Big Moose Coffee house launch first Tapas evening

Bigmoose coffee co. is a charity and non-profit coffee shop just off Queen’s Street in the centre of Cardiff. Usually a beacon of brunch and hot drinks during the daytime, bigmoose also put on evening events and one such event is their highly anticipated tapas night! Thursday 21st July was the night in question and the tapas trial was a great success.

The menus (both meat and vegan) featured a set 5-dish tapas for £11 p/h, as well as a selection of additional starters including: olives in a garlic, chilli and basil oil (£3); a sourdough bread board (£3.50) and hummus with roasted chickpeas (£4).

 

Co-founder Chloe Smith communicated that it was bigmoose’s first attempt at tapas and they were seeing whether it works: indeed it does! The food was hot and fresh, served swiftly and didn’t disappoint.

The presentation was perhaps a little peculiar as the vegan dishes were served on bigger plates and meat dishes in small ramakins. Given it was the first night, if this was to become a permanent thing a board where all the small dishes are served in one place might be ideal. Nevertheless, the quality of the food and service was fantastic.

Firstly, the meat tapas had a wonderful selection of dishes that were perfectly authentic. The imagination and effort that went into creating them should be applauded. A diverse choice included: mini sausages in a honey and mustard sauce; chorizo cooked with fresh garlic; patatas bravas, potato and onion Spanish tortilla; and mini meatballs in a homemade tomato sauce.

Overall, most dishes were extremely tasty and were a definite hit. The only dish we found was a little bland and didn’t really fit the theme was the tortilla. Served as a larger slice, the texture was quiche-like and perhaps needed some meat or a bit of spice. However, this sort of dish can be an acquired taste so it’s difficult to cater to everyone’s palettes.

For a non-meatball lover, the meatballs were really nice. They had a lovely consistency and flavour and the dollop of tomato sauce made them taste like a meaty bolognese. The batatas bravas were delicious: soft potatoes, with a nice coating complete with tomato sauce and creamy homemade garlic mayo; the chorizo was perfectly crisp and juicy, also cooked in garlic which gave it the most incredible taste (one of the best chorizos to be vouched for). The absolute show-stopper were the mini sausages, they were juicy, moreish and the slick honey and mustard dressing carried all of the flavour.

As for the vegan selection, it was a mixed bag with some really successful dishes and others a little lacking. The selection was great, and again the input of creating these alternative dishes is appreciated. The patatas bravas also featured, as well as falafels which tasted exactly how you’d expect falafel to taste, served with a homemade tzatziki to give it a special cooling touch.

The buffalo cauliflower wings were the best part – a crispy coating encased the soft cauliflower and the slight punch of hot sauce made them standout (a few more of them would have been welcomed!). The sweetcorn fritters were nice; the texture was slightly unusual but they carried a big helping of spice and were served with a sweet chilli jam.

Sadly, the bruschetta did not live up to expectations. The toasted bread was fine but the topping of oven-roasted balsamic tomatoes were bland and uninventive, they needed a serious injection of seasoning and herby flavour. The sourdough bread board served with a balsamic oil was also a little disappointing. The bread was plain and potentially needed seasoning or to at least be served warm.

Coupled with a lovely selection of soft drinks, cocktails and sangria, as well as bigmoose own brand ales and lagers, made for a great evening of food and drink in a lovely, friendly atmosphere with excellent service.

 

The setting was somewhat unconventional for tapas, however. A rustic coffee shop with industrial yet homely décor and tapas doesn’t quite seem to go hand in hand, but that’s not taking away from the fact that the tapas night worked and was executed really well.

The slight issues did not take away from the overall tasty feast and the effort/inventiveness put into creating these dishes. The menu was obviously carefully designed and crafted to cater for all manner of guests which paid off – the turn out seemed great with the café filling up quickly both indoors and outdoors. If it was to become a frequent event, there would be many takers as the food was tasty enough to warrant another visit!

 

You may also like