Llanfihangel y Creuddyn being such a mouthful has to be a good omen for the food in this rural gastro-pub.
It’s always in the posh papers, it’s in the CAMRA and Good Food Guides, and everyone seems to have been.
Llanfihangel y Creuddyn isn’t really a village, more a particularly fine passing place on the very narrow rural roads. Nice church, Y Ffarmers, some houses, then back to the frightening roads.
If you’re a newish driver, or have a particularly nice car, or prefer your roads to have lines painted down the middle and good visibility, then you might find the trip to Y Ffarmers a tad hair-raising.
Bethan got a little hysterical here and there, but at least we were ready for a drink on arrival.
The wine list is pleasingly short, varied, and fair. It opens at £13 for a Chilean Sauvignnon Blanc but we raised them £7 for a Marlborough SB as it always delivers.
The red side of the list was a little less interesting, and we were very pleased not to have brought the menfolk as the real ale selection was poor.
Y Farmers is listed in the CAMRA guide, and I have heard talk of many interesting ales from friends, but on Saturday there was Felinfoel and Rhymney’s best bitters, and that was it. Just two not very uninspired ales on tap would not have cheered our rosy-cheeked husbands.
The menu is pretty cheery, thankfully.
Our friend Megan had raved about the lamb tagine, but by unhappy coincidence I had a leg of lamb soaking up a Yotam marinade at that very moment, so we had to move on.
Bethan had the poached & smoked salmon fishcakes with creamed spinach, salad and fries (£12); I had the Ceredigion beef burger with homemade relish, salad and fries (£10).
Had the menfolk been invited, they would have had an 8oz Rattray sirloin with garlic mushroom, salad and fries for a very fair £17.
And my veggie friend Rose would have loved a nettle burger.
Yet from there, we became a little shruggy.
Bethan’s fishcakes were “very tasty, packed with fish” but no smoking process could be detected.
My burger was strangely narrow (the width of a “slider”) but very thick (fortunately I gave up on ladylike eating some time ago). The meat was juicy and the melted mature cheddar and added depth.
But our chips were off-puttingly anaemic. A loved chip is normally the mark of a loved customer in gastro-pubs: we were surprised and disappointed.
The whole meal felt like a half-hearted copy of the food at the Three Tuns in Bishops Castle. Competent but not exciting or original.
Things didn’t catch light with the desserts.
Megan is mad for her almond-based puds and dived straight for the almond and apricot tart. This came with some excellent stem ginger ice cream but wasn’t heavy on the almond flavour.
Appearance good, pastry excellent, but they hadn’t blind-baked the pastry first so the bottom was soggier than mine when I went ski-ing.
Baking blind was Day1/Lesson 1 when we were teaching.
My own chocolate brownie with chocolate sauce was also underwhelming. Yes, a brownie should be moist, should be under-baked, but it needs some cooking. This was a dollop of (tasty) mix with a dollop of (tasty) sauce. It still needed the chef to do something. Nice ice cream again.
There seemed to be some sort of special offer going on whereby desserts were only £2.50, so a meal here is very reasonably priced.
Indeed the only bad aspect is the music. Endless “harp music versions of big hits”. If I never hear another harp again it will be too soon.
If I lived nearby, I’d be here all the time. I’d be on first name terms with Rhodri and Esther.
But I live in Aberystwyth, and I don’t think the food is worth the trip.
However, the business is thriving because the whole experience of a trip there is worth it. Nice drive, rural village, quaint pub, decent food, some beer. The building itself is lovely and we had excellent, friendly service from (we presumed) Mrs Ffarmers.
Maybe they’ve got a bit complacent, maybe we’re a bit harsh, maybe it was an off day.
But I think Y Ffarmers is in danger of slipping backwards when it thinks it is standing still.
[On a final note – what is that name, Y Ffarmers, about?
The Welsh word for farmer is “ffermwr”. So it should be either “Y Ffermwrs” or “The Farmers”. It’s like when my dad asks me to pass “Le paper”.]