Whilst researching restaurants to visit in Bangor, North Wales, I come across 1815. Situated in the city centre the café-deli bar specialises in preparing home-made, contemporary food with a Spanish influence. When I find out that 1815 is known for its tapas, which is described on the website as its signature dish, I just know I have to experience it for myself.
The first thing I notice when I sit down is the the way in which the tables are laid. Each table features a vase of daffodils and a bottle of balsamic vinegar, which seems to mirror the essence of 1815 as a cafe which serves Mediterranean-inspired food using quality, locally-sourced ingredients, in an atmosphere which seems to celebrate Welsh culture.
Owner Jan Fenwick set up 1815 just over six years ago on the site of a former restaurant, taking on the challenge of refurbishing the entire building with a dream of creating somewhere where people can go to “get pampered” over lunch and enjoy quality food and a glass of wine. The décor is contemporary and innovative, with the high ceiling covered in low-hanging, domed steel lamps located about a metre above each dining table.
1815’s menu spans several cuisines alongside Spanish, including Welsh, Italian, and British. Diners can choose from a delectable range of light snacks and main meals, with sandwiches, jacket potatoes and salads also
available. For dessert take your pick from an array of stunning cakes baked on-site, laid out at the front of the cafe. I overhear one guest jokingly say, “I’m ordering that cake, with chips” – after seeing how delicious said-cake looks, I begin to question whether she’s joking!
When ordering tapas at 1815 you choose a combination of three dishes from the tapas menu per person, priced at £8.50 for one. There are lots of choices on offer and I change my mind a few times before eventually deciding upon mushrooms with garlic and parsley, patatas bravas and chorizo.
My meal arrives within no more than 15 minutes, and it looks so good I almost don’t want to eat it – almost…! The three dishes sit on a bed of carefully sliced fruit and vegetables and when I feast my eyes upon my plate, I can hardly believe my eyes.
This really does taste as good as it looks. Actually, it tastes even better than it looks. My favourite dish is the mushrooms – garlicky, juicy and firm – I’ve never tasted mushrooms cooked in this way before, but I love them. Patatas bravas is a Spanish dish consisting of diced potatoes in a spicy, tomato sauce, and it doesn’t come much better than this. The chorizo is of a high quality, and tastes especially good when wrapped around a slice of veg.
As if that’s not enough, the tapas is accompanied by a generous portion of freshly baked, warm ciabatta and a sweet chilli dipping sauce. The bread is so soft and flavoursome – I like to dip it in the mushrooms to soak up some of the delicious sauce they are in.
If you happen to visit Bangor, you’d be silly not to try out 1815. The cafe also offers a take-away option, although I recommend eating in so that you can enjoy the vibrant atmosphere. Make sure you book beforehand as the tables fill up pretty quickly and it was fairly busy by the time I left. Families are more than welcome here, with children able to order anything on the menu at half-price – need any more excuses?