Crickhowell is a picturesque Welsh market town, with the market cross marking what used to be the town centre. Close to this is my favourite eating place, The Bear Inn. I have been going there for forty years and still love it!
It has cobble stones at the front and you can still see the place in these where the tethering post for horses was. The stables at the back of the inn have long been converted into accommodation for the numerous people that choose to stay in this inn. The entrance to the car park is through a wooden arch and underfoot there are more cobble stones which contrast starkly with the grey pavements of Crickhowell and the tarmac of the car park.
When you enter The Bear through the main front door, your eyes need a little time to adjust if it is a very sunny day as it looks dark and gloomy. This part of the inn used to be the lounge bar, now it is more of a restaurant than a pub, so there is no difference between areas, except that this part is original with its rough-hewn stone walls and huge fireplace. There are the original beams too and flagstones on the floor, although they are largely now covered by a carpet.
The area that used to be the bar was more modern but it now has the olde worlde look with its faux stone work almost matching that in the ‘lounge’ area. The food is still the same excellent quality as it always was, with a lunch time menu chalked on the boards near the bar areas. These are very good value for money. The starter I fancied was the chicken liver parfait with wimberry compote (around £6), but I decided to skip that and have the cheese and biscuits later. I ended up with the Mevagissey plaice with vegetables (broccoli, mange tout peas, garden peas, and French beans with boiled new potatoes) for £14.95. The most expensive main course on the menu was the fillet steak for £22.95 with chips, grilled tomatoes and so on. Nothing then, was too expensive. There were vegetarian dishes, grilled artichokes and other vegetables with feta, fennel, orange and chicory salad, wild mushroom risotto with parmesan cheese and so on.
The desserts were tempting, and priced at either £5.95 or £6.95 for the ‘chocolate indulgence’ which consists of different small portions all made with chocolate of some description. The ice creams were homemade and one was an interesting sounding brown bread ice cream. There was also a stem ginger liqueur ice cream served with brandy snap barrels.
Ultimately I ordered three Welsh cheeses and biscuits which came with a chutney, celery and black and green grapes. The creamy Welsh goats’ cheese was excellent as was the blue cheese and a Welsh equivalent of brie. That cost £7.50. Finally the coffees, mine was late arriving mainly I suspect that they were busy (a Jamaican coffee with Tia Maria for £4.95, other liqueur coffees were slightly cheaper at £4.50.
There are other places to eat in Crickhowell, but old habits die hard and I do love the Bear! There’s a public car park very close to it where you only pay £2.50 to park all day, and blue badge owners park free. You can wander around the antique shops and sports shops (fishing and hunting) as well as the craft shops before or after you meal, or perhaps sit by the river and enjoy a pint at the Bridge End Inn at the beginning (or end) of the town.
You could also take a look at Crickhowell castle and visit Tretower court which is at the same location.
Have a good day!