Hurrah we can eat out and meet with friends – being very cautious who we hug of course. It was all well and good being able to eat out last month, but realistically with the weather bringing the coldest May temperatures since 1659 according to Electroverse.net, getting ready to go out for a meal was akin to preparing for a polar expedition.
Apparently, it was back in 1659 that the Central England Temperature (CET) dataset was established, which has provided meteorologists and climate scientists with an invaluable source of information. So, 2021 is set to go down in history for yet another reason.
We did brave the elements on one sunny lunch time – unfortunately there was a keen easterly wind blowing which brought into play the wind chill factor, making it feel several degrees colder than the thermometer reading. The King Arthur had got its Covid precautions well in play with a jolly chap at the entrance to the garden, taking names and telephone numbers for track and trace for those of us whose phones may be smart, but their users aren’t.
Ordering was easy, just pop to the purpose-built wooden booth, pay with contactless card and sit back and wait for your food and drinks to be delivered. Fortunately, I always keep a throw in the back of the car – it was a lifesaver on this occasion as I could swaddle myself and snuggle up.
It may have only been a prawn sandwich and a portion of chips, but it tasted like manna from heaven to me. My first taste of freedom with the addition of a cheeky white wine spritzer – and on a week day too. The sandwich was bursting with juicy, plump prawns in a creamy Marie Rose sauce and the chips were deliciously salty and crisp – I happily polished off the lot.
I’m looking forward to when the sun finally comes out and we can once again sit in the King Arthur’s garden – without the need for Arctic clothing.
The King Arthur, Reynoldston, Gower SA3 1AD I www.kingarthurhotel.co.uk
Tel: 01792 390775
Where do you take a 6-year old for lunch when you have to sit outside and the weather is unseasonably cold? This was my dilemma last month – he’d already had one birthday in lockdown and I really wanted to treat our grandson to something a bit special to mark this milestone. I’d heard that The Secret had transformed their terrace into a covered space with heating, so this sounded just the ticket. The Secret has long been a favourite place of mine for a casual al fresco breakfast or an evening meal with fabulous views of the beach. The food is top notch and the service is exemplary – all the staff seems to have the happy gene.
The terrace is beautifully decorated with silk flowers and driftwood – and the purpose-built wooden tables and padded bench seating allows for perfect social distancing for 6 people from different households. It was the perfect setting for a birthday lunch.
Steaks and gammon ham and chips were the order of the day – all of top quality and cooked really well. Birthday boy was happy with cheesy garlic bread, chips and tomato ketchup – carb heavy but you’re only 6 once. Well fed, we journeyed up the M4 to Cardiff and the Lego shop – a little boy’s idea of heaven.
The Secret Bar & Kitchen, Mumbles Road, Swansea SA2 0AY www.thesecretswansea.co.uk Tel: 01792 439220
A proper meal out in a restaurant, with tablecloths – I used to take this sort of thing for granted, pre-pandemic. Last month, as soon as we were able to book a table inside a restaurant I went online to make a reservation at one of my favourite places to eat – Truffle in St Edward Road, Uplands. Run by couple Jon and Jodie, this little gem of a family run, independent restaurant has become a firm favourite with so many people. Its menu is full of lovely, home cooked dishes designed to suit everyone’s taste whether you are carnivore or vegan.
The weather felt more like November than May and we had to make a dash for it from the car to the door, but the welcome we received was warm and genuine. The regulations now dictate that tables have to be more spaced out than before, but Truffle has retained its cosy atmosphere.
The menu features classic favourites and maxi-mises the wonderful local produce which is bang on season, as well as some great Mediterranean additions. The mussels came from Burry Port and were the plumpest and juiciest that we’d had in many a year – garlicky and rich with just the right amount of sauce to dunk a chunk of bread into. A lamb kofta, gently spiced, char grilled and served with a creamy tzatziki.
I like to try something new when I eat out, some-thing that I wouldn’t cook for myself at home. I love celeriac, but I usually serve it raw in a remoulade. Here it was roasted in a tarte tatin and served with another of my favourites, chickpeas. The slight celery-like flavour of the celeriac was perfectly com-plemented by the masala spicing of the chickpeas, and the crowning glory was the serving of thrice cooked chips. Oh, how we missed proper chips
since lock down. These were obviously hand cut and treated with the respect that the humble spud needs to elevate it to the title of thrice cooked. The sirloin steak with pepper sauce proved to be a winner and after so many months of deprivation I had to turn a blind eye to Simon running his finger around the jug to get every morsel of sauce out.
At just £26 per person for three courses, Truffle is definitely a winner and will continue to be a firm favourite.
Truffle has a Bring Your Own policy on beer and wine, but they do have an excellent wine list if you don’t want the hassle of lugging a bottle in your handbag.
Truffle, 1A King Edward’s Rd, Swansea SA1 4LH www.truffleswansea.com
Tel: 01792 547246