Friday, 24 June 2011

The Gwaelod Inn

This morning could almost have passed for summer, before the rain set in again this afternoon, so I decided to take the train to Taff’s Well for a walk up The Garth. From here you can look down on Cardiff to the south, and along the Taff Valley to the Brecons Beacons in the north.

After walking in this area, a visit to The Gwaelod y Garth Inn is hard to resist. This pub, which has been owned by Richard and Barbara Angell for five years, is highly rated for both its beer and food. The stone-walled building has recently been refurbished, but retains loads of character.

The Gwaelod was voted Cardiff Pub of the Year 2011 by CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale). There are typically six cask ales (Wye Valley and guest beers) plus cask cider (Gwynt y Ddraig) on tap. Today, I had a Wye Valley Bitter to help me recover from my exertions. There is probably irony in the notice ‘The Colourful Local’s Bar’ over the bar. This is a pub with plenty of locals, but it’s also very welcoming to strangers and there are plenty of them walking the hills hereabouts.

The Gwealod fashions itself as ‘The pub that went up a hill and came down a restaurant’ (a reference to the book/film about an Englishman who measured mountains, which was inspired by the village of Gwaelod y Garth; the one with Hugh Grant and locals who take rocks up to the summit when he's not looking).

Fish and seafood feature more prominently on the menu than is usual for a pub. I had mussels today (sourced from Ashton’s of Cardiff Market). Among the other dishes on the special’s board were Soft Shell Crab with mint and chili dressing; Lambs liver, mash and onion gravy; Black pudding, braised cabbage and bacon in a red wine jus; and Tuna steak and Lamb rump dishes.

Meals can be enjoyed in the bar and outside, with views over the Taff Valley, while there is a restaurant upstairs. The food has a distinctly Welsh flavour and ingredients are sourced locally. The beef comes from a nearby farm, for example, while the ice cream is from Wild Fig.

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