We were intrigued to see the Glengower win the 2016 CAMRA Ceredigion Pub Of The Year, so we popped in to give it a try.
As one of the very few pubs with a proper seaview in this seaside town, we had some decent beers and Nephew had a “that’s amazing” Choc Fudge Cake and ice cream.
Look at his happy face – and who can blame him?!
So as soon as the weather perked up on Bank Holiday Monday, we headed over to check out their full menu.
The pub looks lovely as you arrive – solid, reassuring and with a great aspect on the seafront.
Once inside, the bar is bright & appealing.
The real ale range was a little disappointing –
– that’s essentially five similar under-hopped, lower-strength pale ales (I can imagine the landlord of the Ship & Castle raising his expressive eyebrows).
However the ciders are a revelation – five good ones, including Bethan’s favourite “Happy Daze“.
And they are all in Top Quality condition – I’ve tried seven beers here, all superb.
The tables in the front are big, bright, and have wonderful sea views.
Alas, these were full, so we went out the back.
It’s a little darker, but it’s cosy, private and spacious.
When we first visited, we noticed the main menu is a little dull – fish & chips, burger, sausages, chilli, lasagne, scampi.
A pub needs to do that sort of thing, of course, but to get repeat custom you need to do something a little special too.
That’s where their well-named Specials Board comes in.
Bethan loves a bowl of mussels, so she was delighted.
The board was a bit fish-heavy for me (there were beef ribs on there last time!) so I went for the “Pork Belly with Black Pudding Mash, Red Cabbage & cider apple sauce (£12.95)”.
When it arrived, I was a little under-whelmed.
Pork belly, cabbage, potatoes – these are cheap ingredients, and there wasn’t a lot of them.
The crackling was delicious, but it seemed there was more of it than pork meat.
The Black Pudding Mash was good, and the red cabbage was excellent – sweet and acidic to cut through the meat.
I had nearly finished within five minutes, but it was filling and tasty.
(As an aside, here’s how The Bunch Of Grapes does the same thing.)
Bethan’s “Steamed Mussels In Sweet Tomato & Chilli Sauce with Garlic Ciabatta” looked a bit small too, but for £7.95 it is good value, particularly when a bowl of fries (£2.95) are on the side.
The mussels were small, but they too seemed very filling.
The tomato & chilli sauce was just right, and gave a fine bowl of food (though the shells broke amazingly easy).
That ciabatta garlic bread was superb – crispy crust, soft centre and a nice tang of garlic.
Much-needed finger bowl or bowl for the empty shells weren’t provided.
The fries split us.
I thought they were some of the best I’ve had – great potato taste.
But I like my chips soft – Bethan would have liked them much more crispy.
Service was excellent.
Waiting staff kept an eye on the back room as much as the front ones (take note, The Hive), you get an impressive range of sauces on your table, and the food came out slightly quicker than you’d expect.
However, they ask you “How Was Your Meal?” once you’ve finished, rather than the more useful “Is Everything Alright?” after five minutes.
And the real ale advice was a bit banal.
The Glengower is well worth a visit if you’ve not been for a while.
Prices are reasonable, food is decent, the pub looks lovely.
There’s just not enough in that menu to get us to go back again.
And I think they need to expand that real ale range to justify prices being 50% higher than Wetherspoons.
If I was staying at the Hotel, I’d be delighted, and next time it’s a sunny weekend, I’ll be back on their seaview benches.
** December 2016 Update **
We were a little unconvinced by the food, as were a few friends who ate there later.
But where I, and everyone else, was delighted with the Glengower, was with their Xmas lunch.
For £19.95 I had a superb duck/apricot/brandy pate, a turkey dinner, and a homemade choc & Bailey’s cheesecake.
It’s tricky to do a Xmas dinner for 30+ in one go, but this was excellent. Service was friendly and efficient too.
Plenty of meat, plenty of veg, with the veg retaining their flavour and cooked to perfection. Crisp, tasty sprouts! Homemade Yorkies!
Slightly suggestive pigs in blankets!