With a Newport-based brewery and two bars to its name, Tiny Rebel is at the forefront of South Wales’ thriving craft beer scene. However, as I discovered when I popped along to Tiny Rebel Cardiff on Westgate Street recently (formerly Urban Taphouse, but rebranded by the same owners last year), they also offer a satisfying selection of pub grub.
Arriving at Tiny Rebel Cardiff, it’s clear these guys love their beer. The walls are covered in colourful, edgy murals centred on beer.
With plenty of seating available, you can either take a seat at one of the tables in the bar, or in the room next door. Mismatched wooden chairs, exposed brickwork and a plethora of authentic gig posters – some of which date back to before I was even born – give the place a retro, nostalgic feel.
The menu keeps it simple with a range of bar snacks, pizzas, burgers, sharing plates, sides, vegan dishes and salads (although craft beer and salads don’t really go hand-in-hand, if you ask me).
We kicked things off with the black pudding fritters (£4.25). I expected these to be served in a golden, crispy batter, but unfortunately this wasn’t to be. The black pudding had been removed from its skin and shaped into flattened round balls, before being dusted with flour and fried. The thick, smooth texture and rich, salty taste was a little too much for my taste buds to take, although the spicy apple compote helped to rectify this to an extent. I didn’t really see the need for the rocket.
The BBQ-glazed chicken wings (£4.50) were another story. The BBQ glaze had a sweet, smoky flavour, the wings were of a good size and there was plenty of them, and the chicken skin was perfectly crispy, without being over-cooked. I’m not a big fan of blue cheese so the dipping sauce wasn’t to my liking, but my guest happily polished it off. Again, no need for the rocket.
For my main course, I went for the 6oz ground Welsh beef burger (£9) with Swiss cheese (+£0.75p). Cooked medium with a patch of pink still showing, this juicy, meaty burger did not disappoint. The creamy homemade slaw was equally pleasing. I couldn’t fault the skin-on fries either, although the portion was excessive – you could easily have fed at least three people with the amount on my plate.
As tasty as my burger was, when I caught a glimpse of my guest’s tandoori chicken pizza (£10.50), I began to wish I’d ordered this instead. A light yet large base was laden with a thick coating of melted mozzarella, chunks of tandoori chicken, bite-sized morsels of onion bhaji and a few dollops of minted yoghurt. Oh, and some more rocket. Rocket aside, this was flawless. The best thing about was the onion bhaji, which had a more-ish, crunchy texture that we just couldn’t get enough of. I’d happily order this even without the chicken – and that’s coming from a hardened meat-eater!
On the whole, Tiny Rebel Cardiff’s food offering isn’t at all bad. Batter the black pudding fritters, lose the rocket and reduce the portion of fries, and it’d be brilliant. It may also be worth knocking a few pounds off the burger, which was quite expensive at £9, with extras priced at 75p. It was a decent burger but when you’ve got the likes of Burger Theory just around the corner, serving what are widely regarded as the best burgers in Cardiff at similar costs (or in some cases, even less), there’s just no contest.
Tiny Rebel Cardiff
25 Westgate St
(029) 2039 9557
Do you like craft beer? Have you ever been to any of Tiny Rebel’s bars and, if so, what did you think of them?