Restaurant Review: The Harbourmaster (Aberaeron)

The seaside, a beautiful Spring day, the stunning West Wales coastline … now that is a day out

All that fresh air is bound to give your appetite a nudge so there is nothing else for it but to indulge in the culinary excellence of lunch at The Harbourmaster in Aberaeron

And so St Patrick’s Day, a Welshman, a Scot and three beautiful Irish ladies … and that is not a set up for a joke

This is seriously good food, no laughing matter!

The Harbourmaster has a foodie reputation to rival any, enough to drag even the most recalcitrant London restaurant critic towards the fresh sea air of the Wales coast. And yet everything about it quietly and confidently knocks aside pretension to focus on being local

Ingredients are proudly sourced from the region, traditional recipes given a contemporary feel. You immediately get a sense that local people are just as at home here as any out-of-town foodie indulging their taste buds

The greeting as you enter the open, design-led bar area is warm. Young but confident and engaging staff set the tone

Lingering over the menu choices with prosecco and Guinness (separate glasses on this occasion) there is a fabulously mouth-watering selection. But there is no undue hurry to choose – the excellent value £12.50 for 2 courses lunch menu includes top quality choices and the braised ox cheek, in particular, went down very well with Mrs Deli

All our food choices hit the mark and reinforced the restaurant’s reputation for no-fuss, well sourced, great tasting meals

The ox cheeks nestled on swede and carrot mash, the ‘castle’ in a moat of rich gravy … cleverly crushed peas gave a subtle twist to the traditional ‘mushy peas’ accompaniment to fish and chips with a perfectly flavoured homemade tartar sauce … sea bream allowed to be the star of the show, sautéed potatoes and cherry tomatoes, pesto … Welsh beef burger topped in mouthwateringly rich Welsh rarebit, a homemade tomato relish on the side … fish pie topped in pea mash … and to wrap up, sticky toffee pudding … lush!

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Service is first class, unassuming but attentive. It was a quiet Spring midweek morning but Bookends and BinEnds has visited on far busier days and that friendly but professional atmosphere is at the heart of The Harbourmaster ethos … everyone is made to feel local and one of the family

Did I mention the wine list? The smooth Bodega Colombe Argentinian Malbec was an illustrative treat

The Harbourmaster is a taste of Wales which needs no further praise to enhance its reputation. But whether it needs it or not, it is going to get it. A fabulous lunch, served with understated style in a beautiful harbour-side setting

The Harbourmaster Hotel
Pen Cei
Aberaeron
Ceredigion
SA46 0BT

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