishes on the pricier side, there is a vast assortment of foods to try at a range of different prices.
I was consciously trying to mix up my taste palette however I couldn’t resist the calamari and it certainly didn’t disappoint! Served golden brown, there was plenty of squid to share around and in traditional style it came served with aioli for £7. Next, we tried the chorizo pimiento y huevo, which was a small bar snack consisting of chorizo, Padron peppers and a fried quail’s egg for £3.50 each. Despite it only being just a snack, it punched a lot of flavour and was reasonably priced. We also decided to try something from their deli, so settled for the carpaccio de bacalao humado which in short was smoked cured cod, capers and grated tomato for £9. I was initially a bit optimistic about trying cold cured cod as I prefer eating hot tapas dishes, however, I was pleasantly surprised: the cod had a delicate and silky-smooth flavour which was enriched by the addition of the capers and tomato.
In keeping with the fishy theme, we next tried pulpo feira: octopus sliced on warm potatoes with olive oil, paprika and sea salt for £9. This dish sounded appealing on paper, but was a bit of a flunk when it arrived. Perhaps I had set my expectations a bit too high, but the dish was literally how it is described. Despite the octopus being cooked well, the potato lacked a lot of flavour and was just a bit boring. Much like how the calamari comes served with aioli, this dish needed a sauce of some kind to enhance the bland flavour of the octopus and potato. The merluza con lentejas (baked hake served on a lentil, serrano ham & chorizo stew) proved to be a great addition to the pulpo feira. The lentil, ham and chorizo stew was beautifully rich and complimented the succulent baked hake that it was served with. The sauce was effective in improving the flavour of the other fish dishes, especially the plainness of the pulpo feira. This dish was one of the more expensive items, costing £9, yet it proved a worthwhile companion to the other tapas items.
The bar itself featured a wonderful selection of wine set against exposed white washed brick with trendy stools that you could sit at. We managed to grab the only booth available on the ground floor as the rest of the seating was just your generic high tables and bar stools. We didn’t feel squashed, but I could imagine that those sat on a stool felt somewhat hemmed in as the bar grew busier.
Aesthetically speaking it was very chic but practically it might be a bit too confining for some people. The service was knowledgeable and friendly, with the waitress making us feel very accommodating.
With it being an acquired taste, this is the type of place where you can embrace the bustling and lively atmosphere with friends whilst enjoying the Spanish cuisine with some cocktails – just maybe visit when you have a bit of money to splurge!