[Hay-on-Wye, Powys] Richard Booth's Bookshop Cafe
If you're in this town it is likely because you are to visit all the bookshops. You might also want to have lunch. We opted for the Cafe that adjoins Richard Booth's Bookshop. And so glad we did.
This is on the surface, a simple cafe menu. My wife had Fennel & Celeriac soup and Welsh Rarebit. I had the Arnold Bennett Omelette. We shared some Chips.
Oh, but it was so much more than that. The soup was creamy and delicious and rich. The Welsh Rarebit was possibly the best I have ever had - the mustard floating on top of the bread like a layer of cream. I ended up eating half of my wife's dish.
The Omelette was just rich and perfect as well, a fluffy egg layer with smoked haddock and a layer of -what was it - they call it a cheese sauce but it was rich like a hollandaise. My wife ate half of my plate.
The chips are chips people rave about, apparently. Flavorful. Crispy on the outside, tender and well-cooked on the inside. We ate everything and I'm usually not a fan of chips.
What else can I say? We skipped dessert but opted for coffee after seeing a neighbour served what looked like a proper espresso -my wife is very picky about this subject. I got an affogato which was made using their own homemade ice cream and it was, again, perfect.
I don't know who the cooks are - they seemed to be two guys in a small kitchen - but they are serving out wonderful food in an unexpected place. We'll definitely be back and not just for the books!
Must have missed posting a lunch review here from when we were in Hay in August last year.
We ate at the Three Tuns :
"The Three Tuns is listed in the Michelin Guide. Reading the pub’s website, apparently the Guide describes it as “one of the best dining pubs in Great Britain”. Now, if that’s an accurate quote, then I’d suggest the Guide’s inspectors need to get out more. That’s not to say, it wasn’t a pretty decent lunch. In fact, it was a pretty decent one-course lunch.
On one plate, a salmon and smoked haddock fishcake, that had a good ratio of fish to potato. There was a handful of salad leaves. And there were some very decent chips.
Faggots on the other plate. Or, to be precise, a single very large lump of faggot – full of meaty livery flavour. It sat on a mound of mash, itself topped with mushy peas. And there was an OK, if somewhat industrial, gravy.
This was none too shabby al round and, perhaps, if the Guide does describe the Three Tuns as one of the best in the “country”, a typo had crept in and they meant “county”. "
By the by, the town also has a fab looking organic butchers if you were self-catering in the area (We weren't)