I hadn’t intended to share much from my recent return to Aberystwyth, but some meals are so special that they just have to be shared. While we were away, Dave and I tried out Pysgoty, which might just be the smallest restaurant I’ve ever eaten in.
Pysgoty is run by a husband and wife duo, who also own Jonah’s Fish Market, so you’re in safe hand to assume they know a lot about fish. The restaurant is on the harbour front in Aberystwyth, and it’s tiny, with just four tables inside, and a handful more outside when the weather allows. 16 people can eat inside, including four sat at the bar. As much of the food as possible is sourced locally, meaning the fish is incredibly fresh, bought off the boats in the harbour in front.
Inside, the restaurant is simple but pretty, with a blue and white colour scheme and cosy seating. The menu is small, but perfectly formed, much like the restaurant itself. It changes regularly, depending on the catch, and there’s a specials board for some extra options. The menu also has some mysterious codes next to some dishes. I’m told these codes refer to the number of the boat the fish was caught by. You can sit on the decking and look out into the harbour and spot the very boat that caught your dinner. It doesn’t get much more local than that.
To start, I went for prawn stuffed cabbage rolls. After chatting to the waiter, we discovered the chef, Pawel Banaszynski, is polish, and his influence on the menu really shows with this dish. The prawn filling was almost like a risotto, and the rolls made me think of arancini, except wrapped in cabbage. They were packed with flavoursome prawns, and were a delicious, comfort food starter.
Dave always orders Moules Mariniére when he sees it on a menu, and it’s one of his favourite things to eat. The mussels here were enormous. I’ve never seen such fat, juicy mussels anywhere, and they were rich with garlic and wine, and not a hint of the dreaded grittiness mussels can sometimes have. The accompanying organic bread was much appreciated for soaking up the delicious sauce too.
The best things are written in chalk, so I chose my main course from the Specials board. Local sea bass is pan-fried and served with chunky chips and hollaindaise sauce. The fish was huge, and meaty. I loved how simply the fish was cooked. No fuss, just allowing a truly stunning piece of fish to shine. The chips were incredible (I suspect triple cooked) with fluffy insides and crunchy outsides. The Hollaindaise was the best I’ve ever had; buttery and creamy with a little tanginess. Perfection.
Dave chose the Crab papperdelle, which I’d been very tempted to order myself, so I couldn’t resist stealing a mouthful. The crab is local too, and there was lots of it. Crab is so often skimped on, but there was piles of it in the thick sauce, coating every inch of perfectly made papperdelle, which still had some bite to it. The crab was soft and sweet and utterly gorgeous.
I found a corner for a cheese board to finish the meal. Three kinds of welsh cheese, with crackers and chutney. The blue was the real stand out, but all of it was tasty, and well paired with the fruity, chunky chutney.
Dave went more classic and ordered the Brownie. It was gooey and incredibly rich, with a luxe chocolate sauce. The mouthful I tried was decadent and chocolatey. The ice cream was light in comparison, cutting through the richness.
We were so impressed by Pysgoty. High quality ingredients, prepared with love and served with a service level I’d expect in a fine dining establishment, not a tiny 16 cover restaurant in a small town in Wales. If you find yourself Abersytwyth way, you must go. You won’t regret it.