Baravin has proved a welcome addition to Aberystwyth.
This is largely because it isn’t too dogmatic about what it is.
Is it a wine bar (‘Bar a Vin’ is the French for wine bar), a restaurant, a cafe, a pizzeria or a cocktail bar?
It’s in a splendid position on the seafront, it’s owned by the people behind the excellent Harbourmaster in Aberaeron, and we’ve heard good things about it.
So Bethan & I didn’t need much of an excuse to see for ourselves.
Baravin is one of the best-located restaurants in Aberystwyth – look at those nice big windows!
And we were there when the public-spirited people of Aberystwyth were out in force to clean up the seafront after the big storms earlier in the month.
Do you remember those? Great, wasn’t it!
Bethan and I would have been helping, but what with my poorly legs, we thought best to help by supporting Baravin, who were offering a free cup of coffee to any members of the public who helped with the cleanup.
You certainly get a great view from Baravin
You could be in a trendy London bar, couldn’t you? They’ve even got the Brooklyn Lager & Goose Island IPA that all trendy places have now.
Alas, the tables and chairs could have come from B&Q’s Garden Basics range, but then you get that in the capital too.
The menu has something for everyone.
The main meals seem to be straightforward classics – the twist seems to be the excellent provenance of their local produce.
Steaks are from Mr Rattray (like all sensible folk), lamb chops come from the Ystwyth Valley, even the mussels are Welsh.
The pastas also read well – shredded duck, black olive & tomato ragu? Prawn, chorizo & lime vermicelli? Yes please. But not on this visit.
No, we wanted to try the pizzas.
This means eating with your fingers is tricky, as they’re so light they can hardly hold the heavy toppings and you need to do a neat little fold. Or eat with a knife and fork like your mother taught you.
We loved the bases, and we loved the toppings even more. There are some creative options here too.
Hot chilli beef, guindillas and salsa sounded like something for when you’re drinking, and bacon, black pudding, egg and sausage sounded like a pizza for the morning after you’ve been drinking.
Instead we went for pulled pork and slow-cooked lamb pizzas.
My lamb pizza was a full meal in itself.
The lamb was soft and tasty, with mint pesto instead of mint sauce. And peas to sweeten the whole thing, and some mozzarella because, well, it’s delicious.
The pulled pork was rich and soft, the caramelized onions sweetened it, and the Perl Las (Welsh blue cheese) was a complete shock.
The combination works, but it took me a few pieces to get the hang of it. How often do you taste something genuinely new?
At this point, we should have been reaching for the dessert menu, but it was lunchtime, we’d had a drink, and we couldn’t face it.
Those light & crispy pizzas are surprisingly filling.
Which is a shame, as the choc brownie sundae and sticky toffee puddings looked great.
Next time we’ll have just starters and desserts, then cut & shove the two reviews together (like than garage in Llan****** used to do with written-off cars)
We couldn’t even manage more than one drink. What sort of reviewers are we?
Drinks are fairly priced. House wines open at £14, Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc at £19 is good, and an £18 Malbec would go nicely with their meats. A short, but well-chosen selection of these is available by the glass if you can’t decide.
I was surprised there were no interesting draught beers (with them being linked to the Harbourmaster), but there’s a fine range of American and Welsh bottles.
Soft drinks are expensive – my grandchildren won’t be finding out what a £2.80 lemonade tastes like – but they seem happy to bring out a carafe of tap water.
We didn’t try enough of the food here, but we got a clear sight of what the place is like.
Baravin is a stylish establishment that will look after you from 10 till late.
Baravin was popular when it opened, and it’s popular now, so I’d book if you’re keen to check it out.
Baravin attracts a stylish clientele in the afternoon, so perhaps my dog-walking coat might need to be upgraded if we’re to come often.
I can’t think of many better places to sip a cocktail. Those stark white tiles are very stylish and the cocktails look well-planned and executed.
I have heard people grumble about the prices, and £12 is a lot for a pizza. But when you compare one to Mr Domino’s factory-farmed products, there’s no contest. You are paying for quality, handmade, locally-sourced food.
Staff are very friendly and charming, though can get side-tracked chatting to customers when others are looking to pay.
You can imagine yourself sitting here, can’t you?
If it’s raining and windy, you can watch the weather coming in off the sea.
If it’s sunny you can watch the bikers and donkeys and sunburnt Brummies.
You could have morning coffee, a nice lunch, afternoon coffee & cake or an evening meal there quite happily. I hope that you enjoy Baravin as much as we did.
1 Llys Y Brenin (old Kings Hall (RIP))