On a sunny, Saturday afternoon the idea of sipping a gin and tonic and enjoying a sumptuous lunch by the harbour  seemed most appealing.  So, we headed off to The Cellar Restaurant in Aberaeron, a restaurant that always boasts excellent reviews and unquestionably a fabulous position on the harbour.

We hadn’t booked, so when we arrived we were a were a little surprised to be told that they were only serving the Tapas menu, however, we thought Tapas was probably a good idea as it would provide a nice, sociable and light afternoon meal option.

The service was genuinely warm and faultless throughout the meal. The layout of the restaurant was also very good with plenty of room for maneuvering chairs and navigating around the table – two things that really are important when dining out with young children.

When ordering, we found that a two of the vegetarian tapas dishes were unavailable [ stuffed pepper and nachos] and I must say that the vegetarian options were somewhat unimaginative. We ended up with olives, bread, alioli, potato wedges, patatas bravas and garlic mushrooms. I would have loved to have seen some creativity and tasty little plates that offered a bit of style and substance. Some baked cheeses, chunks of frittata, Spanish salads,  croquettes, spicy chickpeas and perhaps some vegetable fritters.

The food arrived swiftly, but I must admit that I was a little underwhelmed by the appearance of the food as it arrived at our table.  The patatas bravas were particularly disappointing rather than the undeniably delicious version I have enjoyed on holiday that are made from a recipe of  boiled, diced potatoes in a sauce of olive oil, tomatoes, white wine vinegar, hot paprika, chopped garlic and chilli; the dish I was presented with was a very British version and a poor substitute for the real thing. A lack of spice and pulpy tomato sauce are the lasting memories of the dish.

The garlic mushrooms were also lacking in flavour, the thin cream sauce they were served in was rather lacking in body and flavour and the portion size in terms of the actual mushrooms was somewhat lean. The potato wedges, olives and bread were all as expected, but where can you go wrong with these? Whilst, the smoked duck that my husband ordered was  also underwhelming on the taste front.

I enjoyed my gin and tonic and the position of the restaurant was lovely. Sadly, the tapas dishes I sampled did not live up to even modest expectations. If I were to sum up the dishes in one word it would be ‘bland’.  I am sure that this restaurant can do a lot better and perhaps I’ll return to sample the main menu at some point.

It just goes to show that sometimes the simplest of food can be difficult to get right.






About Seren Charrington-Hollins

ABOUT SEREN-CHARRINGTON-HOLLINS Describing my work through just one job title is difficult; because my professional life sees me wear a few hats: Food Historian, period cook, broadcaster, writer and consultant. I have a great passion for social and food history and in addition to researching food history and trends I have also acted as a consultant on domestic life and changes throughout history for a number of International Companies. In addition to being regularly aired on radio stations; I have made a number of television appearances on everything from Sky News through to ITV’s Country House Sunday, Holiday of a Lifetime with Len Goodman , BBC4’s Castle’s Under Siege, BBC South Ration Book Britain; Pubs that Built Britain with Hairy Bikers and BBC 2’s Inside the Factory. Amongst other publications my work has been featured in Period Living Magazine, Telegraph, Daily Telegraph, Daily Mail and Great British Food Magazine and I write regularly for a variety of print and online publications. I am very fortunate to be able to undertake work that is also my passion and never tire of researching; recreating historical recipes and researching changing domestic patterns. Feel free to visit my blog, www.serenitykitchen.com