I feel slightly silly reviewing the Treehouse, as it’s been open forever.
Indeed, it’s now a small ethical empire, with the wholefoods restaurant, the shops and the veg box service.
But Bethan and I felt in the need for some healthy food, so thought we’d pop up and see what they’re doing these days.
Naturally, they’re doing what they’ve always done.
The building is an Aber institution.
The shop downstairs still sells local organic vegetables, many types of flour and free-range meat, while the choice of Japanese ingredients is surprisingly superb.
There’s still not much space for moving around, but only because it’s chock-full of good stuff.
The first-floor dining room is as charming as ever, although it never feels the most efficient use of space.
There is another room above which feels better-arranged, but Bethan and I grabbed our favourite table in the corner.
You can see how pleased Bethan is by table from the picture, where she is listening to me for once. Normally she’d be lecturing me about M&S coming (bad), Starbucks opening (worse) and the Day Care Centre moving to a different building (atrocity).
I disagree with her on all these matters, but wouldn’t do so in public at the Treehouse as I fear I’d be in a minority of one.
There is a regular menu with reliable staples like jacket potatoes, quiche and veggie burgers, but we have always ordered off the blackboard as we like the idea of eating something freshly created. The menu always features a couple of veggie mains, a ‘local special’ and an option for the die-hard carnivores.
I liked the sound of the coq au vin, but it seems wrong to order meat dishes at the Treehouse when the veggie food is so good.
So we sashayed up to the counter and ordered one sweet potato and coconut curry and one spinach and butternut squash torte.
On sitting down, we noted two positive aspects in comparison to recently-reviewed places.
Both floors were full by 12.20 on a Saturday, and it was warm!!
Yes, it can suffer from a bit of condensation (and condescension from non-hippies) but better that than the cold other restaurateurs are happy with.
There’s a good choice of bottled drinks (including some interesting beers) and our pressés arrived quickly (handy as we were presséd for time).
They don’t have a large kitchen, and they had a lot of hungry punters, so the limited daily menu works well for everyone.
They can get a lot of meals out while there’s plenty of change to stop regulars getting bored.
Our food took about 15 minutes, and looked great.
The salads really were bright green – I haven’t been cheating in PhotoShop.
The portions are enormous, and packed with a variety of ingredients.
My sweet potato and coconut curry certainly wasn’t too heavily spiced, and was very tasty.
It was packed with chickpeas and peppers and tomatoes and broccoli.
The onion bhajis were homemade, crazy-looking, and wonderful.
The pilaf rice was much better than the over-microwaved stuff you get elsewhere.
The (super-)green salad was good, incorporating coleslaw, mixed beans and potatoes, but superfluous given the size of the main dish.
However, I enjoyed it and felt all the healthier for it.
Bethan’s butternut, spinach and walnut torte was a riot of ingredients, but slightly overpowered by the fig and port sauce.
She thought there was too much of this, and it was too powerful – “If I’d wanted an over-acidic Christmas Chutney, I’d have brought my own”.
We did find the (crushed) walnuts at the end, and the squash was excellent.
The fresh side salad felt more appropriate here, but the quantities became too much towards the end and we had to leave a bit!
Two huge healthy, original main meals, with refreshing drinks, for £20 felt very fair.
We had a quick shop in the shop (tamari!) and a look at the notices in the rear exit.
We enjoyed our meal, and were pleased to see, in an ever-changing world, The Treehouse sticking to what they do best.
There’s no one else like them in Aber, or far beyond, and we wish them well for the future.
14 Baker Street, Aberystwyth SY23 2BJ
9 AM TO 6 PM MONDAY TO FRIDAY
9 AM TO 5 PM SATURDAY