Since I live in Aber, I don’t stay in its hotels very often.
But shortly after their opening in 2007, I stayed at Gwesty Cymru and loved it.
The rooms are beautiful, and I had a sea view from both the room AND the bathroom!
I loved watching the winter joggers pass by from my warm tub.
I even took this photo on my primitive phone, so excited was I.
I’ve been back several times for dinner, and always enjoyed it.
It quickly generated a reputation as the place to go for a celebratory meal, and it books up rapidly at the weekend.
Unable to get a table on Saturday evening, we decided to see how it fared at lunchtime.
When we arrived, the sun was shining, the prom looked beautiful, and people were filling the front garden of Gwesty Cymru.
This is the only place you can get a good view of the sea, as unfortunately the restaurant is underneath the hotel.
However, the disappointment at not seeing the sea is melted by the lovely dining room.
It looks very classy, with lots of wood and slate and stone.
It’s a small room, which makes it feel intimate, and with the excellent staff it feels a very personal service.
We were pleased that table for two was free – I’d recommend booking if you want to eat here.
Their lunch menu offers a range of small plates, platters for two, and bigger plates offering their evening meals at slightly cheaper rates.
Haddock and cheese croquettes stood out, as did the Breakfast Scotch Egg and the Chicken Snowdonia.
There is also a changing daily specials menu. The neighbouring table enjoyed the Gwesty Burger (though they disputed it being “lightly” spiced – “I won’t be needing any cumin for a while”).
From the normal menu Bethan chose salmon fillet that had been marinaded in whisky, soy, maple and sesame marinade. This came with dill buttered new potatoes, pea shoots and lemon spring greens.
The salmon was beautifully cooked – pink, tender and moist on the inside, with the skin crisped up.
The sauce was very rich and tasty, although it became a little over-powering by the finish.
The crushed potatoes and spring greens were also excellent, although she wasn’t sure such a traditional side went with the rather racy Asian sauce.
She would have preferred noodles and stir-fried veg, but she was “very happy” with her meal. And £13.50 seemed very fair.
I chose the pork tenderloin medallions from the specials menu.
Mashed potato and buttered leeks were topped with three thick slices of tenderloin, each with a layer of Welsh rarebit and caramelised onions.
And served with a Welsh Taffy apple cider sauce.
I was very impressed.
The pork, leeks and cider sauce were beautifully balanced.
A cheese and caramelised onion topping might seem much, but the cheese added a depth of flavour, with the onions sweetening the whole deal.
Again, £12.75 seemed very fair.
Bethan described her sauvignon blanc as “fine” (175ml, £4.30) and I was very pleased with my cabernet sauvingnon (250ml, £5.30) (why are reds always better value than whites in restaurants)?
The wine list had plenty of interesting, well-priced bottles, though very few were served by the glass.
This was annoying, as not everyone can shift a bottle of wine at lunchtime.
There were several wines I’d like to have tried on their specials list. I wouldn’t risk £20 on a bottle of Tunisian red, but I would make a special trip for a £5 glass.
We would have loved to have tried some dessert.
Chocolate, coffee and Marsala torte with pecan nut brittle and Tia Maria crème frâiche?
Polish apple cake with Welsh ice cream?
Pear and cherry brandy crumble with Welsh ginger ice cream?
But we were too full, and our mouths had wonderful savoury tastes.
Our bill came to £36, and we were more than happy to leave a few quid tip for the friendly, attentive Welsh-speaking staff.
Even a quick lunch at Gwesty Cymru highlights the secret of their success.
There are lots of wonderful places to eat around Aberysytwyth, but I’m not sure anyone else offers such tasty cooking in sophisticated surroundings.
The menu can be a little conservative (Bethan’s salmon dish pulled back from being fully Asian) but I understand you have to have steak and rack of local lamb on your menu. And their steaks, lamb and fish are always excellent.
I’d struggle to recommend anywhere better locally for a birthday meal or celebration.
They do a package of dinner, bed and breakfast for two in a sea view room for £165.
If I didn’t live round the corner, I’d be having that for my birthday.
****** Update 27.07.14 ***********
Popped in to Gwesty again for lunch on Carnifal day, and had one of their platters.
A little like tapas, with 3 pieces for £9, 4 for £10, 5 for £11, so worth getting the larger one.
Lots of interesting fishy one, though I went for the beef pasty, the chicken and chorizo, and even the beetroot, mozzarella & goats cheese (and I don’t even like beetroot, but this was fine).
The “magic” Welsh rarebit was a bit disappointing and the half-banger and mash was good if slightly weird.
Came with focaccia (ok), chutney (good) and potato salad (tasty).
We finally managed to have the desserts here.
The chocolate, coffee and marsala torte with peanut brittle was VERY rich and quite bitter. I loved it, but Paul thought it wildly under-sweet.
We enjoyed his Szarlotka – a Polish apple cake with fig ice cream, although he thought too much cinnamon. Again, I thought perfect, which shows how hard the restaurant game is.