10 Welsh dishes
Food blogger Gourmet Gorro's Top Ten Welsh dishes you need to eat right now!
There’s never been a more exciting time for dining out in Wales. With a burgeoning street food scene and ever increasing number of chef-owned restaurants, Wales’s best produce can be found in fast food to fine dining.
Here are 10 of the best dishes in Wales that you need to stuff in your mouth right now. It’s by no means exhaustive. In fact, I could easily rattle off another 50.
1. Hugh’s Pork, The Marram Grass, Newborough, Anglesey
The Marram Grass, Newborough, Anglesey by You wouldn’t expect one of Wales’s most innovative restaurants to be located in a former rabbit breeding shed on a caravan park on the Isle of Anglesey. But, that’s exactly where you’ll find The Marram Grass.
Hugh’s Pork is an abundance of piggy delights that includes beautifully-flavoured crisp-skinned pork served with a glossy meat sauce, quaver-like crackling, wilted greens and a heroically good walnut puree.
2. Torgelly farm lamb, Hare and Hounds, Aberthin, Vale of Glamorgan
Hare and Hounds, Aberthin, Vale of Glamorgan by If there’s an advert for quality seasonal Welsh produce then the Torgelly farm lamb served at this Vale of Glamorgan country pub is it.
Grass-fed lamb, sourced from just a couple of miles down the road, is served as a blushing pink chop and slow-cooked shoulder. Accompaniments change with the season and include butternut squash and chargrilled spring onion or asparagus and wild garlic puree. One ever-present feature is the richness-balancing homemade mint sauce.
3. Lobster Roll, Pembrokeshire Beach Food Company, Pembrokeshire
Lobster roll at Cafe Môr, Pembrokeshire by Cafe Môr’s ('Môr' means 'sea' in Welsh) wood-panelled and life-buoy-festooned street food shack can be found at Pembrokeshire’s Freshwater West beach. Unsurprisingly, their menu focuses on locally sourced fish, shellfish and foraged seaweed. The lobster rolls are famous for good reason - half a sweet and tender Pembrokeshire lobster is enrobed in savoury laverbread butter and stuffed into a lightly toasted roll.
4. St Louis spare ribs, Hang Fire Southern Kitchen, Vale of Glamorgan
St Louis spare ribs, Hang Fire Southern Kitchen, Vale of Glamorgan by Low and slow American-style barbecue is served at this charming restaurant in a 19th Century pump house in the seaside town of Barry.
Memphis style ribs are my pick of the menu but there are no duff dishes to be found here. Tender, meaty, smoke-licked ribs are coated in a deep-flavoured dry rub and accompanied by home-made sauces (try the South Carolina mustard sauce), pickles and fries.
5. Pork belly cubano, Wright’s Food Emporium, Carmarthenshire
Pork belly cubano, Wright’s Food Emporium, Carmarthenshire by Wright’s Food Emporium, in Llanarthne near the National Botanic Garden of Wales, is a shrine to the best Welsh produce. During the day it’s a cafe and delicatessen serving killer sandwiches, salads and freshly baked cakes while on weekend evenings it transforms into an internationally-influenced restaurant.
Wright’s pork belly cubano is a sandwich whose reputation precedes it. Soft and crusty home-baked ciabatta is stuffed with golden pork belly, thick cut ham, cheese, warming sriracha mayo and richness busting jalapenos and gherkins. It’s an absolute beauty.
6. Blas y Môr, Dusty Knuckle Pizza Company, Cardiff
Blas y Môr pizza, Dusty Knuckle Pizza Company, Cardiff by Whilst Cardiff’s Dusty Knuckle can regularly be found at street food events around the capital, they also serve up their wood-fired Neapolitan style pizzas from a permanent courtyard restaurant in the Canton area of the city.
The Blas y Môr (Welsh for taste of the sea) is a delightfully Italian take on a classic set of Welsh ingredients - briney cockles, savoury laverbread, crisp lardons and samphire combine on a beautifully blistered base topped with light san marzano tomato sauce and oozy fior di latte cheese.
7. Crab linguine, The Hardwick, Abergavenny
Crab linguine, The Hardwick, Abergavenny by Located in Wales’s gastronomic heartland of Abergavenny, the Hardwick’s generous, technically accomplished yet down-to-earth food is cooked by chef-owner Stephen Terry, who trained under the legends Marco Pierre White & Michel Roux Jr.
Time and time again I order the crab linguine, an intensely comforting combination of pasta topped with crab, shrimp, courgette, radicchio, anchovy, warming chilli and the crunch of toasted breadcrumbs.
8. Afternoon tea, The Angel Hotel, Abergavenny
Afternoon Tea at the Angel Hotel, Abergavenny by The afternoon tea at this classy Abergavenny hotel was once named the best in the UK in the tea industry’s equivalent of the Oscars. Overflowing tiered stands of freshly baked quiches, sausage rolls, cakes, choux buns, custard slices, sandwiches, meringues and more are washed down with the perfect cup of loose leaf tea.
9. Chip butty, Pete’s Eats, Llanberis
Chip butty, Pete’s Eats, Llanberis by Wales’ most famous walkers’ cafe can be found in the village of Llanberis at the foot of Mount Snowdon. Crowds of intrepid explorers line their stomachs with hearty home-cooked food before or after climbing Wales’s highest mountain. Pete’s chip butties see golden hand-cut chips piled between buttered thick white sliced bread. I recommend washing one down with a pint of tea and following it up with a date slice.
10. North Pole, Joe’s Ice Cream, Swansea
North Pole, Joe’s Ice Cream, Swansea by Munching on an ice cream while strolling by the seaside; if there’s a more idyllic match then I’m yet to find it. Joe’s Ice Cream, in the swanky Mumbles area of Swansea, has been serving their uber-creamy Welsh-Italian ice cream since 1922. While Joe’s serve a range of flavours, you really must order the vanilla ice cream which is churned on site fresh daily. A signature North Pole comprises of vanilla ice cream sandwiched between wafers and topped with sauce (I’m a fan of the strawberry marshmallow), sprinkles and chopped nuts.