Page 1

FREE issue 1 : AUGUST 2015

tasteSwansea DANNY REES:

WHY I DITCHED MEAT

THE MUMBLES MILE A RENAISSANCE

AUSTERITY BITES: LUNCh FOR UNDER £5? WIN BEER! Win COOKERY BOOK! Life in The Kitchen: FAIRYHILL


The go-to family-friendly restaurant on The Gower! Free cake with your coffee in September Monday-Friday Until 4.30

Basket meals JUST

£5.95

Breaded Scampi, Battered Cod, Quarter Pound Beef Burger all served with chips from midday untill 6pm, Mon-Sun

Llanrhidian Holiday Park, Llanrhidian, Gower, SA3 1EU

Serving Delicious Food, Seven Days a Week Taste our famous Sunday Roasts! Starting at £8.95 (£5.50 for children) Served 12pm to 4pm.

A la carte menu available from midday to 8:30pm, Monday to Saturday

purplebadgerrestaurant.co.uk @BadgerGower

The Purple Badger Gower Llanrhidian


TA

ST

ESW

ANSEA

.C

O

WELCOME

M

I

f you’re looking for gardening, cars and general lifestyle…

Taste Swansea Magazine

you’ve got the wrong magazine! We’re all about food and drink. That’s it.

August 2015

PUBLISHER Taste Swansea Magazine

PHONE 07935 202012

ENQUIRIES info@tasteswansea.com

ADVERTISING advert@tasteswansea.com

EDITOR Chris Carra

DESIGN BST DESIGNS bstdesigns.co.uk

PRINT Harcourt Colour Print

WEBSITE tasteswansea.com

SOCIAL @Taste_Swansea facebook.com/TasteSwansea All effort has been taken to ensure that the information contained in this magazine

Taste Swansea is a completely independent publication, covering the best aspects of local food and drink in Swansea, Gower and Llanelli – from farmers’ markets to fine dining, and everything in between. I’ve been writing about food and drink for years, for both local and national publications, as well as on my own blog, SwanseaOnAPlate.com. But I decided it was finally time to create a printed magazine for the growing army of foodies in Swansea. Something you can pick up and read, without having to squint at a screen or wait for a WIFI connection. So, along with a handful of talented contributors, I have put together this free magazine with content that celebrates everything great about food and drink in Swansea – restaurant, pub and café reviews, events and news, recipes, opinion, interviews, and even a competition or two. There’s also several pages dedicated to one of my major passions: local craft beers, microbreweries and real ale pubs. In this first issue you can read an engaging article from local chef and cookery teacher Danny Rees, who explains why he finally ditched meat after 40 years (P10). There’s also an entertaining tour of the modern Mumbles Mile (P28); a hunt for lunch in Swansea city centre for under a fiver (P7); and a preview of the awesome Swansea Bay Beer Festival (P25). And that’s in addition to foodie news, interviews and four honest reviews of restaurants in and around Swansea.

is accurate at the time of publication. However Taste Swansea Magazine accepts no responsibility for the consequences of errors or omissions. All text, artwork and photographs

submitted

for

publication

That’s quite a bit to get through, so I’ll leave you to enjoy it. I’d love to hear your thoughts on the magazine, so please get in touch with me at editor@ tasteswansea.com.

within this magazine are accepted on the understanding that prior permission has

been

sought

by

the

subscriber

where relevant. Opinions expressed in the magazine are not necessarily those

Until next time, buon appetito!

Chris

of the publisher, editor or designer and the magazine is in no way liable for such opinions. No part of this publication may be reproduced without written permission of the publisher.

EDITOR Chris Carra

CONTRIBUTOR Danny Rees

CONTRIBUTOR Alex Jones

CONTRIBUTOR Rob Turner Mumbles Brewery

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WHAT IS IN SEASON?

VEGETABLES

FRUIT & BERRIES

Herbs

August and September is

As late summer reaches its

Finally, it’s time to get

the time to be eating late

peak, so to does the berry

plucking these leaves from

summer vegetables, before

season. Make sure to get

your fragrant herb garden:

the weather turns colder:

your fix of these local fruits:

TOMATOES

RASBERRIES

BASIL

PEPPERS

STRAWBERRIES

CHIVES

SWEETCORN

BLUEBERRIES

DILL

RUNNER BEANS

BLACKBERRIES

PARSLEY

SPINACH

CHERRIES PEACHES

MINT

CELERY

PLUMS

Opening times: Mon: Tues: Wed: Thurs Fri: Sat: Sun:

11 Saint Helen's Road Swansea SA1 4AB

An Eclectic taste for everyone www.mosaicswansea.com

Closed Closed 12-3pm & 6-11pm 12-3pm & 6-11pm 12-11pm 12-11pm 12-3pm


FOODI E NEWS THIS LITTLE PIGGY WENT TO MARKET

Swansea is spoiled for choice when it comes to its farmers markets, crammed with fresh breads, meats, micro-brewed beers and gourmet chocolates among other goodies. Here are some of the most popular regular markets coming up in the next few weeks.

PoRK ONLINE

A brand new website has been launched to help promote Wales’ superb pork producers. Porc.Wales showcases the best of Welsh pork through a ‘cuts guide’, a variety of recipes, and interviews with farmers, butchers and chefs – not to mention a comprehensive directory of Welsh pork producers. Suzy Williams, whose company Ty Siriol Pork feature on the new website, told Taste Swansea that they were delighted to be involved with the project. ‘There is a lot of hard work, and a lot of love, that goes in to raising quality pigs. This results in great quality pork. It’s wonderful that real Welsh pork is being put on the map and promoted,’ she said.

Sun 9th Aug, Sun 13 Sept

SAT 29 Aug, SAT 26 Sept

MARINA MARKET

UPLANDS MARKET

SAT 12 Sept

SAT 5 Sept

MUMBLES FARMERS MARKET

SKETTY LOCAL PRODUCE MARKET

SAT 15 Aug, Sat 19 Sept

SUN 9 Aug, SUN 13 Sept

PENCLAWDD LOCAL PRODUCE MARKET

PENNARD LOCAL PRODUCE MARKET

ItALY COMES TO OXFORD STREET A delightful Italian food market will hit the streets of Swansea City Centre from Thursday, 20 August for four days. MedFood’s market, which takes up its traditional spot on Oxford Street, will feature an authentic taste of Italy, offering a tantalising mix of salami, breads, nougats, cheeses, biscuits, nuts, pastas, olives, oils and more. Bellissimo!

Fantastic food Festival The Brangwyn Hall are getting ready to host the Big Swansea Food and Drink Festival, which will be held on Saturday, 22 and Sunday, 23 August from 10am. Both local and celebrity chefs will be appearing in workshops and food demonstrations, including the multi Michelin-starred French chef Jean-Christophe Novelli. The event will also see a plethora of Welsh food and drink suppliers showing off their goods and offering delicious tasters (that’s the best part!).

5


Everything we sell is handmade at our family bakery in Sketty. At Kristy’s, we are more than just a bakery. Of course, we still hand make your favourite traditional savouries and cakes; from cocktail Swansea pies and mozzarella puffs, to custard slices, giant cookies and animal biscuits. But we also create beautiful Italian delicacies including Sicilian cannoli, focaccia, toscana, panna cotta and spicy pilla bread. And let’s not forget Antonio’s special range of delicious home-made pasta sauces, balsamic vinegar and lasagne portions. We also specialise in chocolate wedding cakes, and celebration cakes forany occasion. As we said; we are more than just a bakery.

www.kristysbakeryswansea.com


AUSTERITY

BITES

T

imes are financially tough for all of us we know that. But that’s no reason to make do with a lame cheese sandwich for lunch.

No, the good news is that you can still find a hot, satisfying meal in Swansea City centre for under five quid. Putting this list together wasn’t the easiest of tasks - especially as I decided ‘two for...’ deals were not to be included - but with a little searching you’ll be surprised at what’s available for you and your fiver.

£3.99

£3.95

STAR CHOICE

Sandy’s Lunchbox, Swansea Market Home-made Chicken Curry and Rice While there may be more glamorous places to eat than Swansea Market, there’s no questioning the quality on offer from the charismatic Sandy’s Lunchbox. A hefty plate of home-made chicken curry (usually a tikka or jalfrezi) and fluffy rice is a mouthwatering £3.95, while you can add a portion of chips for an additional 55p. Delicious and thrifty!

Burrito The bank statement, wind street

The Wetherspoons pub offer a great deal. For less than £4 you get a freshly made burrito filled with brown rice, peppers, beans, onions and cheese; an array of Mexican toppings; AND a soft drink! However, for just a pound more, you can choose from a selection of alcoholic drinks.

£4.95

Govinda’s Special Govinda’s, CRADock street

This is my personal favourite go-to lunch when I’m in the city centre. For just under a fiver you get a plate packed with freshly made vegetarian delights: a vegan and a dairy subji (curry dish), dahl, salad, rice, chutney and either a poori or pakora.

£4.00

Sausage egg & chips KC’s, Nelson street

Perhaps it’s not as exotic as subji and dahl, but no-one can question the value for money in this belly-filling meal. It features a Gower sausage and egg, along with a portion of home-made chips...and change from a fiver!

£4.95

fish finger ciabatta the griffin, wind street

It’s worth noting that the ‘fish finger’ mentioned on the menu is actually a single fillet of battered fish, served in a Ciabatta roll with a sour cream dressing. Great value at £4.95 – but flash your Swansea City Centre Loyalty Card and it’s 25% cheaper at £3.71!

£4.95

omelette with three fillings cafe nisse, wind street

While an omelette may not be the most exciting lunch option, it’s tried-and-tested comfort food. Freshly made with three fillings of your choice,along with a nice salad garnish, this is a very satisfying option from the Wind Street café.

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FAIRYHILL restaurant

rooms

relaxation

“Our favourite hotel anywhere” GOOD HOTEL GUIDE

Set amongst 24 acres of secluded lawns and woodland, this charming 18th-century small hotel and restaurant with a mighty reputation offers some of the finest food and wine in Wales. Take time out to enjoy the Fairyhill Experience. • Morning coffee • Lunch from 12pm-2pm from £20 • Afternoon Tea from 3pm-5pm from £20 per person (24 hours notice required) • Dinner from 7pm-9pm from £35 • Eight luxury bedrooms • Getaway business meetings

Reynoldston, Gower, Swansea SA3 1BS Tel: 01792 390139 www.fairyhill.net


LIFE IN THE KITCHEN PAUL DAVIES Tucked away in the heart of Reynoldston is Fairyhill – a luxurious hotel and restaurant that truly sets the standard for fine dining in Swansea. Andrew Hetherington and Paul Davies have owned Fairyhill since 1993, with Paul taking the reigns as head chef for ten years. Here he sheds some light on what life is really like behind the kitchen doors.

“Simplicity is the key for me – don’t mess with good ingredients.”

What is the most popular item on your menu? These days our menu changes monthly, plus we have daily specials, so it’s difficult to say... but scallops will always be popular, and crab as a starter always goes well. Same as the lamb and beef for the main course. And we always have steak and chips on – we like to appeal across the board, as not everyone wants complicated food all the time. What was the first meal you ever cooked? It was probably something like a Bolognese. Just something I would have chucked together. I never really used recipes – apart from deserts. You have to follow instructions when it comes to deserts. How did your career in the kitchen begin? After finishing in catering college I worked for a company called Embassy Hotels which was part of Allied-Lyons. I started off in Coventry, then Wigan and then came down to Swansea. But I didn’t really start in the kitchens until myself and Andrew opened P.A’s in Mumbles. What cuisine inspires you the most? French in the early days. I travelled a bit when I was younger; my father worked in the wine business so therefore we had been to France a fair amount, and that was the kind of cuisine that was prevalent at the time. These days Italian is more of an inspiration, even though I couldn’t get on with pasta when I first tried it. What’s your favourite meal to cook for yourself? I eat very simply, so I would roast a good quality chicken, with some good veggies. Just steamed with water, wine and some herbs. That would make me happy. Simplicity is the key for me – don’t mess with good ingredients.

What was the best thing about being a chef? Being able to create new dishes. I may have been given a new ingredient and would think ‘what can I do with that?’ It’s good to try things out and ask ‘does this work with that?’ I love to exercise my creativity. And the worst? The stress. Every person who comes to the restaurant is expecting the best meal they’ve ever had, which means when you’re doing 60 meals on a Saturday night, you have to do 60 of the best meals ever. And the heat – it’s a very hot environment. Who is the most famous person you’ve cooked for? We’ve had Tony Blair, Joan Collins, Harry Secombe, Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward. Finally, if you weren’t a chef, what would you be doing? I’ve always worked in this industry, so it would still have to be something with food and drink. Although I always wanted to be an architect, but my maths isn’t that good!

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FOOD MATTERS WITH DANNY REES

“Danny’s Adventures into Vegetarianism”

In his first column for Taste Swansea, local food writer, chef and cookery teacher DANNY REES relives his first year as a vegetarian – the reasons he ditched meat, the highs and the lows, and a few delicious ways you can change your diet for the better. On 1 August 2014 I stopped eating meat. Something inside me changed; a gradual ralisation that it didn’t feel right. It was a big deal because I loved eating meat. Because of my career, my entire professional identity was, in many ways, bound up with eating animals. I would have to tell my wife, children, colleagues, friends and family of my impending conversion. Expressing it personally and professionally would mean no going back. I was educated to be a meat eater. I grew up in a big working-class family in Swansea and spent the first 20 years of my life eating any old meat. I didn’t question it, had a healthy appetite and always wanted more. At 16 I went to Swansea College to become a chef and a love of cookery developed. My life as a chef would train me to think of meat, and to a lesser extent fish, to be at the centre of the plate. Any vegetables would be in a supporting role, given little thought or care. It took

me until my thirties, which coincided with a raising in consciousness about animal welfare, to buy free-range meat. Then at 40 years of age, I stopped eating meat altogether. Here’s why. The production of the vast majority of meat today is shocking. I read Jonathan Safran Coer’s Eating Animals and it was a game changer. I could no longer ignore the grisly facts of industrialised meat production. The way in which livestock animals are kept and fed is horrific and the way they are slaughtered genuinely upset me. All animals, to varying degrees, are sentient creatures with the capacity to feel fear and pain. Pigs are often compared to dogs in their intelligence and we would rightly be outraged with images of dogs crammed into pens without the ability to turn, quickly fattened, badly handled and inhumanely killed. Yet we support this system every time we buy pork chops for tea.

10


For every 100g of beef produced, a cow has to eat 1.6kg of cereal, often corn and soya which are currently destroying rainforests.

We consume a staggering 85kg of meat per person, per year in the UK and overwhelmingly this is from factory farmed, industrialised animals. It is telling that the ‘farms’ on which these animals are raised are high security areas, on par with MI5, to stop people seeing what actually goes on inside them. But I’m not sure this security is necessary – we don’t want to know. As long as we can buy four chicken breasts for £5 then we keep silent. We deceive ourselves so well that we argue that it’s ‘natural’ to eat animals. In this way? I don’t think so. We show our children picture books of old MacDonald’s farm, with happy animals and kindly rosycheeked farmers. We continue to deceive ourselves from the reality by allowing the meat industry to label the packaging with words such as ‘British’, ‘farm fresh’, ‘free range’, ‘corn fed’ and logos such as RSPCA Freedom Food and the little red tractor. Concerns and scandals are plentiful; the recent horsemeat scandal, the BSE crisis and the diet of antibiotics given to overcrowded, unhealthy animals are just a few. These have the capacity to affect your own health, but still we don’t care. The effect this high density farming is having on the environment is also devastating. For

“Tell your friends and family that nut roast is being served next Sunday and they’ll think you’ve gone mad..”

every 100g of beef produced, a cow has to eat 1.6kg of cereal, often corn and soya which are currently destroying rainforests. These arguments always come across as ‘hippyish’ and alternatives shouted down as unrealistic, but the unavoidable facts are that in almost all cases meat is bad. Why don’t we eat less meat or give it up altogether? There are two significant reasons. One is that meat production is big business and the consumption of meat is supported at all levels in industry and government, so facts about the damaging nature of meat rarely come out in the mainstream. The second reason is we don’t want to stop. It isn’t really socially acceptable. Tell your friends and family that nut roast is being served next Sunday and they’ll think you’ve gone mad. Opponents of vegetarianism or veganism always talk about eating meat as a ‘natural’ thing to do, but this is utter nonsense. What is natural is being able to provide your body with the correct balance of nutrients to survive and prosper. How you provide your body with essential protein is a choice. My wife recently made tacos with chilli-infused black beans and they were stunning. They also contain the same amount of protein as a breast of chicken and therefore are a great source of protein, not to mention the other nutritional benefits. I’ve loved learning how to cook without meat and have had to re-educate myself. It was initially quite daunting to take away meat-centred favourites and come up with a new range of vegetarian dishes to feed my family. I’ve used loads of new things – black beans being one of them – but have tried to stay away from analogue meat replacements such as Quorn, as I’m not too keen on the texture.

11


One of the great things about British food culture is that we are ‘food magpies’. By this I mean we are great at nicking dishes from other countries and making them our own, and this is the strategy you must adopt if you want to have an enjoyable meat-free existence. Asian and Middle Eastern food has a particularly rich range of meat-free dishes. One of my favourites is falafel (chick pea fritters) stuffed into pitta bread with hummus, baba ganoush (aubergine puree), salad and chilli sauce. Similarly, I love to make Indonesian vegetable curry served with steamed jasmine rice, and a crunchy raw Asian salad with a hot dressing (see the recipe on the following page). Another great reason to cut down on or cut out meat altogether is the cost. Buying cheap meat comes with all the problems I have mentioned, but free-range or organic meat is usually too expensive for most families to consider. I tried, but I found myself slipping back to bad old habits of buying cheap factory farmed meat, so I stopped altogether and bought more wonderful vegetables.

industry spends £1billion on junk food advertising. Everywhere we look we are encouraged to eat high fat, high sugar foods – always processed, always bad for you. Eat Less, Eat Real is my message. If you are swayed by my arguments and tempted by my recipes but are sensitive to what people may think if you were to stop eating meat, then start with a ‘Meatless Monday’ – a concept that started out in the US but is now a mainstream concept. Two great books that changed my attitude to food were Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall’s ‘River Cottage Veg Every Day’ and Anna Jones ‘A Modern Way to Eat’ – the latter being a stunning book on meat-free cooking. I’ve got dozens of cookery books and Anna’s is the best by a mile; it’s so good it has even converted my wife to the joys of cooking which is the highest praise I can place on any cookery book.

Along with a few other basics such as cheese, bread, pasta and store-cupboard essentials, my shopping bill has been greatly reduced. I am putting money into the local economy, I am healthier and financially better off for not eating meat.

If myself, Jonathan Safran Foer, Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall and Anna Jones can’t persuade you to eat less meat, then watch an episode of The Simpsons called ‘Lisa the Vegetarian’. As usual they beautifully dissect and give great advice on all the issues facing mankind, both big and small. On hearing Lisa’s plans to serve meat-free food at a BBQ, Homer says ‘I’m trying win friends here Lisa; you don’t win friends with salad’.

I’d like to point out that my argument isn’t with great local producers of meat and fish – it is with the Big Food industry; the supermarkets and the junk food retailers and their relationship with government.

Maybe you won’t win friends with salad, but you will with the recipe on the next page. In the meantime your family, your friends, your health, your wallet, the animals we eat, and the planet will be all the better for it.

In the UK, the government spends £14million a year on positive health related messages while the big food

Asian and Middle Eastern food has a particularly rich range of meat-free dishes.

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VEGETARIAN RECIPE

INDONESIAN VEGETABLE CURRY To be honest I’m not sure how authentic, or indeed Indonesian, this curry is. But I’m not really one for authenticity – if it tastes good, that’s all that matters!

250g mushrooms, quartered

The addition of peanut butter gives this dish a satay feel and the other zingy ingredients bring a welcome dash of life. Accompany it with beautiful Thai jasmine rice, dipping sauce, pak choi and an Asian salad, all of which are below.

Handful of coriander stalks

100g green beans, halved 100g baby corn 200ml coconut milk 200ml water For the curry paste: 2 birds eye chillies, deseeded 1 lemongrass stalk 2 cloves garlic 1 tsp turmeric 2 tsp sugar 1 tbsp soy sauce 1 tbsp fish sauce 1 tbsp lime juice 2 tbsp peanut butter

1. INDONESIAN CURRY

The curry paste can be made in advance by blending all the ingredients into a fine paste, with no big lumps. Next, blanch the beans and baby corn in boiling water for two minutes and drain. Then add a tbsp of oil to a large frying pan or wok, and fry the mushrooms on a high heat. Add the curry paste, the coconut milk and water, then simmer with the other veg for five minutes until it is at the desired thickness. Add some chopped coriander or sliced spring onions as a garnish.

2. DIPPING SAUCE

I use this hot and zingy dipping sauce on loads of things. You can change quantities to suit your own taste. Combine 2 tbsp soy sauce, 1 tbsp fish sauce, 2 tbsp water, juice from 1 lime, 1 tbsp sesame oil, a pinch of sugar, 1 finely sliced birds eye chilli, 3 sliced spring onions and some chopped coriander in a dish. That’s it!

3. STEAMED PAK CHOI WITH NUTS

Slice whole pak choi in half lengthways, wash and dry on kitchen towel. Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a frying pan and lay the pak choi sliced side down in the hot oil for a minute or so, to give it some colour. Add a drop of water and put a lid on and steam for a few minutes until cooked. Arrange on a plate and drizzle some dipping sauce over. Adding a few chopped toasted peanuts over the top adds a lovely crunchy texture.

4. ASIAN SALAD You can buy green unripe papaya from Exotica on St Helen’s Road. They give a crunchy texture and fresh flavour to the salad which is very welcome. Any variety of salad vegetables can be finely sliced and combined with the papaya to create a lovely vibrant salad. Choose from peppers, cucumber, tomato, courgette, shallots, spring onion, red onion, cauliflower, carrots, sugar snap peas, baby corn, etc. Arrange on a plate and drizzle over a simple dressing (sliced chilli, soy sauce, sesame oil, lime and sugar).

5. JASMINE RICE Serves 2-3. Wash 200g of Thai jasmine rice in cold water and drain. Add to 400ml of boiling unsalted water and cook on a low heat with a lid on until the rice has absorbed the water. Turn heat off and leave to rest for 5 minutes before serving.

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The Beaufort Arms 18 Pennard Road, Kittle, SA3 3JG | 01792 234447

What’s happening at your local village pub? Monday: Cask Ale Night – Brains S.A. and Bitter for £1.99 Tuesday: Grill Night – 25% off everything on our grill menu Wednesday: Curry and Drink for £7.50 (selected drinks) Sunday: Quiz Night from 8.30pm

Spend £25 on food, get £5 off Bring this advert with you to receive promotion. Terms and conditions apply. See a team member for more information.

Like us on Facebook and Twitter


REVIEW

THE BEAUFORT ARMS, KITTLE

U

“Stylish, sophisticated and not that far away!”

p until last month, a long time had passed

A part of the Brains family of pubs, there’s an extensive and

since I had paid a visit to The Beaufort Arms – a

recognisable menu of classic pub favourites – from steaks

traditional family pub and the focal point of the

and burgers, to lighter choices like fish and salad dishes.

small community of Kittle.

But the area of the menu that really caught my eye was the

For some reason I had this idea that getting there from the centre of Swansea would require a long journey. Of course, after driving there in less than five minutes from Mumbles Road one Wednesday evening I quickly realised how wrong

Spice Corner; a section dedicated to the more adventurous pub foods, such as fajitas, chillis and curries. And it was from this spicy segment that I ordered my main

I had been.

meal; the Keralan chicken curry, while my dining partner

On approaching the pub, the first thing I noticed was the

complaints from the curry, which was punchy and filling,

lovely big beer garden. However, despite the summer sun still shining, the evening chill had set in (we are in Swansea after all) so we decided to sit inside. Having just seen a major refurbishment, the interior is now stylish and sophisticated, but retains the homely, country pub atmosphere that regulars have come to love – especially in the lower bar area.

went for the Welsh beef chilli burrito. There were no however I had a touch of food envy while watching the cheese covered burrito go down opposite me – that looked fantastic. The staff we encountered were very friendly, while the selection of real ales included the full range of popular Brains brews, including Bitter, SA and the Rev James. With weekly special nights, like Cask Ale Night (Mondays) and Curry Night (Wednesday), The Beaufort Arms serves up great value and a nice alternative to eating in the centre of Swansea – without having to travel too far to get there.

Chris Carra

15


EST.

1979

TOPO GIGIO RESTAURANT Established in 1979, Topo Gigio is Swansea's longest running Italian restaurant. We are a family business, serving a mix of continental cuisine and traditional Italian dishes. Our extensive menu is inspired by the southern region of Puglia, where chef and co-owner Gino originates from. We are open from Tuesday to Saturday, from 6:30pm.

TO BOOK CALL

01792 467888 www.topogigioswansea.co.uk Like Us: Topo Gigio Restaurant Swansea


REVIEW

COSMO, CASTLE STREET

H

“Quantity, But lacking quality”

ere’s a question: where would you expect to find

The highlight of Cosmo used to be a series of live cooking

fish fingers, mini sausages and smiley potato

stations, which once served fresh seafood, prepared over

faces? You may say “lunchtime at a primary

open coals by the chefs. There now seems to be just one

school” or “hospital canteen”. I bet you wouldn’t

decent station, where you can still find some tempting

say trendy Pan Asian dining experience.

fresh prawns and scallops, but the overall choice has really

However this is some of the food on offer at Cosmo – the

suffered – the other live cooking station, which used to be

buffet restaurant chain who, on their website, promise “a dining experience like no other.” During my most recent visit it was clear to see they have broadened their menu to offer some simple Western foods; ones that require no creativity or skill to prepare. And this disappointed me, considering I had paid £14.99 to visit the allyou-can eat restaurant with the hope of trying some of

my favourite, now serves beef burgers (*sigh*). I guess you can’t really complain about the value for money, because you have the choice to eat as much as you like. I had about five small plates – including desert – but there’s no limit to the amount you can put away. But unfortunately it’s becoming a case of quantity, not quality.

their “exceptional food.”

As a side note, I found the drinks service was friendly, and

It’s a shame because, among the nuggets and hash browns,

it’s by no means a terrible restaurant, but I certainly won’t

there were actually a few good dishes. One of the best was the king prawns and mixed vegetables, which I had several helpings of, while some of the other Cantonese offerings were also tasty and well prepared. But there are just not

the party I was with really enjoyed the night as a whole. So be rushing back to Cosmo until they start delivering on their promises.

Chris Carra

enough of these to justify the price.

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TA

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ANSEA

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ENJOYING THE MAGAZINE SO FAR? OF COURSE YOU ARE!

FOR MORE FOODIE NEWS AND RESTAURANT REVIEWS MAKE SURE TO VISIT OUR WEBSITE AND JOIN THE CONVERSATION ON FACEBOOK AND TWITTER @TasteSwansea

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TASTESWANSEA.COM

Alis kitchen Charcoal Grill and Indian Restaurant

Former Bengal Brasserie

-OpEn NoWBook a table of 4, and receive a free bottle of House Red/White wine (Excludes Sunday Buffet) *Limited Time Only*

01792 455934 67 Walter Road, Swansea, SA1 4PT Opening Hours Monday – Saturday 5.30pm -11.00pm Sunday 1pm-9pm

All You Can Eat Sunday Buffet


REVIEW

ALI’S KITCHEN, WALTER ROAD

O

“Great curry in a calming environment” houses in the area. However this creates a calming atmosphere, allowing you to focus fully on the food – which I’m pleased to say was excellent.

ver the last few years the Uplands has turned into one of the most popular nightspots in

To test the standard I went with my curry house staple, a

Swansea, and as such is saturated with diners

prawn saag, which was actually one of the best saags I had

and drinkers come the weekends. This is great

eaten in a while – plump prawns, plenty of spinach and a

for atmosphere, but perhaps less convenient if you forgot

good balance of spice. My dining partner tried the paneer

to book a table.

korma; a much sweeter dish, with generous slices of paneer

Thankfully there is an array of quality restaurants on the

cheese. We shared a savoury mushroom rice, a fluffy naan

outskirts of the suburb that provide a slightly more relaxed environment, including Ali’s Kitchen – a modern Indian

bread and some lovely onion bhajis.

restaurant and charcoal grill on Walter Road.

The portion sizes were very generous, and we actually had

Located in the former home of the Bengal Brasserie, opposite

(I refuse to waste food!). But for the large amount served,

St James’ Church, Ali’s Kitchen is one of the newest Indians in Swansea and has plenty to offer the casual diner who loves

to take a little of our meal away with us in a foil container we were very surprised with the price – including the 20% discount available on weekday nights, a meal for two with

a curry.

two drinks came to just over £20.

On my first visit I was initially taken aback by the minimalist

Ali’s Kitchen is also home to probably the hottest curry in

décor, which is a world away from some of the cosier curry

Swansea. Dubbed ‘Ali’s Killer Chilli’, its ingredients include Scotch Bonnet and Bhut Jolokia chillies, and an insane 12 million Scoville chilli extract! (Of course I didn’t try it…). Crazy curries aside, Ali’s Kitchen is well worth a visit for both the food and wallet-friendly prices.

Chris Carra

19


REVIEW

B9-10, EAST GATE, LLANELLI

A

lthough a proud citizen of Swansea, after working in Llanelli a few years back I developed a soft spot for the town. And even though it still has the stereotype of being a little rough around the

edges, new projects like the East Gate development – with its multi-million pound Ffwrnes Theatreand handful of popular restaurants – are beginning to increase the area’s prestige.

“A mighty burger” Welsh burgers’, made with both Welsh beef or Salt Marsh lamb from Weobley Castle Farm, just over the estuary in Llanrhidian. On this occasion I decided to tackle the Bacon Melt, while my dining partner went for the more modest Big Blue, topped with tangy Perl Las Welsh blue cheese and sweet red onions. Mighty burgers indeed! I genuinely struggled to get through the tasty layers of Caerphilly and Guryere cheeses, the big stack of bacon and the generous beef pattie itself, while the brioche bun had its own battle to keep it all together! Combined with some of the fattest chips I’ve seen, and a

One of the most popular eateries in the development is B9-10,

crisp salad garnish, the £8.50 price tag felt like great value.

which arrived in December last year. It’s part-owned by Welsh rugby stars Stephen Jones and Dwayne Peel, who already had

They also serve some excellent craft beers to wash

experience in the restaurant scene, having opened the award-

down your burger, including ales from local, national and

winning Sosban in 2011.

American breweries, not to mention a good wine and spirit selection (it is a bar after all).

A bar at heart, B9-10 offers a stylish but casual dining experience and specialise in one thing in particular – ‘mighty

Bang in the middle of the East Gate development, B9-10 is an inviting and modern space, with plenty of nods to Llanelli’s proud rugby heritage in the form of nostalgic photos and memorabilia on the walls. Great for just a drink, but even better combined with a delicious burger.

Chris Carra

21


FREE

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22


Accessible EATING Cafe TwoCANN

Accessibility is probably the most important factor for disabled people eating out in Swansea. Thankfully we have disabled writer ANDREW, from the upcoming website YADA.global, reviewing the restaurants of Swansea, with an eye for accessibility. Nestled in the heart of the J Shed in the city’s bustling SA1 development is Café TwoCann – what I’d describe as the perfect place to meet, greet and eat as a disabled person. After becoming disabled in 2013, I set myself a few goals. My first was learning to walk again – which I now do with the aid of two walking sticks. Not far behind that, was going for lunch with my family at my favourite haunt, Café TwoCann. The J Shed may be an old building, dating back to 1895, but since its redevelopment in 2007 it offers many things; great accessibility being one of them. Café TwoCann is located on the ground floor of the J Shed, between the Sail Bridge and the Norwegian Church. You can access it via a levelled pedestrian area on one side, or a number of steps and disabled ramps on the other.

summer, in an enclosed but open-spaced arcade area – ideal if you have a dog, as they’re most welcome and will be looked after with a cold bowl of water. I found the disabled toilets nice and spacious, with lowered sinks and grab bars, and for wheelchair users the aisles of the restaurant are wide enough to manoeuvre through. By day it’s a comfortable, modern café, and by night it’s an award-winning restaurant, The atmosphere is always relaxing, friendly and cheerful and the food is always of a very high quality, locally sourced and freshly prepared. If you want to recommend a restaurant in Swansea, Gower or Llanelli that offers good accessibility, please let us know by emailing info@tasteswansea.com.

Andrew, yada.global

The café boasts the choice of eating al fresco in the

23


Three to try: Summer beers

Lighthouse lager

mumbles gold

one inch punch

Lager may have a bit of a

Who’s not tried Mumbles

Newport’s Tiny Rebel have

poor reputation these days,

Gold? A modern day classic

produced one of my favourite

but this refreshing craft lager

that should undoubtedly

summer drinks; One Inch

from the Gower Brewery

be enjoyed on the sea

Punch – a golden American

really shows off the best of

front. Brewing with Styrian

ale which has a huge flavour,

this beer style. Crisp and

Goldings hops results in a

despite coming in at just

thoroughly thirst-quenching,

very drinkable golden ale

3.9%. Made with Mosaic hops

with a light hoppy finish.

with hints of zesty lemon

to produce a refreshing beer

and lime.

with grapefruit and tropical notes. Lovely

Enjoy freshly made coffees, teas, doorstep sandwiches, paninis, bagels, jacket potatoes and delicious cakes! Free

£5

10%

WIFI

Meal Deal

Student Discount

75 Uplands Crescent, Swansea

01792 468855

Like Us On Facebook Search: ‘Steam Coffee Shop’


MUSICAL ENTERTAINMENT

Thursday, 9pm Duoflex (Steel Band)

Friday, 6pm Siobhan

(Reggae and Ska DJ)

Friday, 6pm Rumblestrutters (Jazz and Blues Band)

Saturday, 2 & 4pm Tweke (Ambient background guitar)

Saturday, 2 & 4pm Gypsy Jazz Saturday, 9pm TBA

The Best beer festival yet! I love August. Not because of the weather, which

optimum temperature.

in Swansea is unpredictable at best; torrential

With the advent of so many new microbreweries in

downpours

South Wales, the next question is which ones get

and

winds-capable-of-blowing-you-

into-the-road at worst.

their time in the spotlight? It’s not an easy decision, as Debra White from Swansea Camra explained.

No, the reason I love August is because it’s the time when the Swansea Bay Beer and Cider Festival rolls

‘It’s an exciting time to be organizing a real ale

around! Organised by Swansea Camra, this year’s

festival due to the amount of new breweries that are

festival once again takes place on the Bank Holiday

constantly starting up,’ she said. ‘It makes choosing

weekend, from August 27-29, in Swansea’s beautiful

the beer list a challenge as we want to keep up-to-

Brangwyn Hall.

date with the best new real ales on the market, as well as some old favourites.’

Last year’s event saw around 10,000 ale-drinkers turn up over the three days, with more than 6,000

A tough task indeed, and one I don’t envy. Although

litres of the delicious liquid served up. However, this

the official list of festival beers wasn’t available

year’s festival promises to be ‘bigger and better’

at the time of writing, we can assume that some

than ever before, according to festival chairman

excellent local brewers like Mumbles Brewery and

Chris Radford – quite a promise, considering how

Borough Brewery (Neath) will be there, as well as

successful it has been in recent years.

offerings from this year’s festival sponsors, The Gower Brewery and Tiny Rebel.

One of the reasons it will have an advantage – aside from the 100 real ales and 60 craft-brewed ciders

The festival opens from 5pm to 11pm on Thursday,

and perries on offer – is the new cooling system,

27 August, and from noon to 11pm on both Friday,

which will ensure each drink is served at the

28 and Saturday, 29.

25


BORN IN

Born in Mumbles with a local heritage, connected to the community, it's history and the future, like the new oyster beds growing in Swansea Bay.

MUMBLES

Our regular beers include: - Mumbles Gold - Mumbles Mile - Lifesaver - Oystermouth Stout - India Pale Ale. Every beer is distinctly unique, crafted from a diverse range of carefully chosen ingredients.

mumblesbrewery.co.uk


BEHIND THE

BREW ‘MUMBLES MILE’, MUMBLES BREWERY I’m Rob Turner, the head brewer of Mumbles Brewery. I first started brewing at home back in the 1980s, although I have certainly developed more sophisticated recipes over time. In 2013, I realised my skills transferred well into professional brewing, and Mumbles Brewery was born on the famous Mumbles Mile. In years gone by, this stretch of sea front – which ran from The White Rose on Newton Road to the old Cinderellas at the Pier – saw groups of drinkers bravely attempt a pint at every hostelry. But in the last decade several pubs, bars and clubs along the Mile have closed, including two famous establishments frequented by Dylan Thomas; the Antelope and the old Mermaid Hotel (reputably Dylan’s favourite), which was demolished in the early nineties after a fire. However, a phoenix rose from the ashes and you can now enjoy Mumbles Brewery beers at the new Mermaid Café Bar and Restaurant. I designed Mumbles Mile Bitter to honour the history of drinking along the Mile. It’s low in strength, but big on Chinook citrus hop flavours, which delight drinkers and linger well for a session bitter. Mumbles Brewery has five regular ales, all designed from scratch. As well as Mumbles Mile Bitter, we have Mumbles Gold, Oystermouth Stout, Lifesaver and India Pale Ale. Each is made with distinct ingredients, creating unique flavours. Their popularity has been rising, prompting us to leave the original brewery at the Pilot Inn and use larger breweries. I am pleased to announce that my brother Peter will be joining me in business in the new premises in Swansea, which opens this Autumn.

ROB TURNER WEIGHING OUT CHINOOK HOPS TO GO INTO THE COPPER.


THE Mile has undergone something of a renaissance

IS THE MUMBLES MILE BACK FOR GOOD?

THE MUMBLES MILE A RENAISSANCE

T

hese days beer lovers heading to Mumbles are spoiled for choice, with classy new drinking spots joining the long-standing favourites. And so the question is asked: is the Mumbles Mile back? Local journalist and beer enthusiast ALEX JONES explains why it is, by taking us on a tour of modern Mumbles’ vibrant night scene. Swansea has slowly been reinventing itself. The glitzy SA1 development, the long-awaited expansion in and around the Liberty Stadium, and the new state-of-the-art university campus are all projects that have largely taken place within the last ten years. Council planners even cast a weary eye over the city’s dilapidated centre, shrugged, spent months widened a bit of pavement before patting themselves on the back and wandering off for a pint. But had the ‘boulevard’ been built ten years earlier where would they have gone for this rewarding pint? Probably not Mumbles – the small seaside village would have been eerily quiet. Back then, the (in)famous Mumbles Mile was effectively no more. If you mention the old Mile to anyone over the age of 30 in Swansea – or even further

stories, each told with a sort of misty-eyed nostalgia and an accompanying grimace of a two-day hangover they can’t quite shake the memory of. You’ll also hear about how many pubs were squeezed onto this magical mile – ranging from eight to 20 – and how many drinks people consumed in each one. You’ll hear about the time Paul ‘got lucky’ on the balcony at the Antelope or how Katie dropped a whole tray of drinks outside the Famous Bear – right on to Dai’s brand news daps. Or how that the best man from that stag do fell off the sea wall while dressed as Mexican, only to return a minute later with a full pint of seawater. Everybody has a different tale and every landlord will look you square in the eye and tell you that, despite what you may or may not have heard, their pub was Dylan Thomas’ favourite and that he was there at least three times a week. Sadly I missed all of this – I was only 16 in 2005 when Mumbles slowed to a standstill and my drinking was largely confined to my local rugby club. Aside from a couple of visits to Bentleys and one misguided night out at Cinderellas, the revelry of the Mumbles Mile was a distant memory by the time I had laced up my drinking shoes.

afield – you are guaranteed to hear at least one or two

28


MUMBLES ALE HOUSE WALES’ FIRST MICRO PUB

Therefore nobody is happier than me when I say that the

of Swansea Bay and, with a little creative glass positioning,

Mile has undergone something of a renaissance in recent

you can even block out the whole of Port Talbot steelworks!

years and is back on top form – although not in the way you may remember.Things seem to have shifted slightly.

For the economically minded, The White Rose will probably

You are unlikely to spot hordes of drunken stag and hens

offer you the cheapest pint in the area but it is closely

staggering about in pink tutus and skewed L-plates – but it

matched by the rugby club and the working men’s club in

is none the worse for that.

that regard.

So what’s on offer on the modern day mile? Although it

If you fancy something a little different, there is the new

may be stretching the term ‘mile’ for those of you looking

Kinsale Irish Pub – once home to the William Hancock

to show off a little bit, a short wander up Newton Road to

and, more recently, The Waterloo – which is a surprisingly

Jones Bar or Café Valance will allow you to enjoy a cocktail

authentic affair and genuinely good for the craic.

while hobnobbing with / awkwardly avoiding Swansea’s rich and famous.

While there, it is not unlikely you will run into the Mumbles stalwart Margaret Thrush, as she dons her sombrero and

Real ale drinkers are particularly well catered for in

collects beer shrapnel for the Macmillan cancer charity.

Mumbles, with a great selection of pubs and bars stocking

She has raised more than £1millon for the worthy cause,

beers from far and wide. Or – if you pop to The Pilot –

but that will come as little surprise to those of us who have

created about 15 foot away in the pub’s on-site brewery.

bumped into her seven or eight times over the course of a single evening.

The hidden gem of Mumbles is probably The Park Inn, tucked away on the back streets, which always offers a

Perhaps most revealingly, two of the oldest Mumbles Mile

cracking range of beers and whiskies. It’s also usually worth

fixtures – the Antelope and the Mermaid – are once again

wandering around the corner for a pint in The Victoria Inn,

opening their doors to the public. The original Mermaid

before stumbling back down the hill to see what’s on offer

burnt down years ago but has recently opened again as

in one of the area’s newest additions, the Mumbles Ale

a swanky restaurant and bar. Likewise, the Antelope is

House – Wales’ first Micro-pub.

currently undergoing a £250,000 refurbishment and is set to become one of Swansea’s premier wine bars.

If you are looking for something a little more familiar, head along the front and grab a pint of SA at The George – one

So there we have it, the gentrification of one of the UK’s

of Brains’ flagship pubs in south west Wales. When you

most notorious pub crawls. Will it ever return to the heady

head upstairs you will be welcomed by the twinkling vista

heights it once enjoyed? Does it really want to?

29


TA

ST

ESW

ANSEA

.C

O

M

COMPETITIONS

You’ve just finished reading a free magazine full of excellent food and drink content, and you still want more?! Well, this page may satisfy you until next issue, as we are giving away two superb foodie prizes.

Prize

Prize

Thirsty for some great local beer? You can win a delicious gift pack from Mumbles Brewery, including a bottle of both Mumbles Gold and Oystermouth Stout, along with a pint glass to drink them from!

If you were inspired to eat less meat after reading Danny Rees’s rousing article, you can try your hand at cooking some superb vegetarian meals created by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall in his multi award-winning book River Cottage Veg Everyday!

1

2

HOW TO ENTER? Just ‘like’ Taste Swansea on Facebook (facebook.com/TasteSwansea), and then ‘like’ the status for whichever prize you want to win. It’s a fool-proof system.

Like: facebook.com/TasteSwansea

Like: Prize you want to win

Competition closes Monday, 31 August with winners selected at random and notified that same day. No cash alternative to the prizes will be offered. The prizes are not transferable. Prizes are subject to availability, and we reserve the right to withdraw any prize without giving notice. Taste Swansea is not responsible for inaccurate prize details supplied to any entrant by any third party connected with this competition. Terms and conditions apply.

30


From the thousands of matches ever played by Swansea City, stretching from their early days at the Vetch to their wonderful Premier League era, here are 50 of the club’s most intense, emotional and thrilling games of all! Expertly presented in evocative historical context, and described incident-by-incident in atmospheric detail, Swansea City’s Greatest Games offers a ticket back in time, taking in everything from their first ever game against Cardiff and Toshack’s rampant rise to their glorious Premier League days, and beyond. An irresistible cast list of club legends – Alan Curtis and Ivor Allchurch, Leon Britton, Roger Freestone and Lee Trundle – springs to life at breathtaking moments including epic cup finals and Premier League giant-killings, European nights and unforgettable South Wales derby triumphs. In all, a journey through the highlights of Swansea’s 102-year history which is guaranteed to make any fan’s heart swell with pride. Chris Carra. Foreword by Alan Curtis

See the rest of the Pitch Publishing sports titles at www.pitchpublishing.co.uk

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24/07/2015 17:31


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Taste Swansea - Issue 1  

The first issue of Taste Swansea magazine. Content includes: a passionate article on vegetarianism by local chef and cookery teacher Danny R...

Taste Swansea - Issue 1  

The first issue of Taste Swansea magazine. Content includes: a passionate article on vegetarianism by local chef and cookery teacher Danny R...

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