On Friday night, Ben and I booked ourselves a table at Ba Rooba in Cathays. I have heard mixed reviews so I thought it was about time I formed my own opinion. It has recently been nominated for restaurant of the year in The South Wales Echo Competition so we had high hopes.
When we arrived, we were impressed with the cosy little venue. Marketed as a Bar, Lounge, Diner, I would have described it more as a cosy little restaurant. It was very welcoming with nice warm terracotta walls, tables packed in close together and friendly happy staff.
We settled down and browsed through the menu. There was a good selection of starters ranging from £4.25- £11.25. I opted for Arancini (Fried rice balls in breadcrumbs, filled with meat sauce, tomatoes, ham and mozzarella) and Ben went for Capsante (Fresh scallops, cooked in Pernod and a touch of cream, served on toasted bread, with rocket salad).
The scallops were nicely presented, arranged on the bread but with only 2 scallops, it looked a little sparse. Ben enjoyed the starter which had a lovely sauce but the scallops were a little overcooked. I enjoyed my arancini and had a healthy sized portion.
Scallops with my Arancini in the background
Moving onto the main, I chose Veal Sorrentino (Baked veal escallop in a tomato sauce and topped with Parma ham and cheese) and Ben chose Agnello all Toscano (Rump of lamb, cooked in garlic, rosemary, balsamic vinegar, red wine and a touch of tomato sauce). I was a little disappointed by the presentation when I saw the waitress heading for our table. Both dishes came with a helping of colourless saute potatoes and a heap of broccoli and cauliflower. The presentation didn’t exactly scream fine dining and was not what I was expecting for the £19.95 that I was paying for mine.
Overlooking the presentation, we dug in. Unfortunately, the taste matched the appearance. My veal was topped with parma ham and was covered with a rather bland sauce. There was certainly no hint of the chilli in the menu description. It was basically like a pizza topping chucked over the top of the meat. Fortunately Ben’s was better with a good quality piece of lamb. The sauce was a bit rich but overall, it was a nice dish, not worth the £17.25 though as far as I’m concerned.
Moving onto desert, we didn’t get our hopes up. The menu displayed pictures of the deserts (and coffee!?) on offer and the pictures didn’t sell the dishes well. I chose an apple tart and Ben had raspberry Panna Cotta. When Ben’s desert arrived, I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry! It looked like something that would be served up at a children’s party. The Panna Cotta resembled a melting Mr. Whippy. It tasted ok though and had raspberrys running through the inside but for some reason it had been completely spoiled by a thick, syrupy sauce like that out of a bottle for children’s ice cream. The Panna Cotta was floating in it! It was a real shame because it would have been lovely with a nice coulis.
My tart was nice, although it had the same bizarre sauce to accompany it only this time in toffee flavour. There wasn’t much of it though so it didn’t spoil it. Sneaking a peek at our neighbours desert, the Tiramisu looked like a good option but the picture on the menu just didn’t do it justice.
You may think I’m being over critical with this review and I suppose I am more than usual but when you are paying almost £20 for a main meal, you expect quality. When I compare this to other places I have eaten recently serving meals at this price, this just wasn’t a patch in terms of quality and presentation. The food certainly wasn’t bad but for the prices they are charging, it needs to be a lot better in my opinion. The starters were reasonably priced but some of the mains were simply too high for what they delivered. I’ve heard good things about the steak on a stone so maybe we will try that if we come back.
My Last Mouthful was: Arancini
Atmosphere and decor-
Quality of food-
Diversity of menu-
Value for money-