5th July 2009 at 6:20 pm

Poppit, Cenarth and Major Fail.

After the long drive to Wales yesterday I didn’t want to spend too much time in the car. Started off a mile from where I am staying at Poppit Sands.

Poppit Poppit Canarth Cenarth

And in the afternoon a long walk though the valley at Cenarth along the banks of the river Teifi.

Poppit sands are situated at the mouth of the river Teifi and are formed by fine, clean sand that is only partially covered at high tide. They are backed by sand dunes. Today I just spent and hour or so walking their length but I hope to return and spend some time just sitting and enjoying the view.

In the afternoon it started to rain so Cenarth was the ideal place to go. The heavily wooded valley affords good shelter and the path is well made – mostly from solid rock. Eventually the path turns away from the river and there is a steep climb up the side of the valley, this forms a circular walk that takes you back to where you started,

Between Poppit and Cenarth was Sunday Lunch. There is a pub called the Ferry Inn located just 100 metres or so from where I am staying and I had read good things about it before I came away. From the outside it looks very small and also, there is a very ominous sign stating that it is under new ownership.

Inside though it is huge – spread out over two levels both inside and out with the deck extending over the river. It’s priority is obviously food as all the tables are all set out for dining – There are around 40 Tables I’d guess, but when I arrived, at 12:00, only one was occupied.

The first warning sign was the menu – written in crayon (really!) there was only two starters and two main courses available – Roast Beef or Roast Turkey.

For the starter I choose the Pate over the soup – this arrived with only the most basic of presentation. two thin slices of anemic looking pate with three slices of bread that looked like it had been cut from a baguette only 2 cms in diameter. It was garnished with a couple of bits of Iceberg lettuce, two wedges of tomato and a sprinkling of finely diced peppers – all undressed. At least it was edible which was more than I can say for the main course.

I choose the Roast Beef and this arrived on a plate surrounded by a sea of beige.

  • The wafer thin slices of beef looked like they had come from a boil-in-the bag pack.
  • The boiled potatoes were far too large to be served in their skin as it was thick and discoloured (or it may have just been dirt)
  • The roasted potatoes were soggy.
  • The vegetables were just cauliflower and mashed swede.
  • It was topped by a very uniformly shaped (and therefore probably from frozen) yorkshire pudding
  • Finishing off, a gravy boat, which was odd as the roast beef was surrounded by it’s own gravy (presumably from the boil in the bag)

All this would have been forgivable but then the taste. As I began to eat it I was aware of a peculiar chemical taste – I soon realised that this was salt – lots and lots of salt and every component seemed to be infused with an excess of salt (except perhaps the yorkshire pudding) . Before long my mouth was becoming numb and I was only able to eat less than half of the meal.

About 15 minutes later the waitress came to clear the half empty plates and asked the usual perfunctory question – “was every thing OK?” Quite apart from the obvious fact that none of us had eaten more than half the meal – she seemed quite taken aback to hear my response and replied with a sheepish “sorry” before making a hasty departure and disappearing from view as quickly as she could.

It was just as well for them that they took the payment at the time you ordered your meal – as it was, I couldn’t leave the place fast enough.

But the biggest disappoint is that the pub that is so close to where I am staying and where I had planned to eat most days – is now off the menu. There is no other pub within reasonable walking distance.

Just to make it clear for any readers.

Stay clear of the Ferry Inn at St.Dogmaels – they serve some of the worst food I have ever eaten!