Their national dish is cheese on bloody toast: The gammon food critic visits Wales

Restaurant reviews by Justin Tanner, our retired food critic who doesn’t blame Trump for paying Stormy Daniels for a blowie if he can afford it, the jammy bastard.

THE wife only booked an Easter break in Wales, didn’t she? Ever the professional, I thought it would give the food critic in me the opportunity to try the local grub. I wish I hadn’t.

I had no idea what to expect from this backward, vowel-challenged, foreign land. Probably 50 ways to cook a leek, and the best ways to prepare and roast lamb after having sex with it. But I went into the experience with an open mind.

In our B&B we started the day in a civilised manner with a traditional full English. The landlady, rather curtly, informed me it was actually a full Welsh breakfast. 

Yeah, right. It was bacon, fried eggs, grilled tomato, baked beans – our traditional English Heinz ones – and HP sauce, so they’ve basically just pinched the name. Nonetheless, it was all palatable enough – until I bit into a ‘Glamorgan sausage’. 

Alarm bells should have gone off when I saw the sausage was coated in breadcrumbs – batter, yes, breadcrumbs, no – and it turned out to be CHEESE. Needless to say I spat it onto the table and rushed to the nearest toilet where I vomited uncontrollably.

Not the best introduction to Welsh cuisine, but once the nausea had subsided I ventured to the local pub for lunch, and decided to try the much-lauded – by the locals, anyway – national treasure Welsh rarebit. Fuck me, seriously? They think they invented cheese on toast? 

They hosted a UN assembly here a few years ago with Barack Obama visiting. Can you imagine the conversation? ‘Who have we got coming for lunch?’ ‘All the leaders of the free world!’ ‘Right, both grills on then.’ Jesus wept. Sadly the dish ruined perfectly good cheese on toast with the unfathomable addition of mustard and beer, turning it into an overly rich slop which had me crippled with indigestion.

I asked what local drink they’re famous for, but apparently they don’t have one. You’d think over hundreds of years of relative civilisation they’d have come up with something. I had lager, which, to be fair, I’d probably have done anyway.

I decided to give the place a second chance and return for dinner. There’s another dish they’re questionably famous for called ‘cawl’. Turns out it’s just soup with bits in so I ordered something called ‘laverbread’ to help bulk it out. I almost had a coronary when it arrived.

Seaweed. Fucking seaweed! Boiled down to a dark green mush like the snot of someone with a serious chest infection. They have the nerve to call it ‘Welshman’s caviar’, and sure enough it’s every bit as disgusting as eggs from a fish’s vagina. Just thinking about it makes me heave. If the locals have to eat this shit it’s no wonder there’s a McDonald’s every ten yards in Newport.

I paid up and left, still starving, in search of a chippie, unsure if they had them in Wales. Thankfully they do, and what’s more, they serve doner kebabs. I ordered one, dripping in lamb fat and chilli sauce and squatted down to messily eat it in a shop doorway out of the perpetually pissing rain. It was like a taste of home. You can travel the world, but there’s simply no beating proper English food like this.

Would I eat Welsh ‘food’ again? Only to feel grateful I live in a country with world-class indigenous cuisine. Where we don’t get some pond weeds and pretend it’s Warburtons, or serve up fake sausages without a hint of delicious eyelids or tendons.

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