Food & Faeries – Medina, Aberystwyth

As much as I sometimes grumble about it, one of the very brilliant things about my job is how much of the country I get to discover. After a pretty epic 5+ hour journey down to the Welsh coast, I discovered the dramatic market town of Aberystwyth… and trust me, I’ll be back as it clearly feels like I didn’t have the chance to uncover as little as 10% of what it has to offer.

One of the things it does offer a great deal of, and which I made sure to sample extensively, is plenty of fantastic restaurants, cafés and food outlets. From the picturesque local organic, very veggie friendly (if not entirely vegetarian?) Treehouse to the Welsh take on a Spanish tasca Ultracomida, the place is filled to the brim with healthy, affordable and frankly quite exciting choices.

One restaurant I wanted to give a special mention to, a five-star, all singing, all dancing review is Medina. To me, Medina represents everything that I love and that excites me about what good food can do when it is offered in the right context. From what I gathered from conversations with local residents and the eatery’s website; Medina is a local story in a global, open minded, joyously “fusion-ed” context.

The food they serve is primarily inspired by Middle Eastern and North African traditions – there are mezze options aplenty, and I would suggest you don’t think twice about ordering the sharing platter to start – crafted with carefully sourced ingredients in a friendly and relaxed atmosphere. While I would normally be more of a starter and main sort of a person, this time around I also treated myself to a dessert… and am I glad I did!

If you’re planning on eating out there in the evening, do make sure you keep room for one of their desserts. I can particularly vouch for their Meringue & Rosewater based ‘Sundae’ and anything involving their dark chocolate mousse. For £4-£6 (where in most restaurants, you would get a pre-packaged, microwaved slice of chocolate fudge cake), you’ll get to try a work of art where the textures and flavours are expertly orchestrated to make you feel like royalty.

If you’re ever in or near Aber, please pay them a visit, the staff are friendly, and the atmosphere fuss-free. Perhaps their current location is still quite spacious for the intimate affair that Medina’s food offers, so your evening might be best enjoyed with a group of friends rather than for a first date – although to be honest, if someone bought me a dessert from Chef Cheuk, I’d fall for them within seconds!

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