The Tafwyl Festival is an annual celebration of the Welsh language, arts, and culture. One of the best parts of Welsh culture is the hospitality, such as the warm Welsh welcome Oasis extends to refugees and asylum seekers. The food this week is thus inspired by Cardiff’s Tiger Bay multi-ethnic community, courtesy of recipes from chef Geraldine Griffith. So, instead of homemade Welsh cuisine as one might expect, we were treated to curried goat, rice and beans, fried plantain, and a salad of cucumber and avocado, finished off with a banana rum raisin cake.

Curried goat is something I’ve previously avoided when I’ve ventured into Irie Shack, the Caribbean restaurant near my home in Cathays. I couldn’t tell you why, but there it is. So, this was an interesting opportunity to try it. You know where this is going: one bite and I was asking myself why I’d been avoiding it for so long. As a meat, the goat felt like a beefier version of lamb (wordplay intended). My previous experiences with lamb have nearly all been with such chewy chunks of meat that the meal became something of a workout for my jaw. In this curry, however, the goat fell in the perfect sweet spot between chewiness and melt-in-the-mouth softness. 

My experience of Caribbean food being limited to those visits to Irie Shack, I was ready for the curried goat to be spicy. And it was, though with a sweeter and less forceful heat than I was anticipating. This, combined with the rice and beans, made for an excellent flavour combination. The fried plantains were more thickly sliced than I’ve had them before, with a texture like a thicker and much less mushy banana. An accompaniment with bite, as it were. All of this made for the main meal that was incredibly satisfying. The portions served by Oasis always make for leftovers, and I was very happy to have more the next day.

For me, salad has nearly always been a half-hearted add-on to pub meals, or the disappointing offerings accompanying a takeaway. The recent kale mallung was probably the first salad I’ve ever really enjoyed. Sadly, the cucumber and avocado salad here didn’t quite clear the same bar. It was still nice, but there wasn’t much flavour to it for me. I had my portion fresh, and that’s definitely the best way to have it. But I think it’s going to be a while before I’m a true salad convert.

Then came the dessert. The banana rum raisin cake this week was delicious. With quite a thick slice, I had to halve it so my housemate could enjoy a piece. Once I’d had mine, I gave serious consideration to eating her half too. The flavour of the rum had really soaked into the raisins, giving them a sweetness backed up by a strong aftertaste of rum. This mixed in well with the banana cake (my favourite way to enjoy bananas) to make for a glorious dessert. I will definitely be making this one in future. Whether I share it will be another matter…

The multi-cultural influences on cooking in Britain cannot be overstated. Neither can the importance of cooking to the Tiger Bay community. Food has always been a way of bringing people together, as proven by the myriad food options available at the Tafwyl Festival. Closer to home, it’s also proven by Oasis. Here’s to the range of ethnicities and cultures that have helped shape Cardiff, and to many more meals from the Home Supper Club.

Written By Nick Dunn