Showing posts from 2018

Tafarn Sinc the corrugated iron pub

Tafarn Sinc, Rhos-y-Bwlch, Rosebush, Clunderwen, Pembrokeshire
As anyone visiting Pembrokeshire in West Wales will know, this is a beautiful part of Wales especially if you are just doing a bit of touring around, generally at a leisurely pace given the narrow roads and lanes. Follow the road from Cardigan across the Preselli Hills to Haverfordwest and look out for the sign to Rosebush to find the famous corrugated iron pub.

Yes, the outside walls really are made of corrugated iron panels, painted red, and inside the wooden floor has sprinkles of sawdust, wooden benches, hams hanging from hooks in the ceiling (now artificial rather than smoked or salted sadly) and a large black wood-burner in the centre. It is what you call a pub with character! 

However, it is run efficiently with excellent beers and lagers and a wide range of dishes on the menu, all cooked and presented well and at very reasonable prices. It is actually owned by the village and run as a co-operative, the manager and sta…

Ask in Cardiff - bake with aubergine instead of pasta

ASK Italian, 24/32 Wyndham Arcade, Mill Lane, Cardiff CF10 1FJ
I haven’t been to an ASK restaurant for a while, so I thought I would try lunch while staying in Cardiff for the week. Décor is consistent, of course, and the menu is available in all their outlets so I wasn’t sure if there was anything new to try.
I was actually pleasantly surprised with the Melanz Parmigiana special, like a dish-baked lasagna with creamy, cheesy and tomato sauce but between slices of aubergine rather than pasta. It looked good served straight from the oven in a cast-iron dish, hot bubbling sauce smelling delicious, alongside a small salad bowl, both standing on a wooden board. Although the salad was very basic, with no dressing, it was all perfect with a glass of crisp, white Trebbiano wine.
No pasta or bread, so there was clearly still a little bit of room left for a dessert. How to choose which one from such an interesting, though limited, menu…the young waiter was very helpful and agreed that the pistach…

Cwm-yr-Eglwys on Pembrokeshire Coastal Path

Cwm-yr-Eglwys, Pembrokeshire, West Wales
The TV programme Countryfile regularly features places in Wales so we were pleased to see Cwm-yr-Eglwys along the Pembrokeshire Coastal Path. Thankfully, it wasn’t cold enough for icicles on the bench like in the programme, but we were still thankful for our waterproofs tucked away in the boot of the car.

A beautiful blue sky and bright sunshine so a perfect day to see the stunning end wall of the tiny church, all that’s left after the storm in 1886 that washed away half of the graveyard and the bulk of the church. It is officially designated as an area where there are no formal sea defences so that it is left to stand whatever the sea throws at it. You can only admire the small community that lives in the village, checking whatever damage appears along the existing sea wall and fixing it as best they can. As the lady on the TV said, they always take a small bucket with a bit of cement in it when they go for a walk!
The car park is £2 (drop the mo…

Farmers Arms in St David's, West Wales

Farmers Arms, 14-16 Goat Street, St David’s, Haverford West, SA62 6RF
St David’s is in a lovely part of Pembrokeshire and popular for all sorts of water sports, the spectacular Cathedral, and quaint little shops, bars and restaurants. Obviously visiting mid-week rather than weekends means it is a bit quieter and easier to park, especially outside the main holiday season. I also think that the new visitor centre with café, gallery and big car park may have reduced numbers of visitors finding local restaurants for lunch.
Goat Street leads down to St David’s Cathedral, and a little way down on the right is the Farmers Arms, a traditional pub serving good quality pub food. The food was cooked well, served quite quickly, and portions are certainly ample for most appetites.

Two pork loins are served in a whole-pepper creamy sauce resting on herby mashed potato and topped with crispy onion rings – very well presented. The chicken slices were sandwiched with thick-cut slices of bacon and a bar…

Chez Freddy, Nice

Chez Freddy, 22 Cours Saleya, 06300, Nice
Still in the main street in Nice, we decided to try a different restaurant for our meal, looking out for one where we could sit outside but sheltered from the evening breeze. Found Chez Freddy’s – perfect – especially as the Maitre de offered us a free glass of Prosecco as an enticement! However, whoever sat at the end of the table was in a draught, so we had lots of changing places a bit like in a farce! They offered to light one of the patio heaters but then this wasn’t welcomed by nearby tables who were eating seafood sat on a tray of ice (the food not the customers..). Eventually avoided an international incident, the heater was moved, and we finally got down to the meal.

The set menu sounded perfect at €27.90 each and we were not disappointed. Starters were substantial as were the main course dishes – including snails, tomato and mozzarella, and a superb John Dory fish that was melt-in-the-mouth delicious. The recommended Muscadet was perfe…

Le Bistro Dalpozzo, Nice - excellent service

Le Bistro Dalpozzo, 10 Rue Dalpozzo, 06000, Nice
As we were a group of 5, we pre-booked our table here for the first evening of our stay. After confusing the waiter in the restaurant next door by insisting we had a table booked – which we clearly didn’t! – we found ourselves in a comfortable restaurant with a brilliant waiter. He was helpful, attentive, and very patient as everyone wanted to try different items on the menu. In the end it was worth it for a superb meal.

The 3-course set menu had a good range of dishes to choose from, including the soup and duck, so was excellent value at €19. Other courses were quite expensive from the A La Carte menu, as you would expect, choices including snails or scallops as starter and sea bass or lamb as the main. Desserts included the traditional crème brulee and tarte tatin, so everyone was very happy with their choice.

They made a great fuss of us, especially as one of the party was celebrating her birthday. The waiter arrived with her dessert, c…

Great value Plat du Jour in the centre of Nice

Pain & Cie, 3 Rue Louis Gassin, 06300, Nice
There are so many bars, cafes and restaurants along Rue Louis Gassin and the daily market that it is difficult to choose, but whichever one you go for, you will not be disappointed. As it was drizzling with a cool breeze, we opted for just inside the door of Pain & Cie – a perfect location on a corner to watch the world go by in a cosy, friendly atmosphere. A good choice to start our short break in Nice.
Plat du Jour was the recommendation, steak and fries and a glass of wine for €14, definitely a good choice for lunch. A good-sized succulent steak, perfectly cooked, with grilled tomato, fries and fresh bread. As with all the other restaurants we found in this part of France, the house wine is very acceptable whether red or white, and the set menu is excellent value. We kept an eye on other meals brought out from the kitchen and they were all well-presented, very appetizing, and altogether good value.
We even had two extra glasses of wi…

Quality wine from Malta

Meridiana Wine Estate Ltd is a small winery in the heart of Malta with over 90% of production sold directly to restaurants in Malta – so, a tiny proportion available for export which is why you may never have heard of them. But, when you are in Malta it is the wine to look out for, well worth a visit to experience a wonderful tasting as well as a tour of the winery, or pop into the shop anytime.
There are tours every day - €12 per person for the visit and tasting – and we had the privilege of a guided tour with the Estate Manager Karl Chetcuti, clearly a passionate believer in the quality of Meridiana wines, all of them DOC recognised. We were not disappointed!
·2016 Chardonnay named after ISIS, the Phoenician, the protector of sailors, around 60 thousand bottles a year (including 12 thousand half-bottles as a favourite in many restaurants). A soft, pale colour with an initial grapefruit smell then a long after-taste, this was easy to drink and very smooth.
·They have three wines based…

Perfect Paella in Malta

Picture sitting at a table for two, in the warm March sunshine, overlooking Marsascala bay and traditional brightly-painted Maltese boats. A perfect spot for leisurely lunch, Uncle Matt’s Kitchen is the ideal choice.
There are lots of restaurants along the main promenade, of course, but we were tempted by an interesting menu and the welcoming staff. We were both drawn to the description of their Spanish Paella, a mixture of chicken, chorizo and sea-food, although it was not what we had planned for lunch. So glad we did. This was beautifully served, a wonderful rich saffron-yellow plate of perfectly-cooked rice with plenty of chicken pieces, huge mussels and topped with an impressive king prawn.
For me, this was the best paella I have had, lovely taste and texture, and perfect balance of ingredients. Leslie agreed, although he said he would have liked a bit more sea-food, but overall an excellent choice. While we would normally choose white wine with a sea-food paella, we went with the …

Rosé wine tasting evening with friends

Rosé wine tasting evening with friends
As you may be aware, we regularly enjoy wine-tastings locally and abroad but decided it was time to try our own. As a group of 7 friends, only one prefers Rosé wine, one doesn’t really drink wine at all as he prefers beer, and the rest of us were willing to give it a try. So, with a list of 40 – yes, 40 – possible wines available from Tesco (and there were still some others they had that I didn’t include on my list) for everyone to choose a different brand and each bring a bottle, we planned lots of nibbles based on recommended foods on the labels of most of them. There were an additional two rogue bottles, one from Lidl and one from B&M (though branded names available widely).
It is surprising to see such a range of foods recommended to go with Rosé wine, including spicy garlic snacks and Indian food, chicken and salad dishes, fish and seafood, or ‘party food’ whatever that might mean! I drew up a Comments sheet for everyone, to note wine name…

Great meal at the Boar's Head Hotel Carmarthen

Boar’s Head Hotel, 120 Lammas Street, Carmarthen SA31 3AE

If you are in centre of Carmarthen, for shopping or the cinema, visit the Boar’s Head Hotel for a superb lunch or evening meal. It is the first time we have had a meal here, so a wet, cold Saturday afternoon seemed like a good time to try out their menu. And we were not disappointed.
There are specials available, but we went for the main menu as a steak is usually a good indicator of the quality of food. An 8oz rump steak with the usual trimmings was £10.95, all presented and cooked really well, very tasty. As I am not good with bread, the 6oz burger with cheese and no bun was a worth a try. I have to say this is the best bun-less burger I have ever had! Still very moist and with an excellent rich cheesy sauce, this was an excellent choice and at £8.95 is very good value. Add the two glasses of house red wine at less than £4 each, and this was worth the total £27.80 bill.
It is a beautiful old building, lots of wooden panelling an…
January’s Monday Wine Tasting at the Harbourmaster, Aberaeron, Ceredigion
This month’s wine tasting experience at the Harbourmaster in Aberaeron was as popular as ever, everyone eager to sample the selection of 6 wines with fascinating little canapes to accompany each one.
This month, Paul and Andrew from CPA’s Wine took us on A Mediterranean Wine Cruise with a selection from Italy, France, Greece and Lebanon, all available to buy from them as individuals or as a business. We started with one of the most popular wines in UK at the moment, Prosecco. This award-winning 11.5% Dollci Colline from Veneto, Italy is not as acid as some, made up with minimum 85% Glera grape, a pale straw colour with constant tiny bubbles rising and a delicate scent – very easy drinking (though takes a few swigs after drinking a rich red wine earlier!) and good value at £8.70 a bottle.
Another popular wine, Sauvignon Blanc from the Pays d’Oc region in France, the St Martin Reserve is similar to New World styles, …