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FREE issue 3 DECEMBER 2015

tasteSwansea Christmas

EDITION!

Christmas DAY

WIN: TAPAS FOR TWO AT MOSAIC

YOUR GUIDE TO the Perfect Christmas veg!

DINING

Chinese Food the Chinese Way Crawling Around: NORTH GOWER 1825: MORE THAN JUST BEAN BURGERS Photo Credit: KRISTY’S BAKERY


The go-to family-friendly restaurant on Gower

CHRISTMAS TRIBUTE NIGHTS Meatloaf Tribute Night Friday 18th December

Shirley Basey Tribute Night Saturday19th December

TICKETS COST ÂŁ25

Including a two course Christmas meal

Serving Delicious Food, Seven Days a Week CHRISTMAS PARTIES!

Our special Christmas menu starts on Monday 16th November, and runs Monday to Thursday

ICE SKATING WITH A VIEW!

Our festive ice rink will be at the restaurant from Fri 20th Nov to Mon 4th Jan, seven days a week

purplebadgerrestaurant.co.uk Llanrhidian Holiday Park, Llanrhidian, Gower, SA3 1EU

@BadgerGower

The Purple Badger Gower Llanrhidian

01792 391083


WELCOME A

Taste Swansea Magazine December 2015

PUBLISHER Taste Swansea Magazine

PHONE

h, Christmas... the time for food, big jumpers, more food, good

07935 202012

ENQUIRIES

will, and a bit more food. And drink – plenty of that too. And we are

info@tasteswansea.com

right here to help you enjoy your festive eating!

EDITOR

In this issue our resident innovation chef David Llewellyn reveals his

Chris Carra

DESIGN

favourite ways to make Christmas Day veg a bit more special – including

BST DESIGNS

flavourful carrots and crunchy parsnips (page 7) – before our double-

bstdesigns.co.uk

page feature on Christmas Day Dining; highlighting five lovely places to

PRINT

spend the big day itself, if you can’t face the washing up (page 12).

Harcourt Colour Print

What else can you enjoy this month? Local journalist and beer enthusiast

WEBSITE

Alex Jones takes us on a pint-by-pint tour of the pubs of North Gower – an

tasteswansea.com

SOCIAL

entertaining article penned when he eventually sobered up (page 27). We also have a chat with Gigi Gao from the Favourite Authentic Chinese café, who talks us through real Chinese food (page 20); we get a taste of the baker behind Little Valley Bakery (page 23); and we see what the

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

Bayside Grill’s new menu has to offer (page 17).

is accurate at the time of publication.

Of course, our regular features return – Foodie News (page 4) and Five

no responsibility for the consequences of

To Try (page 25), as well as our round-up of Pop-Up Kitchens (page 9) and

However Taste Swansea Magazine accepts

errors or omissions. All text, artwork and photographs submitted for publication

Local Produce Markets (page 11).

within this magazine are accepted on

Taste Swansea magazine is getting better with each issue, and I’m hugely

has

thankful to readers and businesses for their feedback and suggestions. If YOU have any places you’d like to see featured, any foods you’d like to see tried, or any beers you want us to drink, we’ll be happy to oblige! Please get in touch: info@tasteswansea.com.

the understanding that prior permission been

sought

by

the

subscriber

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

But until next time, have a great Christmas and see you all in 2016!

Chris Carra CONTRIBUTOR

Alex Jones

CONTRIBUTOR

David Llewellyn

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FOODIE NEWS A VERY VEGAN

CHRISTMAS! Following the success of the maiden Vegfest back in June, Swansea will soon have its first completely vegan Christmas market! Taking place at the National Waterfront Museum on Saturday, 12 December, the Vegfest Christmas Market will feature a tempting variety of lovely foods and gifts from local, independent businesses, including chocolate, cakes, pies, drinks, chutneys, skincare and crafts. Event

organiser Karen McCloy said, ‘We’ve already got a huge amount of interest in the market, which just shows how open people are to exploring a vegan lifestyle. There will be everything you could ever want for a cruelty-free Christmas, all in one place. If you’re already vegan, or are just curious, everyone is welcome and I promise you won’t be disappointed!’ The event runs from 10.30am to 4pm. Entry is free.

BREWSTONE

EXPANDS One of Uplands’ favourite eateries is expanding – BrewStone, who opened their popular cocktail bar and wood-fire restaurant last year, are opening a new drinks-focused establishment right next door to their current location on Uplands Crescent. While a lot of details are still under wraps, the new branch of BrewStone says it wants to reinvent the concept of ‘bar’, and will have unique spaces across three floors, including an imaginative outdoor area in which to enjoy cocktails and craft beer. The new bar is likely to open at the end of November, just in time for the first Christmas drinks! Perfect.

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ZEN CAFE

We’re really happy to see a lovely new vegan addition to central Swansea – Urban Zen Yoga Café, on Little Gam Street in Sandfields. Run by Welsh surfing champion Lloyd Cole and his wife Emily, the pair have injected a little California into Swansea, with the new centre offering a state-of-the-art yoga studio, complimentary therapies and – most importantly for this food magazine – a fresh, wholefood café. Highlights of the menu include the Monty Burger (a vegan black bean burger with mushrooms, spinach and thyme) and the Full Vegan, which is an inventive

take on the fried breakfast, featuring home-made baked beans, sautéed sweet potato and scrambled tofu with spinach and seeds.

FOODIE

FRIDAYS! Foodies in Pontardawe are in for a treat as their monthly Foodie Fridays return in December! The next event takes place at the Pontardawe Arts Centre on Monday, 21 December (a rare non-Friday event) and will feature food demos and tasters by Paul Brandon; owner of the Gatsby Tea Rooms in the town centre. Paul will be creating an alternative Christmas lunch, including Salmon en croute, luxury stuffing and festive bubble n’ squeak. Alongside the demo will be a mix of food and craft stalls, including Ynysymond Preserves, Little Valley Bakery, Cwmfarm Charcuterie and The Welsh Chocolate Experience. The event starts at 3pm.

WHAT’S NEW? If YOU have any foodie news you’d like to see on these pages in the next issue, please email details to: info@tasteswansea.com. 5


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


ALL THE TRIMMINGS BY DAVID LLEWELLYN What’s the best thing about Christmas dinner? Taste Swansea’s innovation and development chef DAVID LLEWELLYN insists it’s the vegetables and trimmings that make the meal what it is. Here he shares his tips on how to add a little sparkle to your Christmas Day veg. For me the festive season means sharing. Big plates of hearty food being passed around a table full of family and friends really signifies the start of Christmas.

a roasting dish with a splash of olive oil and a few tablespoons of polenta, which will give them a lovely crunch while ensuring a soft, sweet inside.

Christmas dinner is naturally the peak of festive eating, with turkey the centre-piece. However while the meat or the nut-roast will usually be the focus of the meal, the vegetables and trimmings play more than just a supporting role and, in my eyes, are more important than the bird.

Parsnips can also be fantastic glazed. Reduce some real ale (make sure it’s from one of our fantastic Swansea brewers) and a good glug of maple syrup until thick and almost caramel like. Then pour over the parsnips towards the end of cooking for a sticky, savoury and sweet treat. They are also, on the rare occasion there is leftovers, great in bubble and squeak – a brunch fit to clear a sore head!

“Parsnips are also great in bubble and squeak - a brunch fit to clear a sore head!” In fact the first thing I reach for is the parsnips, which I make with an extra crispy coating. This crispiness can be guaranteed by first blanching the parsnips in boiling water for five minutes before letting them dry off in a colander. When dry, add them to

Carrots are another favourite of mine, and very simple to get right. Roast a handful of them in a pan until slightly coloured, then add a knob of butter, a pinch of salt, a splash of stock and a sprig of fresh thyme. Cover this with foil and cook on a medium heat until tender. This is a simple and beautiful way to enhance their flavour. Once cooked they can be kept in the pan and simply reheated when you are ready to serve.

For me the hardest sell is the humble, yet family-dividing sprout. Every generation has a memory, story or opinion on this mighty veg. Believe it or not, there are more than one hundred different varieties of sprout, all ranging widely in size, taste and colour. What’s great is that they don’t actually require a lot of cooking and there is so much more you can do with them than just boiling. I loved them when roasted, sliced finely and cooked with some bacon, cream and chestnuts, for an indulgent side dish. They’re also great served raw, shredded into a festive coleslaw to enjoy with the Boxing Day ham. Sprouts should be loved – they are incredibly versatile and packed full of vitamins A and C. When roasted they taste really sweet and nutty. Another favourite method of mine is, after roasting them, sprinkle with salt and grate over some orange zest to really let everyone know it’s Christmas and you mean business!

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POP-UP Kitchens The pop-up kitchen is always an interesting concept and it’s good to see Swansea has a growing selection of creative popups and supper clubs – whether it’s independent chefs cooking up meals in cafés, or established restaurants adding a new twist to their regular evenings. We’ve already seen Indian, Cuban, Italian, BBQ, Middle Eastern and Moroccan, and there are many more on the way!

MORUZZi & Co Dating back to 1920’s, this staple Neath café regularly host special pop-up kitchens with the Fuller Flavour Supper Club, run by Andy Addis-Fuller (one of the original chefs from Channel 4’s The Secret Supper Club). Their next event is planned for Friday, 29 January, with the theme paying homage to classic winter foods, casseroles, pies and roast roots. It’s central heating for the soul!

If you have a pop up kitchen, please Send the Details to: info@tasteswansea.com

Sketty Bistro & Cafe Malabar Aaanaa have recently collaborated with Sketty Bistro and Café on Eversley Road to bring both of their wonderful pop-up kitchens to Sketty on selected Friday evenings. The next Keralan Kitchen (Southern Indian) at the Bistro will take place on 18 December, while the next Pomegranate Kitchen (Persian and Middle Eastern) is on 4 December.

NOAH’S YARD If you can’t get to the nights in Sketty, Malabar Aaanaa also hold both their regular kitchens in Noah’s Yard, Uplands, on Wednesdays. The next Pomegranate Kitchen at Noah’s will take place on 2 December, while the next Keralan Kitchen will be happening on 25 November and 9 December.

All events are subject to change. Check individual websites for times and menus. check out TasteSwansea.com for regular popup kitchen updates.

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FOR FOODIE NEWS AND RESTAURANT REVIEWS AND A NEW WEEKLY FOOD AND DRINK ROUND UP, MAKE SURE TO JOIN TASTE SWANSEA ONLINE! FOLLOW AND LIKE US TODAY @TasteSwansea

facebook.com/TasteSwansea

NEVER MISS ANOTHER COPY! JUST EMAIL US AT: INFO@TASTESWANSEA.COM AND WE WILL SEND YOU A FREE DIGITAL COPY AS SOON AS THE NEXT ISSUE IS READY!

TASTESWANSEA.COM


LOCAL PRODUCE

MARKETS We food and drink lovers can be grateful that there’s such a

good selection of regular local produce markets in Swansea, selling everything from fresh breads to local craft beers.

DATES FOR THE DIARY Marina Market Sun 13 Dec

UPLANDS Market SAT 28 Nov, Sat 5 Dec, Sat 19 Dec

Mumbles Local Produce Market SAT 12 Dec, SAT 9 Jan

One of the oldest and most consistent is the Mumbles Local

SKETTY Local Produce Market

Produce Market, which has been going for around 12 years.

SAT 5 Dec @ BISHOP Gore School

It offers inspirational views of Swansea Bay, and is one of my

Penclawdd Local Produce Market

favourites as it specialises in food and drink – with producers

Sat 21 Nov, SAT 19 Dec

Malabaar Aaanaa, Mumbles Brewery, Goggi’s Cuisine, Brian Jeffreys of Crickton Farm, and the Mumbles Pate Company all regular stallholders.

PenNARD Local Produce Market SUN 13 Dec, SUN 10 Jan @ Pennard Community Hall

PONTYATES Local Produce Market SAT 21 NOV, SAT 19 Dec @ Pontyates WELFARE Hall

However if you like your fresh fruit and veg served alongside some unique crafts and gifts, the Uplands and Marina Markets are a good port of call, with producers such as Ty Siriol Pork, Taste of Persia, Pop Cycle and Estelle’s Gower Goodies lining up with stalls that sell skincare, artwork, clothing and records.

PONTYberem Local Produce Market SAT 12 DEC, SAT 9 JAN @ Pontyberem Hall

Carway Local Produce Market SAT 5 Dec @ Carway Hall

Llanelli also has its fair share of regular produce markets, with the Gwendraeth Valley providing plenty of scope for foodies – regular markets include Pontyates, Pontyberem and Carway. Over Christmas there may be a change in regular market dates. The following are correct as far as we know, although it’s worth contacting a market organiser directly for more information.

Are we missing any? Email info@tasteswansea.com and let us know!

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CHRISTMAS DAY

DINING Christmas lunch – the king of all roast dinners and perhaps the most anticipated foodie event of the year. In theory, it’s a meal best enjoyed home-made in the comfort of your own dining room. The succulent turkey, the crispy roasties, the… pressure of trying to get it all perfect, the stress when you drop the bowl of stuffing, and the dreaded washing up. This is probably why eating out on Christmas Day is becoming more popular. Of course, you have to pay a premium, but surely that’s worth it for the luxury of letting someone else do the hard work? The real chefs can worry about making the perfect gravy while you can sit back with a glass of something nice. Although there are many places open on December 25, we’ve picked five of our Swansea favourites that will welcome you in for Christmas Day dining.

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“Let the real chefs do the hard work while you sit back with a glass of something nice...” In all cases booking ahead is essential and a deposit is required. Formore details, full menus and to make your booking, contact each restaurant directly.


FairyHILL

Reynoldston

1

The stunning Fairyhill Hotel and Restaurant in Reynoldston offer a sumptuous seven-course fine dining experience on Christmas Day, including canapés with a glass of Mercier Champagne on arrival; a breast and bon bon of pigeon with caramelised pear and sprouts; roast turkey with traditional accompaniments, and a choice of desserts including a mouthwatering salted caramel and butter macaroon, with roast pineapple and chocolate sorbet. For such quality you pay a premium – £115 per adult, £70 per child – but it is likely to be the most memorable Christmas dinner ever.

Beaufort Arms Kittle

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Set in the tiny village of Kittle, the newly refurbished Beaufort Arms offer a traditional three-course dinner at one of the more wallet-friendly prices. Options include an indulgent baked Camembert and crusty bread to start, roast turkey or topside of beef (with all the trimmings, of course) for your main meal, and a traditional Christmas pudding with brandy sauce to finish. If you fancy something a little different you could try the herb-crusted cod loin with white wine and dill sauce, or a tantalising lemon tart with elderflower ice-cream. Then a few pints in the bar (well, it is Christmas after all…). The threecourses come in at just £44.95 per adult, and £19.95 for the little ones.

Bayside Grill

Swansea Marina

If you find lunch followed by a brisk stroll along Swansea Bay the perfect way to spend Christmas afternoon, then the Marriott Hotel’s Bayside Grill is your best port of call. A huge five-course feast awaits, with duck liver parfait, brioche country loaf and bacon jam to start; roast turkey, cranberry stuffing, pigs in blankets and winter vegetables for the main; with a pistachio and white chocolate tart and honeycomb ice cream to finish (before a selection of Welsh cheese, biscuits and grapes). Still fancy that walk? If not, the Queen’s Speech will be shown in the bar so you can sit and enjoy a glass of something nice instead. The feast is £89.50 per person (children £45), including a welcome drink.

The Woodman Black Pill

4

Another newly refurbished gastropub with a lovely rustic atmosphere and cosy open fire. The Woodman offer a tempting three-course Christmas lunch for £59.00 per person. Main meal choices include venison medallions, 35-day matured cannon of sirloin or hand-carved turkey with all the trimmings. These are accompanied by starters such as white onion soup, and twicebaked four cheese soufflé, while dessert choices of winter-berry panna cotta or caramel profiteroles follow.

The PURPLE BADGER Llanrhidian

This cosy, eccentrically decorated family restaurant in the heart of North Gower serves up a real Christmas feast, with six-courses including a welcome drink, fish course, cheese course, coffees and chocolates – in addition to the usual starter, main and dessert! Menu highlights include roast beetroot and parsnip soup to start, slow-roast top side of beef and Yorkshire puddings for your main, and a light Chantilly patisserie strawberry Saint Honoré to finish. The superb lunch comes in at £85 for adults and £42.50 for children.

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CHRISTMAS LUNCH & DINNER

CONFERENCES & EVENTS 7TH - 18TH DECEMBER Festive family gathering? Special lunch with friends? Celebrate Christmas in style, with 1825 Conferences & Events At the Dylan Thomas Centre Try our Christmas Lunch and Dinners from 7th – 18th December. Booking Essential

Email: info@1825.cymru Or Call: 01792 532200


More Than Just BEAN BURGERS...

Whether you’re veggie, vegan, coeliac or simply allergic to

Helen said her earlier work in nutrition inspired her. ‘I

nuts, yeast or milk, you’ll know how uninspiring dining out

found that children with allergies felt left out because

can sometimes be. While there are some great vegetarian

their plates were different to their friends’ and parent’s,’

restaurants out there, it can be tricky to find somewhere

she explained. ‘So we try to allow everyone to eat the

catering for every single diet – somewhere that offers a little

same meal, with a few key ingredient tweaks – like using

more than the predictable bean burger.

chickpea flour instead of regular wheat flour, or oat milk instead of cow’s.’

Which is why places like 1825 Coffee Shop are a breath

The varied menu at 1825 changes every week, but their

of fresh air. Tucked away in the Dylan Thomas Centre, the

talented chef always has an inventive selection of foods

peaceful little café is becoming a haven for diners with

ready to tempt any diet – from Halloumi burgers and a

complicated diets. This is largely down to centre manager

variety of vegan falafels, to home-made gluten-free

Helen Wyn Hall; a nutrition specialist and fanatic who suffers

cakes.

from dietary problems herself, including a yeast intolerance and gluten allergies.

Helen added, ‘Carl loves to make a Thai curry and there are always two versions of whatever he has made – one

‘I know how frustrating it is when you go out for lunch and

with meat and one veggie. We also do the same with

have to search the menu for something you actually can eat,

our chilli – either beef or threebean. The ingredients are

and then find out it’s just a boring bean burger,’ says Helen.

usually the same apart from the binding agents, so it’s not hard to offer something for all requirements.’

‘There’s not enough thought put into the food in some of the more mainstream restaurants. They concentrate on vegetarian cuisine, but don’t look at other dietary requirements. It seems to be more of an afterthought. But it’s not difficult to cater for everybody. With simple ingredients you canmake a myriad of dishes, and that’s what we try to do here.’

Helen would love to hear menu suggestions, so please get in touch directly at:

info@1825.cymru.

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

Like us on Facebook and Twitter


REVIEW

“Elegance without THE BAYSIDE GRILL, SWANSEA MARINA the pretension”

H

idden away inside Swansea’s looming Marriott

done with a tiny bit more – was satisfyingly squidgy. A

Hotel is the Bayside Grill – a restaurant open to

very solid main meal.

both hotel guests and the general public, which is great news for Swansea diners looking for a little

elegance without the pretension.

To me, the only slight disappointment of the evening was the lack of something chocolatey on the dessert menu (chocolate ice-cream doesn’t count). But there was a nice

The menu immediately confirms this – while there are more

assortment of others to choose from – including a salted

adventurous dishes like pork belly and rabbit rillette, and

caramel crème brulee, and buttermilk panna cotta. I

pumpkin and chilli arancini, you can still find good old fish

tried the plum and almond slice, which was an indulgent

and chips, and grilled steak. But you can certainly expect a

alternative garnished with a tart fresh plum.

little more care and attention than your local chippy. A mention must be given to the dining area – a bright and On a fishy theme, I went for the king prawn and paprika

spacious open-plan room, which is warm and relaxing,

fish cakes with a spiced cocktail sauce to start. This was a

despite being big and airy. The service also received a

modern take – and a huge improvement – on the classic

huge thumbs up – attentive, quick and genuinely friendly.

prawn cocktail, with three little balls of deliciousness and a tangy sauce. I tried to savour them, but all three were ingested within a minute.

Three courses and a glass of full-bodied Shiraz cost around £30 each, which was a fair amount for the quality we had enjoyed. I’ll definitely be heading back.

But this warmed me up nicely for my main of salmon supreme, with fennel and braised baby leeks. The fish was cooked perfectly and the skin crisped up nicely. The fennel

Chris Carra

was fragrant and the potato rosti – although I could have

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Authentic Italian and Welsh Bakery

Where else can you find Swansea pies, fresh focaccia, giant cookies, custard slices, traditional lasagne, Sicilian cannoli, panna cotta, Pugliese bread, messinese sauce and hundreds of other treats all hand made and baked on the premises?

Baking today like we’ve done for 80 years.

Specialists in Naked Wedding Cakes

KristysBakerySwansea.com facebook.com/KristysBakery

@KristysBakery


LIFE IN THE KITCHEN KRISTIAN ROBERTS Chefs – we happily eat their creations, but often we know very little about them! So this month, second chef at the cosy Beaufort Arms in Kittle, Kristian Roberts, took some time out from preparing his Christmas meals to give us his thoughts on life behind the kitchen doors. packed with locally sourced fish from Swansea Fish. What is the best thing about being a chef? Personally I think the best thing is you get to meet so many interesting people along the way, and it’s a career in which you can make some really strong friendships.

What was the first meal you ever cooked? The first meal I made was back in college and it was coq au vin. Although I didn’t actually get to taste it… it was a snow day, so we got sent home early. One of my friends threw a snowball at me, it hit me in the face and I dropped the food! How did your career in the kitchen begin? I was actually quite a fussy eater when I was younger, but when I started to gain more knowledge about other cultures and cuisines it really started to interest me. I started to enjoy cooking new foods and trying things out, so I decided to pursue a career in the kitchen. What’s your favourite meal to cook for yourself? As I do so much in work, I’m actually not a big cook in the house – I much prefer to go out and enjoy the experience of someone else cooking for me! But if I do get in the kitchen, I’ll make something nice and simple – you can’t beat a good home-made shepherd’s pie. What is the most popular item on your menu? We have a lot of new dishes on our specials menu, and from it our home-made fish pie has been the most popular over the last few weeks. It’s a tasty dish

And the worst? The worst thing about being a chef is that it’s such a demanding career. If you want to go far and progress to the highest level then you need to be willing to put in a lot of hours.

“If you want to go far and progress to the highest level then you need to be willing to put in a lot of hours” Aside from The Beaufort Arms, where do you enjoy eating out in Swansea? I think my favourite place to eat is The Smoke Haus on Wind Street. Their food is fantastic. I find it a little expensive but it’s 100 per cent worth it. I also head to TGI Fridays quite a bit, as that’s where I took my girlfriend on our first date. Finally, if you weren’t a chef, what would you be doing? If I wasn’t a chef I would like to think I could be in the entertainment industry. I would love to be a video game designer.

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CHINESE FOOD

THE CHINESE WAY

T

here’s no denying that St Helen’s Road is

Which is something Gigi is out to combat. ‘Chinese

Swansea’s curry quarter, with no less than

food doesn’t have a great image in Britain,’ she says.

ten Indian restaurants dominating the

‘It’s usually the same old dishes with too much MSG.’

culinary feel of the area. However its nearby

neighbour Brynymor Road offers an alte rnative flavour of the east, and is now home to several Chinese, Thai and Japanese cafés and shops.

‘In a real Chinese dish, you have to have good color, aroma and delicious taste,’ she added. ‘When I met my boyfriend he complained that the Chinese food he had tried in Britain was totally different to what he eats

One restaurant in particular that has been flying the

in China. His strong feelings inspired my ambition to

flag for China in Swansea since it opened in 2012 is

introduce proper, authentic Chinese food to Britain.’

The Favourite Authentic Chinese. After a change of hands last year, the friendly little café is now run by a passionate foodie called Gigi, who is eager for the diners of Swansea to taste the real China.

So, when the opportunity to take over the Favourite arose, Gigi gave up her ambition of being a solicitor to focus on the world of food. Her first task was finding a new Chinese chef, Robert Ma, who has more than 20

All of us will have tried the kind of Chinese food on

years of culinary experience, and worked with her to

offer at a takeaway – lemon chicken, egg fried rice and

redevelop the menu.

prawn toast. It does the job, but it’s pretty uninspiring.

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The Favourite now offers a huge menu, full of authentic

Aside from noodles, her favourite dish on the menu

treats – Kung Pao tofu, spicy fishballs, squid in pork

is the boiled catfish in chill oil with vegetables, while

mince, red bean sweet dumplings, and their delicious

she’s also very keen on dishes made with tofu. I like the

Beijing meat pasties. However you can still find well-

tofu options myself (especially if you ask them to fry it

known classics like sweet and sour chicken, and spare

well), but my go-to dish at the Favourite is always the

ribs. However they are made in the traditional Chinese

Kung Pao chicken – which isn’t as spicy as the red chilli

way – with no flavour enhancers like MSG.

garnish suggests, although there’s a good kick and

“It’s the little things that make the difference. We as restauranteurs from overseas need to do something special.” As we talked about the different areas of her country, she explained that generally Chinese food is eaten with rice in the south of China, while noodles are favoured

plenty of savoury flavour. As our chat came to an end Gigi emphasised that it’s pointless having good food without good hospitality. She said that she always tries to make people feel happy, especially when it comes to special occasions. ‘We are popular for birthday parties, because I try to make the birthday boy or girl feel good – we play a traditional Chinese birthday song and give a Chinese card and present. It’s the little things that make the difference.’

more in the north. Gigi – who was born in the city of Yangquan, in the northern Shanxi province of China –

She added, ‘I certainly believe that although Swansea

is particularly proud of her homemade noodles, which

is a small city, this beautiful place deserves something

are made with organic flour then hand rolled on the

unique and the people deserve something different.

premises.

So we as restaurateurs from overseas need to do something special.’

In China, Yangquan is famous for its noodles and it was her home city that inspired Gigi to pay extra attention when choosing which style of noodles to serve.

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2014 - 2015

MSG-free, authentic Chinese cuisine made by our top qualified Chinese chef We offer traditional Chinese style atmosphere and friendly service in our cosy café on Brynymor Road. • We take bookings, but walk-ins are also welcome • Great for groups or parties, and good for children • We offer takeaway, delivery, catering, table service and outdoor seating

Drop in and taste the real China in Swansea facebook.com/thefavouritecafe

87 Brynymor Road, Swansea, SA1 4JE 01792 515230


Producer in Focus Little Valley Bakery

In this new regular feature we get a proper taste of some of Swansea’s favourite food and drink producers. To kick off, we speak with TAMARA WILLIAMS of Little Valley Bakery – a familiar face at local produce markets and food festivals, and a bakery that now delivers bread through the post! Give us a little history lesson – when and why did you

Tell me about your mail order breads?

start Little Valley Bakery?

We’re just starting out in this but it’s a big part of our

I started the bakery in April 2014. I’ve always been interested

future plans. Our Swansea Bread Weekly subscription

in good quality food, and in university I realised I wanted to

service is the best way to enjoy our bread. You pay for four

run my own food business at some point in my life. A few years

loaves upfront and then go on to receive one fresh loaf

later I finally took the plunge and started Little Valley Bakery.

delivered straight to your door every Saturday morning for the next four weeks.

Have you always been interested in baking? My late mother was a qualified chef and I was always baking

Very convenient! But aside from in the mail, where

as a child with my family. Baking cakes with my mum and nan

can people find you?

at Christmas was one of the highlights of my year, and as I got

We try and get around to as many markets as we can. You

older I became interested in other sides of baking; bread being

can always find us at the Marina Market and quite often at

a favourite of course.

St Fagans’ produce market. We also get involved with as many local food festivals and events as we can, such as

What kind of produce do you specialise in?

Pontardawe Art Centre’s Foodie Fridays and the upcoming

We are a bread specialist. We love it. This doesn’t mean

Green Fayre at the National Waterfront Museum.

we’re only baking plain white loaves though; we specialise in flavoured breads and really enjoy coming up with new

Are you considering opening a shop, or is your

combinations. We’ve also proudly signed up to the Real Bread

business solely markets and mail order?

Campaign which means our bread isn’t full of the rubbish

Yes we are in the planning stage for opening up a unit in

that you get in supermarket bread and big bakery chains. It’s

a pretty special location. Our lips are sealed on that for

literally just yeast, flour, water, salt and any flavours we decide

now though.

to use. What do you love to bake and then eat yourself? Our garlic and rosemary focaccia is a favourite of mine – it’s full of flavour and real savoury treat.

23


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24


FIVE to try:

WELSH WINTER BEERS A Cwrw Gaeaf

OTley O6 Porter

Home of the ‘Great Ales of

First brewed in 2006 (hence

Wales’, Tomos Watkins have

the name), this is an award-

crafted a real winter classic

winning traditional porter

in Cwrw Gaef. A rich and

from Pontypridd brewers

warming beer, brewed in

Otley. A refreshing beer, but

Swansea using floor-malted

full of deep chocolate, coffee

barley and wheat, with a

and chicory flavours. Dark

blend of crystal and dark

and decadent, it packs quite

chocolate malts, to produce

a punch at 6.6%!

s the evenings get darker and the frosty weather sets in, those ice-cold craft lagers and sunny golden ales suddenly become less appealing. Instead, we turn to the festive porters, ruby ales and winter warmers to quench our thirst and lift our spirits. Here are five of my favourite Welsh winter beers.

Have a beer you want us to try? Let us know via email: info@tasteswansea.com

a festively full-bodied flavour. Well worth a pint!

Oystermouth Stout

‘Tis the Saison

snowball

One of the Mumbles

Brains Craft Brewery bring this

At 7%, we have another

Brewery’s most popular

festive saison-style beer to

strong one on the list – this

ales and it’s easy to see why.

pubs across Wales. It’s a dark,

time from the Waen Brewery

Interestingly, real oysters

spicy and smooth pint, brewed

in Llanidloes, Powys. Cocoa

are added into the beer

with rye crystal and chocolate

nibs, vanilla pods and

during the brewing process

wheat, Strisselspalt hops, and

toasted coconut are added

to give this dark and tasty

a classic saison yeast. And

in the brewing process to

beer a subtle hint of the sea.

at 4.4% it’s lower in strength

produce a thick stout with a

Equally enjoyable on tap or

than typical saison... meaning

sweet, indulgent taste.

from the bottle.

you can drink more!

25


1

WELCOME TO GOWER

2

The ROYAL OAK

3

Welcome to Town

4

The PURPLE BADGER

CRAWLING AROUND NORTH GOWER WITH ALEX JONES

H

ere’s one for you – how many pubs are there in Gower? Eight? Ten? Personally, I reckon it’s closer to twenty. But there’s no conclusive answer, as everyone has

their own idea about what exactly construes a ‘pub’. Do the golf clubs count? Not for me they don’t. Similarly, do you count The Coalhouse down Oxwich or the Sea Garden near Penclawdd? Again I’d say no, but you could make an argument as they do serve beer. Hotels? Depends on the hotel I guess.

I’m not going to count Mumbles pubs, but I may count the Langland Brasserie. Why? Because it’s my article and I’m going to make up the rules as I go along. Anyway, all of this is a needlessly convoluted way of saying that there’s a whole wealth of drinking establishments across our glorious beauty spot. If you fancy a wholesome meal with the family, a session with your mates or you’re looking to wine and dine a prospective partner, Gower will have exactly what you’re looking for. I only came to appreciate the top edge of the peninsula after many years of slavishly sticking to the popular, crowded southern roads. I’d be the first to agree that the south coast has the ‘wow’ factor –

The second qualifier is how do you define Gower?

how do you top Worm’s Head and Three Cliffs? But

Which pubs are on the peninsula and which aren’t?

the north certainly has its own rugged charm. The

27


5

THE DOLPHIN INN

6

The Greyhound

7

BRITANNIA INN

intricate salt marshes, the distant beckoning point

the pub as I remember stopping there many years

of Whiteford Lighthouse and a smattering of stately

back, drenched in sweat on the Gower Bike Ride,

ruins. It’s got character.

and enjoying one of the first pints I’d ever bought

Our first stop on the tour is the Welcome to

myself. Arguably one of my most thirst-quenching

Gower, in Gowerton. There’s not a great deal I can

pints of all time.

say about this pub except that its name lends itself

“...a smattering of stately ruins, It’s got character.”

nicely to kick off this tour. It’s a perfectly good pub – comfortable and a good ale selection – but my abiding memory was a sign stating that it refused to show any FIFA World Cup games during one of the more recent tournaments. Now there’s a sign to divide opinion! We quickly move along to Penclawdd where we find The Royal Oak. On a visit a couple of years ago the landlord told me that there used to be eleven pubs within easy walking distance of each other and that only The Royal Oak remained. Apparently this startling deterioration began only 30 or so years ago. It’s amazing to think that the Oak itself nearly disappeared recently, before a makeover brought it up to scratch. I’ve always had a certain fondness for

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Our next taxi stop takes us to a very recent addition to my drinking catalogue; The Purple Badger. Outside, there’s a pretty beer garden with lovely views over the Loughor Estuary, a little play area and some twinkling fairy lights. As you wander in past a sign promising a ‘free cake with every coffee’, you’re immediately greeted by a friendly host and a very mellow looking stuffed purple badger standing


proudly on the bar. Next to the creature you’ll find

that the 19th Century inn and its associated Gower

a tap serving Purple Badger; a beer created by the

Brewery are responsible for a plethora of South

Gower Brewery especially for the establishment.

Wales’ finest ales; Gower Power, Gower Rumour

It’s a great spot to while away an afternoon,

and Gower Gold all herald from here and there’s

surrounded by an eccentric décor, novel touches

always a crowd on hand to sample as many of them

and a range of sporting paraphernalia to keep you

as possible. The pub is also home to well-cooked,

distracted. The food is top notch as well.

locally sourced meals, a large beer garden and one

Alas, time waits for no man and we must continue

bar broadcasting various sporting events. It’s really

along. Fortunately we’re only heading to the

a day out in itself.

Dolphin Inn a couple of minutes away down a

Moving once again, we head to the most northerly

winding, narrow lane. Here we are faced with out

pub on Gower; The Britannia Inn. A personal

first ‘old school’ pub of the crawl. The low ceilings

favourite of mine, the Brit is a long slender

and manifold nooks and crannies of the Dolphin

establishment with a restaurant at the top and

never fail to please me – as do the saloon style

a bar stocked with great real ales at the bottom

doors to get in the toilet. The robust nature of the

(although it’s not unusual for the two to merge on

pub allows for pretty much anything to happen. You

occasion). The back of the idyllic pub features drop-

might find yourself distracted by the chicken coop

dead gorgeous views across fields and waterways,

outside or the pretty vista of the nearby church,

and there’s a sense of isolation that lends any of

pulled into conversation with a friendly local or

its clients a relaxed perspective. Usefully, it’s a

simply staring contently into the pub’s log fire. It’s

wonderfully scenic drive to get there too, so it

a brilliant place which doesn’t get enough credit in

makes for an ideal post-Sunday lunch retreat.

my opinion, especially considering it normally has a

Highly recommended.

good range of real ales to select from as well. Worth

Last but by no means least, we come to the end of

a jaunt.

our 15 mile trek. Heading towards the very western

Happily our next stop is even closer than our last,

edge of Gower, you’ll crest the brow of a hill and

just a quick look left and right before we waddle

are allowed to opportunity to survey all of the

over the road into the recently reopened Welcome

Bristol Channel and Llangennith before you. More

to Town. The charming façade belays the cool,

importantly, you’ll also be able to see The King’s

contemporary bar that lies within; a complete

Head. A pebble’s throw from the beach, the pub

juxtaposition from The Dolphin. Here the walls

is a cosmopolitan mix of surfies and pensioners

are white, purple lights hold up the bar and all the

with drinks to cater for all. The beautiful courtyard

taps are glistening beacons of chrome. It’s the type

out the back allows you to sit beneath the ancient

of bar which you might expect to see in SA1, with

stonework and enjoy the pub’s very own sun trap.

its modern art, seascapes and bathtub armchair.

It’s the ideal spot to sit and contemplate your

It seemed a bit odd to me to sit and swivel on a

recent crawl and count whatever pennies you have

stylishly contemporary stool in the midst of an old

left. That’s not to say any of the pubs are overly

country pub but once a pint of Tribute had been

expensive – in fact they are very similarly priced –

plonked in front of me, any feelings of unease

but you can expect to pay a slight premium due to

quickly subsided and I enjoyed my stay. And the

their remote locations. Similarly, a taxi is going to

food looked pretty good too!

cost you around thirty quid from one side of the

Our next venture takes us back to the main road

peninsula to the other so that’s worth considering

and whisks us along until we reach the ever-popular

too. Until we hit the south of the Gower – cheers!

Greyhound Inn. Beer lovers won’t need telling

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WiN! TAPAS FOR TWO AT MOSAIC PRIZE WORTH

After all the indulgent food and drink you’ve enjoyed over Christmas, January can seem a little bleak in comparison. Thankfully the lovely guys at Mosaic – famed for their flawless service and exciting tapas menu – are offering Taste Swansea readers the chance to win a delicious tapas sharing meal for two, with a glass of prosecco on arrival. A prize worth £50! To be in with a chance to win, head to TasteSwansea.com, go to the ‘Competitions’ page, and enter your name and email address. It’s that simple.

30

£50

Competition closes Thurday, 31 December with winners selected at random and notified soon after. No cash alternative to the prize will be offered. The prize is not transferable, and subject to availability. 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.


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Taste Swansea - Issue 3  

Christmas is here and so too is the third issue of Taste Swansea magazine! We've improved it once again, with more delicious foodie news, re...

Taste Swansea - Issue 3  

Christmas is here and so too is the third issue of Taste Swansea magazine! We've improved it once again, with more delicious foodie news, re...

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