Tapas is one of my favourite types of food, it appeals to the magpie (and glutton) within me as I love trying a little bit from each plate. It's one of the reasons I hate it when Mrs Clonc orders the same as me when we go out to eat, it just means I can't try a little bit from her plate. So what follows is a 'discussion' and either I change what I was planning on ordering or she does. Also following the Master Chef finals week where the finalists were jetted off to Barcelona, I was hankering for some tapas. Low and behold our prayers were answered when we heard that The Fat Pig Deli in Pontcanna has launched their tapas menu only the week before. So a call was put in, a table was booked and the fact that this was last weekend in that glorious sunshine was just an added bonus.
The Fat Pig Deli situated on Romilly Crescent in Pontcanna, Cardiff is the epitome of a neighbourhood restaurant. A lovely little set up serving breakfast and lunch during the day and now tapas on Friday and Saturday evenings. There is seating outside which was put to good use as the weather was great. Inside is rustic and eclectic with a relaxed atmosphere. We were greeted very warmly by Barry the proprietor but who would also be looking after us tonight. Mrs Clonc and I found a table with enough space for the push chair as baby Clonc had accompanied us, although he did not know it as he was fast asleep!
The menu is concise with lots of gems on it but before we started with the food we were asked for our drinks order. Sherry was mentioned and I said to Barry that I had never tried sherry, what proceeded was a crash course in sherry. Barry brought over three glasses and three bottles; the first a Fino, very dry and crisp then a Manzanilla which was a little smoother than the first but still dry then finally the utterly gorgeous Pedro Ximenez, this was a dark and deliciously sweet drink with flavours of dates and molasses. The first two we were told were best suited to have with tapas or as an aperitif and the last more with desserts or to finish a meal. We settled on the Manzanilla to begin with. What the above demonstrates is the passion people have and in this case how passionate Barry is about what he does. This makes all the difference and lets you know that you are going to have a great meal and makes you want to go back again. That aside from the fact that he is obviously very skilled in 'front of house' service.
On to the food! Like I said the menu has a lot of gems on it (see photo below) and we ended up ordering half the menu, literally! The stand out dishes for us were the Gambas al a plancha - large shell on king prawns, they were succulent and spicy and I could of eaten them all evening, both types of patatas but especially the bravas which was very good and the calamari, crispy squid served with an aioli, what's not to like! A finger bowl would of been good to get rid of the messy hands but other than that the food in general was delicious, the atmosphere chilled and the service was excellent.
To finish and out of the blue we were given a glass of Pedro Ximenez, bliss and very welcomed.
In total we had seven tapas dishes; the pan catalana, both types of patatas, calamari, ensalada, gambas and the chicken dish. The bill came to £42.35 including a glass of white wine, a Limonata and a bottle of beer.
The verdict is that the chilled atmosphere, delicious food and great service make you want to go back again and again. That combined with the weather we had last weekend really did make us feel that a little bit of Spain was right here in the Fat Pig Deli.
I'm well aware the weather this weekend is very different but I offer you two facts 1. we live in the UK and 2. drink more sherry and you'll feel warm in no time.
A special thank you goes out to baby Clonc who slept throughout the meal!
The Fat Pig Deli, 4 Romily Crescent, Pontcanna, Cardiff, CF11 9NR
T: 02029 235 675