[Irie’s closed in early 2016]
Since Aberystwyth has restaurants for most Mediterranean countries, we were pleased to see Irie’s Cocktail Lounge and Caribbean Restaurant open recently.
And with temperatures around freezing, Bethan and I fancied a little West Indian warmth, so we thought we’d dust off our neglected blog and get down there.
But if you visit Irie’s to get warmed up on a cold day, you’ll be disappointed.
Although the bar area is smart –
and the seating area comfortable –
the place was freezing.
There is some sort of heating, but it appears to be on the ceiling (and heat rises).
A sign outside says “Chillin’ 12 – 1.30” and we have to agree.
They have a fancier (and warmer?) dining room upstairs, but their bar menu lets you try out the kitchen without spending too much.
I chose the Goat Curry with Coconut rice and vegetable fritters (£10.25) while Bethan ignored my instruction to have Jerk Chicken and had the Jerk Vegetable Roti instead (£8.95).
Note the table next to the bar with sockets.
Have you ever seen such a thing?
Nice barman said it was for laptop users, and for people to charge their phones.
And sure enough, the sockets contained little USB ports for power (although you’d have to bring your phone’s USB cable out with you, and what sort of oddball does that?)
The roti were really patties, and were very tasty.
Hardly “jerk” hot but a little warmth in there.
The promised salad either didn’t come, or that bit of garnish is it.
Anyone not finding the patty hot enough could drop in one of the thin slices of scotch bonnet chilli to liven things up.
The homemade ketchup was excellent, and Bethan was very happy with her choice.
I was very pleased with my goat curry too.
The meat was soft and flavourful without being too goaty (unlike goat milk, which is like being sat on by a goat (although, why would you, a non-goat, be drinking goat’s milk? Yuck))
And it carried plenty of kick from its scotch bonnet slices, leading to a rich and complex dish.
The rice was well-flavoured, so that within a few mouthfuls I had a pleasant background taste of coconut.
The salad was fine (maybe I got Bethan’s?), although the veg fritters were a bit soggy and bland.
The portions weren’t huge, but were appropriate for a lunchtime bar menu, and a bill of £20 for two is great.
The size was just right to recharge us for further shopping.
I was surprised we were the only diners on a Saturday.
But Aber has felt very quiet this Twixmas, with everyone I know going to Shrewsbury or Carmathen for the better shops.
Maybe once the year starts properly, and the students come back, and the weather warms up, Irie’s will fulfil its potential.
We’ll definitely be going back to check out their a la carte menu, and I would recommend anyone curious to try out the bar menu first.
The cocktail list is inviting, and they have some interesting rums.
The beer range isn’t great – bland lagers and a bitter when a big-hitting IPA would be ideal – but Irie’s is no longer a pub.
(It’s in the building that was the old, unloved Weston Vaults.)
Indeed, they doesn’t serve shots in order to discourage those big groups of students that descend for ten minutes with bants, shoutings, and arguments about who is the Big Noise On Campus.
Irie’s name is a puzzle too.
If it’s from the word “Irie” (“Cool” or “All right”) then what’s the ‘s doing there?
Or is it a reference to Tipper Irie, of “Hello Darling” fame, who played the Kings Hall in 1986?
We didn’t dare ask – if you go, please ask on our behalf.
IRIE’S COCKTAIL LOUNGE & CARIBBEAN RESTAURANT
Thespian Street Aberystwyth SY23 2JW