Saturday, 1 February 2014

Urban Tap House, Cardiff food blog - Searching for Cardiff's best burger

Urban Tap House is a belter of a boozer.

Tiny Rebel, the multi award-winning, edgy, Newport based craft brewers have done a hell of a job at transforming the former Fire Island on Westgate Street, which closed under a cloud of controversy.

Whilst they’ve retained the pared back, urban feel - there’s plenty of exposed brickwork, gig posters, metal ducts, and graffiti - into the mix, they’ve thrown a colossal range of craft beers, ales and ciders. 

There's a rotating selection of over fifteen beers on tap and fridges stocked with an endless number of bottled beers from around the world. 

On the bar is also a cracking selection of homemade snacks.

I kicked off the evening with a bag of hop popcorn; fried in hop oil, it tasted sweet with a hoppy complexity lurking in the background. An accompanying pint of Camden Brewery’s Gentleman’s Wit, a wheat beer infused with lemon and bergamot, provided some welcome first-pint refreshment. 

I also rounded off the night with a superb candied jalapeno cupcake, both the sponge and the butter cream icing were flecked with The Preservation Society’s candied jalapenos to add a subtle chilli warmth. 

However, the night’s main event was the burger…

Urban Tap House’s menu consists solely of burgers; there’s a handful of regulars and an evolving list of specials including the pizza burger and chilli nacho burger. 

As a burger purist, I ordered the closest thing I could get to a bacon cheeseburger. Mrs G went more off-piste.

The Burgers – The Big Welsh and The Pork, Pork & Pork

The Big Welsh
The Pork, Pork & Pork
1. How was the patty? 

The Big Welsh’s beef patty was well proportioned and flavoured. Disappointingly, it was served well done and was consequently fairly dry. 

The Pork, Pork & Pork’s excellent patty comprised of a soft, smoky and unsurprisingly piggy combination of minced pork, black pudding and smoked bacon. 

The Big Welsh
2. How was the bun? A very good, soft and sweet brioche bun.

3. How was the other stuff in the bun?

Soft, delicately sweet leeks, oozy Welsh cheddar and crispy bacon were the successful trio of toppings to adorn the Big Welsh.

Less successful was the cloyingly sweet apple, mint and scrumpy cider sauce which topped the Pork, Pork & Pork.

4. How were the fries? Fantastic skin on fries – crisp, fluffy, golden and well seasoned. 

7. How was the other stuff? Lovely coleslaw with a warm mustardy twang; superb, whopping, crisp and tender FUBAR onion rings (£1.90) made using Tiny Rebel ale;

and super-tasty Goldie Lookin’ Gherkins (£2) – the crisp, vinegary cucumbers balancing the richness of the batter nicely. 

5. What was the price? The Big Welsh (£7.75) and the Pork, Pork & Pork (£7.50). With the fries and coleslaw included in the price, they’re rather good value. The sides were a bit of a bargain too.

6. How was the service? Friendly, knowledgeable and bearded.

8. So what's the verdict? Urban Tap House is fast becoming a Cardiff institution and deservedly so. Whilst the beer, bar snacks and sides are nigh on faultless; the burgers we ate need a few minor tweaks to put them up with the best in Cardiff.

The Details:
Address - The Urban Tap House, 25 Westgate Street, Cardiff, CF10 1DD


  1. Over cooked burger usually a sign of a crap chef or a bought in patty ... no confidence in the product to serve Medium Rare. Had a great M-R burger in Byron in London recently ....

    1. Feel free to come into the kitchen, and see both of those statements disproved :)

    2. Glad to hear it .... maybe the kitchen/front of house should discuss a M-Rare or M option in that case. I love the bar and the beer, and rocking burger would top it off :)

    3. It's a shame but I heard that health and safety have said that due to the patty being handmade on the premises it's a health risk to serve it less than well-done. Try the more exotic offerings for proof of the chef's skill. Jamaican Jerk (from the new menu) and the Spicy Chicken (RIP) being particular favourites. They have "New Burger Thursdays" too.

  2. The beer battered gherkins are a thing of beauty. I love them so.

    1. @attackoftheraebot - Gherkins + batter, you can't go wrong :-)

  3. Would really be nice to hear a server at a burger joint in Cardiff utter the words "We serve our burgers pink, is that okay?"

    Had an over cooked burger (as in not pink!) at the grazing shed recently too.

    1. @Jimardee - Agreed, it would be nice if medium was the default in burger joints in Cardiff. Byron's menu has the rather effective wording "cooked medium (unless otherwise requested)."

  4. Eaten here a two or three es over the past year. Each time seems worse than the last. Had some onion rings a few weeks back which were uneatable. Doubt i'll be trying it again.