If you love Spanish tapas, Curado Bar has been hailed as one of the restaurants to visit in Cardiff to satisfy your craving or get your fix. Just opposite the famous Principality Stadium on Guildhall Place, Curado Bar is in a prime spot to draw in both Cardiff visitors and the locals. I’ve tried to visit on several occasions, only to find the restaurant packed out and fully booked up. While this is a testament to its popularity, it also made me want to secure my seat in the venue even more. I finally got chance to visit recently so I wanted to share my experience.
With dark wood furnishings and steel table fixtures, the venue felt warm and appealing. It’s quite an informal place to eat, so we instantly felt comfortable despite that we hadn’t particularly dressed up. This relaxed atmosphere can probably be attributed to the fact that it also has a deli element, selling produce here, and my eyes truly lit up when I saw all of the olives on offer. We took our seats and made ourselves at home on stools next to the window to weather and people watch while we pondered over the food and drink options available.
The menus appear jam-packed, which can seem a little overwhelming at first glance, so I would certainly recommend taking some time to look over this thoroughly on your first visit so you don’t miss any delights. I started with a glass of Solar de Estraunza Rioja, a fruity white wine that Curado describes as an easy-drinking Viura wine and it certainly was. This was light, refreshing and delicious so I would highly recommend trying this if you’re looking to sample a new white wine.
We started by ordering my beloved patatas bravas first, served with mojo picon sauce and alioli which cost us £5. This was quite a large portion size which I loved but these were quite different to the patatas bravas I’ve been used to – usually expecting plain potatoes that have been cooked through a number of different methods. Instead, these were seasoned with paprika which, alongside the sauce, made this a dish with a spicy kick but this was more than enjoyable. I would certainly order these again.
To go alongside these, we ordered the Puntillas, deep-fried baby squid served with lemon and alioli, costing £6. Again, this was an incredibly generous portion, with the squid tender in the middle but crunchy on the outside. As much as I enjoyed this, after eating more than my fair share, I started to notice the heaviness of the batter, so this is a plate I’d recommend sharing.But even between two of us, we were defeated by this dish.
We also couldn’t visit without trying one of the Pintxo plates, the little bar snacks. We decided to sample the Lomo de Orza, pimiento asado y allioli which was pork cooked in oil, roasted Padron peppers and garlic mayonnaise on bread. This cost £3.50 and was indeed a very small snack but the pork was soft and truly mouthwatering which created a very memorable taste when paired with the peppers. I wish we had ordered one each of these as this was probably my favourite dish of the evening.
And finally, we opted for the chorizo al vino as it was basically calling my name. Costing a little more than the other dishes at £7, the portion was still very favourable for this plate. The meat was very tender and had definitely absorbed the deep flavours of the red wine, creating a melt-in-your-mouth taste. As the flavours were quite rich, I couldn’t have eaten too much of this but I certainly enjoyed every bite that I did have.
All in all, we had an incredibly enjoyable experience and I can confirm that it was definitely worth the wait. The relaxed atmosphere was certainly appreciated, especially for a post-work, midweek visit and the staff were all very welcoming, probably sensing that it was our first visit. The whole sitting cost us £27.50, which I thought was more than reasonable for what we had ordered and certainly for the portion sizes that were delivered to our table. As I mentioned, some of the dishes can be quite rich, so I would recommend taking it slow and steady here, ordering a few dishes initially then adding more if you feel they are needed – in true tapas style. I can’t wait to visit again and sample some more of their intriguing dishes but I know that I’ll have to book in advance next time if I want a weekend visit!