This is a hard blog to write, as I love railways, mid-Wales and economic regeneration.
It would be wonderful if Wales had a north-south rail link, and we could go to Cardiff without going east to Shrewsbury.
There used to be such a thing, but it was slow and under-used, and it closed in 1965.
In 2015, the Welsh Government spent £30,000 on a Scoping Document that looked at the feasibility of re-opening the line. It is an optimistic document, yet details the many problems re-opening the line would face before concluding at a wildly optimistic (and much quoted) total cost of £750million.
Based on this, the Welsh Government plans to spend £300,000 on a more detailed study.
£300,000 is a lot of money.
At the time of writing, parts of Llanidloes have no street lighting as the council can’t afford to repair them, and the A44 is Wales’ most dangerous road.
There are better ways to spend £300,000 than a further report into something that will never happen.
Continue reading Welsh Government Shouldn’t Blow £300,000 on Another Report into The Aberystwyth-Carmarthen Railway
Everyone’s a winner with pizza.
Customers can’t get enough of that bread and cheese – it’s a hit with kids, people on dates and drunks on their way home.
It’s good for restaurants too – pizza is tricky to do well at home, the mark-ups are phenomenal and punters are always on the look-out for a new angle.
So even though Aber has Baravin and the Pier offering great pizzas in attractive settings, and there’s Domino’s for masochists, you can’t blame Pizza at No25 for joining the fray.
Continue reading Pizza at no25, Aberystwyth
After the closure of Irie’s, one might question the wisdom of another Caribbean restaurant opening in Aberystwyth.
But Mama Fay’s looks to be set for the long game, with a well-priced and interesting menu, enthusiastic staff and a good location on Portland Street (site of the late and unlamented Nick’s).
The menu even looks (whisper it!) quite healthy!
Continue reading Mama Fay’s Caribbean Restaurant, Aberystwyth
After my first visit to New York over the summer, I came back determined to make a pastrami sandwich as close to this beauty from the Mile End Deli:
I wanted meat as soft and red as this, and enough to be able to load up my sandwiches that heavily.
And so, after plenty of research, and after Rob Rattray cut me a perfect piece of brisket, I ended up with this:
Pretty close, and it tasted superb.
It takes a long time, and there’s a lot of steps, but each stage is pretty easy.
Here’s what we did. Continue reading Making Your Own Pastrami
With Christmas looming, Aldi have a big range of tempting wines & spirits.
Although their Islay Single Malt is a bargain at £18, I was very interested to see a 28 year old Speyside single malt for £39.99.
Now, I know it’s hard to use the word “bargain” next to a £40 bottle of own-brand Aldi whisky, but if there was a famous name attached to specifications like that you’d be paying over £100.
I was in Llandrindod Wells at the weekend, saw this, and I took the plunge.
Is it worth £40? Is it worth £100? Let’s see …
Continue reading Glen Marnoch 28 Year Old (Aldi)
West Wales is a beautiful part of the world and has a food scene that punches above its weight
But where would we be without the Arts Centre at the University?
It’s our main venue for theatre, music and comedy, and manages to lure big name stars out west.
In addition to big comedy names like Jimmy Carr, the Arts Centre has been host to a monthly comedy night for the last two years.
It’s run by Little Wander, the company which manages (amongst other things) the Machynlleth Comedy Festival.
This gives the audience the chance to see three relatively unknown acts for the very reasonable price of £10.
Continue reading Comedy Club, Aberystwyth Arts Centre
A quick look at Fusion King’s menu shows a dizzying array of foods at incredible prices.
The restaurant is defiantly unfancy – so if you prefer thrills to frills it’s the place to go for Chinese, Japanese, Mexican, Thai, Korean, Italian or Mongolian.
And if that all sounds a bit too foreign for you or your unadventurous partner, there’s always the Jacket Potato or Baguette of Shame.
Continue reading Fusion King, Aberystwyth
We’ve had our ProQ smoker for two years now, and we’re delighted with it (review here).
Rainy weekends this summer have stopped us using it as much as we like, so when last weekend was sunny we took our chance and made pulled pork.
Americans make this with a cut called Boston Butt – a giant lump of pork shoulder with the bone still in – but these are very hard to get in the UK.
But the advantage of having an excellent local butcher like Rattrays is that you can ask them to make a joint how you’d like it.
Continue reading Making Pulled Pork with Meat from Rattray’s Butchers
I remember Medina from when she worked in UltraComida long ago, and six months after we visited her first in Cambrian Place, she has moved to the old Talbot / Orangery site in Market Street.
We were very keen to see if the food and cheery ambience could survive the move from one of the smallest premises in town to one of the largest.
Continue reading Medina, Aberystwyth
My favourite meal with Bethan was the Crown at Whitebrook in 2010, where Welsh chef James Sommerin earned his reputation (and a Michelin star) for inventive, skilled and delicious cooking.
The atmosphere was serious without being sombre, and prices were very reasonable (£40 for six courses).
The chocolate souffle, with a quenelle of Bailey’s ice cream added at the table, was a thing of wonder.
I went on about it so much, I made a version for my nephews
Sadly, The Crown closed in 2013, but in 2015 James opened his own restaurant in Penarth, and we were very excited to give it a try. Continue reading Restaurant James Sommerin, Penarth