By Contributor | Penarth Times
THE owners of Penarth’s Bar 44 restaurant are hoping to capitalise on the UK’s street food revolution by launching a mobile tapas van.
Brothers Tom and Owen Morgan have invested in a retro American airstream catering trailer, which they plan to take on the road across Wales and the UK.
Serving up authentic Spanish tapas, beers, wine and sherry at markets, festivals and private events, the mobile tapas van is launching this week (November 4-10) in Cardiff with a pitch outside St David’s shopping centre on the Hayes.
The launch of the mobile food business follows the success of the brothers’ Bar 44 restaurants. Since establishing Bar 44, firstly in Cowbridge in 2002 and more recently in Penarth in 2012, the restaurants have built a strong following and reputation for their wide array of Spanish delicacies and dishes. The restaurants have also received UK-wide recognition from the Observer Food Monthly Awards 2013, the Good Food Guide for three years running and Harpers’ Spanish Wine Awards.
Tom said: “Through our restaurants in Cowbridge and Penarth, we have been able to bring Spanish food and its culture to Wales. The restaurants’ popularity, coupled with the rise of UK’s street food scene and the boom and success of Spanish cuisine in the UK, got us thinking that there was an opportunity to create a business that provided fresh, authentic tapas for those seeking food on the go.
“After some research, we came across a company in the UK that was selling these amazing retro airstream trailers which we thought would be the perfect vehicle for serving this food from and from there our idea for a tapas street kitchen was born.
“Our head chef Tommy Heaney has developed a restaurant-standard tapas menu using the finest Spanish produce which has been tailored for speed of service.”
With the launch of the mobile tapas van, named El Boquerón, Spanish for silver anchovy due to the van’s shape, the brothers hope to invigorate Wales’ street food scene which they believe is lagging behind other major cities in the UK.
Owen said: “The street food trend in the UK has taken off because rising business rates are prohibiting many that want to work in the food industry from starting out. This coupled with consumers’ budgets being squeezed has resulted in more and more caterers serving up a range of affordable food from pop-up stalls or vans.
“However in Wales the street food scene has yet to properly take off when compared with the likes of London, Bristol and Birmingham. We want to do more to develop the street food culture in Wales to help those independents that can’t afford expensive leases or rates showcase their culinary talents. The launch of El Boquerón is the first step in our desire to invigorate the market and we are also speaking to local councils about having dedicated areas in towns across south Wales.”
El Boquerón is located on The Hayes by Hugo Boss from November 4-10 and is open 11am-8pm.