During our journey to Dolgammedd Camp Site, it has become tradition, for Gilly and I to stop of en route for a quick bite, drink and leg stretch. This time (August 2012) we got as far as Bala, before stopping. If the rare sighting of a parking spot on Bala High Street hadn't magically happened, then we might have had to wait until the camp site before eating. As it was directly in front of this hostelry, which advertised that it was serving cheap food, we were in!
Well, this was one 'quirky place'. Early afternoon, and there were just 3 or so 'locals' in this darkened pub- they might have been there some while :-) . A large room, with a raised 'dining area' and Big Screen TV
Outside was a large beer garden/smoking area - no-one seated outside either (it was raining)
Posters advertised the evenings entertainment, which I seem to remember was something quite corny - a male stripper? Tribute Act? - Will have to ask Gilly if she remembers!
Each evening there was a 'Special Event' - Bingo/ Curry Night/ Live Music etc.
Hmmm, should imagine there may be the odd spot of bother in here - Don't know why, but there was a bit of a strange atmosphere in here - The staff were OK, and not un-friendly, but it felt like a ghost pub, haunted by the 1970's/80's.
Not sure if The Goat still offers accommodation - didn't spot any info.
Favorite Dish: We both ordered a bowl of home made soup - Carrot and lentil, which came with hunks of home made bread... err no, it was white thin sliced bread, but never mind, it was good for mopping up with! The soup was piping hot, thick and tasty and good value for just under £3.
The building, dates back to 1855, and was previously owned by a Mr Evans, and was a newspaper shop at the beginning of the 20th Century. In the mid 1800's it was a chemists shop.
It was established as a cafe, serving food to the local farmers, and those visiting on Market Day, but during WW2, due to rationing of food and petrol, it served as a bike repair shop and for recharging batteries. It reopened as a cafe in the late 1940's
This cafe looked to be a popular place, but we managed to grab a table for the three of us.
Self sevice - so we perused the menu, then Vicki and I went to order, leaving Gilly to guard our bags and table.
A selection of Hot and cold sandwiches/panninis, soup,jacket potatoes, egg and chips/sausage and chips etc, childrens menu and breakfasts.
As we'd had breakfast, and had Vickis Pasta and vegetable meal to look forward to, we opted for toasted sandwiches/paninni melts. I was nearly tempted by the one dish on the specials board, hidden near the counter - Pork, veg, potatoes with drink and dessert for less than the price of the paninni melt that I'd opted for.
Two quite dour women were taking the orders. Service was quite brisk (and brusque)!( a bit of a contrast to the smiling and friendly staff in the Post Office next door)
The cafe appeared to attract a mix of tourists and a few locals, who were chattering away in Welsh between themselves and the staff.
It was clean and quite light and airy, with some attractive Tiffany lamps.
On the table was a laminated 'history of the cafe' plus a mention that it was well known through Wales, is a meeting place and had featured in TV programmes.
We were a bit puzzled as to which TV programmes, but on my visit to the toilet - located near the back door, I spotted some framed photographs of celebrities including George Best. There was one of Robert Powell and Jasper Carrot, with an autographed message to the cafe. Errol Brown (Did he order a Hot Chocolate?) and other blasts from the past with framed vinyl discs etc - I guess not all of these had visited, but were a collection of purchased memorabilia.
There doesn't appear to be a web site (nor Facebook/Twitter details unsurprisingly)
Favorite Dish: I chose a pannini melt of ham, Mozarella, tomato and herbs, which came with salad garnish and tortilla chips (crisps). The melt was hot and quite tasty, and surprisingly filling. Initially, I felt that £5.75 was a bit pricey for a snack like this, but it was better than I had anticipated.
I also ordered a pot of Earl Gray tea, which came 'continental style' ie a jug of hot water, with the tea bag on the saucer - WHY????? - teabag/ loose leaf tea in a warmed pot, infused with Boiling water, can't be too much trouble surely???
Possibly not the most elegant restaurant in Bala - actually, possibly the most down-trodden place - but on a wet afternoon on our way to Dolgellau for the annual North Wales Camping VT Meet, we stopped in Bala to pick up some last provisions and wanted somewhere to have a light lunch. We had managed to find a parking space immediately outside The Goat (parking in Bala is rare, especially on the high street) and with rain falling, we opted to eat close with Sue spotting their cheap lunch fare menu, The Goat was our selection.
We both selected to have their carrot and lentil soup which was served with bread and cost just £2.99 (other options included fish and chips or sausage and mash).
We were served a good-sized bowl of hot soup with your standard 'plastic' white bread - the soup was tasty and the bread fresh, if not home-baked. It suited our needs and pleased our purses.
The Goat is also a local entertainment venue which hosts a disco on Friday and Saturday nights with occasional live entertainment. There are a number of television screens dotted around the bar which are used to show live sports.
Favorite Dish: They have around half a dozen items on their reduced price menu and our selection of carrot and lentil soup was very pleasant.
Vicky (Myfanwe) and I had a lovely dinner here during the Wales camping trip 2012.
We both had Lamb shank with mashed potatoes and veg followed by Banoffee pie and cream. Both dishes were the best I have tasted and as it was a lovely afternoon we sat in the large garden.
I would definitely recommend this restaurant to anybody visiting this beautiful part of Wales.
Favorite Dish: LAMB SHANK
On the final evening of the 2012 VT camping meet in Dolgellau, we spent most of the day sitting around camp watching the rain come and go (mostly come!). The sun finally made an appearance and we decided to head to Bala in search of some good homecooked food. After passing several eateries on the high street, we came accross Plas Yn Dre. It's in an attractive building with a pretty beer garden and two standing stones standing amongst the tables (I forgot to ask their significance)! As it was sunny, we opted for an undercover table in the garden, just in case the rains came back! Both Aly (VT-er Alyf1961) and I chose the Lamb shank on a bed of mash potatoes with seasonal veg. It was absolutely delicious and tender, the gravy was like my Nan used to make it and the veg was fresh and tasty, especially the swede mash. Desert was Banoffee pie, this too did not disappoint at all....it was lovely. For colder days, there seemed to be a nice inside eating area & it was really popular with the locals. The service was prompt and the staff were very friendly. I would definitely eat here again and would recommend it to others.
Favorite Dish: Banoffe Pie