Friday, 13 December 2013

The Mill Tea Rooms (at the Gower Heritage Centre)

City life gets hectic sometimes (even if it is just Swansea), so I like to take a trip to the Gower for some food now and again. And The Mill Tea Rooms - the cafe at the Gower Heritage Centre - is one out-of-town eatery I've been meaning to review for some time.

This is what you are looking out for.

I finally visited the heritage centre earlier this year (for Pirate Week I believe) and decided to have some food (as you do when you've seen a pirate). Despite my premonitions of a few soggy sandwiches, I was happy to be presented with a pretty extensive menu. From Welsh classics like cawl and rarebit, to burgers, breakfasts and curry, the cafe has more choice than you may expect.

After you've gained entry, head for this little gem!

The first time I visited I opted for a burger, and have done ever since. The amount of food you get is reassuringly satisfying, with an abundance of chips, along with a small salad and a generous helping of coleslaw. 

A hearty amount of food!

Now, the first two times I ordered the burger I loved the quality of the meat - a big patty, which was thick and juicy, with a crispy pan-fried texture. Unfortunately on my most recent visit - the one when I decided to review the place - I was a little disappointed with the burger, which I found was quite dry and a little smaller than usual. It felt out of place in the big granary bun! To be fair, in the past they have been one of the best burgers I've had in Swansea. I'll be curious to see what the burger is like next time (even though I should probably branch out and try a different dish...).

My dining partners on this occasion had the cawl, which was - again - very generously portioned, served with a nice roll and butter. The burger is £7.50 and the cawl was £5.95, while a coffee will cost you around £2.30.

You eat in a cosy little space, which is never too busy. The decor is very traditional, with wood panelling, simple table and chairs, and an array of framed pictures depicting scenes of the Gower. One thing I really appreciate there is the microwave, which is free to use. Many is the time I order a coffee with my meal and realise I don't actually want to drink it until after my food. Step in the microwave, which allowed me to rectify my mistake and warm up my coffee!


I also like the inclusion of a free water dispenser, which makes a change from having to ask "can I have a glass of tap water" at the end of every order. And while we are on the topic of drinks, the cafe sells an array of local bottled beers and other delicacies (such as locally-produced chocolates) to enjoy with your meal or to take home.

So all in all you may agree that this is a brilliant little find. The only catch? You have to pay to get in, as it's bang in the middle of the Gower Heritage Centre. I have an annual season pass (sensibly priced at £32 for a couple - worth it if you plan on visiting a few times a year), otherwise it will cost you around £7 per person.

In return for your money, not only do you get to visit a nice little cafe, you can enjoy an array of demonstrations (wood turning, blacksmiths, and so on) as well as the animal centre, to see some lovely little chickens, lambs and goats. Well worth the trip!

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