You may be forgiven for thinking of Merthyr Tydfil as a depressing, run-down place which is a relic of the Industrial Revolution, but it does have a few things going for it; it’s arts centre for one, and its eateries for another!
There is the inevitable Wetherspoon’s pub, Y Dic Penderyn at 102 – 103 High Street Merthyr and there are some typical Welsh dishes on the menu, such as Welsh faggots (served with mushy peas of course), Welsh cawl (lamb stew) and one with Welsh connotations – the Flaming dragon which is a hot curry (not quite vindaloo strength, but hotter than most Madras curries). The food can be very good, although I have had some not so good meals there too. The advantage of it is that it’s cheap and has a good range of cheap drinks.
Dic Penderyn was Richard Lewis from Penderyn (hence the nickname) who was accused (probably falsely) of stabbing a soldier in the leg in 1831 in the Merthyr Rising. Dic’s trial was conducted in English – a language he didn’t understand and was informed of his fate only shortly before his hanging at Cardiff gaol. His last words were (in Welsh) reportedly, “Oh Lord, this is iniquity.” However this could be a mis-translation of the Welsh.
For a good Indian meal at reasonable prices there is the Taj Indian restaurant in 1, Morlais Building, High Street Merhtyr and I recommend the Kohlrapuri duck with plain naan bread. The lemon rice is also good as are the other dishes. It’s cheaper than other restaurants of its kind, perhaps because of the uninspiring décor. The “house wine” changes too, and there isn’t much choice, but for the price, this Indian restaurant cannot be beaten for price and quality of food in the area.
If your preferences are for British cuisine with hints of Asian and European cuisines thrown in for good measure the Dragonfly is excellent value as they do two meals for the price of one. It actually works out cheaper than the lunch time buffet meal at the Pizza Hut! The steaks are good as are the roasts (on Sundays) and the European dishes which include vegetarian pasta dishes. With a bottle of wine and desserts you can pay less than thirty pounds for two people. This is a Marston’s brewery pub/restaurant at the Rhydycar Leisure Centre just off the A470.
As you go to the Dragonfly you will notice a Frankie and Bennie’s. Pass it by if my experiences there are anything to go by. I went at lunchtime and was told to move to another table by a really rude waitress. No please or reasonable explanation was given. Then a second waitress informed us that we would have to wait an hour for our meal as they were “struggling.” At that we left and went elsewhere in high dudgeon at the first waitress’s rudeness.
One of my favourite places to eat is at The Prince of Wales on the Merthyr Road at Princetown. This is a real find! It’s a country pub and painted lemon yellow; it’s easy to spot at a distance and you get to it by driving past the “Twisted Chimney” just outside Bute Town, Rhymney. The landlady does the cooking and on Tuesday nights has a curry club night with a choice of 4 curries, a vegetarian one, a beef madras and last night two types of chicken dishes, a chicken tikka masala and a chicken korma. The curries (eat as much as you can) costs £7.50 which includes a free drink (wine, beer, cider and soft drinks). On Sundays there is a buffet carvery, which has a choice of vegetables and roasts. You pay less than eight pounds for two courses and a free drink (wine, beer, cider and soft drinks). There are three courses on offer and we had a choice of soup or pate and toast as starters and trifle, wimberry pie (wimberries are better known outside south Wales as bilberries) or jam roly poly for dessert. I asked if there were cheese and biscuits and some were rustled up. Each of the 3rd courses cost £2.50, so the whole meal is good value for money and very well cooked. Enjoy!