Three weeks after Y Cerrig Glas opened its doors following a major refurbishment, our reporter Patrick sampled the menu, facilities and décor of the new look Pembroke Dock pub...
It’s not every day you get invited to dine out in exchange for a review. To be honest, it creates a few worries, alongside being an incredible perk of the job! What if the place turns out to be uncomfortable or dirty? What if the food tastes of plastic or the staff are surly?
With hindsight, it's easy to realise that Marston's PLC must have known how the team at Y Cerrig Glas would live up to their expectations, that the pub would display high standards of cleanliness, and that the overall experience would be a pleasurable one.
Of course, there’s nothing like being asked to write a review for making you notice things, so read on to find out what was good and where improvements could be made.
From the moment we walked in, staff made us feel welcome, and with quick attention and smiles throughout our stay, their friendly service could not be faulted.
The main menu features a selection of starters, burgers, classic pub favourites, grills and desserts. For each dish there are nutritional values for those watching their weight, and vegan and vegetarian options are clearly laid out.
Gluten-free options, however, were not in evidence - and the addition of an unsugared fruit salad would be a welcome sight for diabetics.
While the pub’s policy of offering 2 for 1 deals on all main meals was dropped a couple of years ago, you will find that prices have actually dropped - I reckon portions have increased too, so there is no arguing with the value of eating out at Y Cerrig Glas.
For the technologically minded - or those who find it easier to remain seated - there is a QR code ordering option to use with your phone. Choosing the more traditional way of ordering, I found the staff extremely accommodating. It turns out that the ‘lighter’ option of a salad instead of chips is available on more dishes than mentioned in the menu, and they were very happy to combine the options and dish up an impressive dressed side salad for an extra £2. So it’s worth bearing in mind that there is more available than the menu would suggest.
The same applies to the drinks menu. Neither of our choices - a glass of red and a sweet cider - were listed. So it’s best to ask at the bar. They have a selection of wines including Merlot, Malbec and Shiraz.
Having enjoyed the atmosphere of Y Cerrig Glas quite a few times since its introduction to Pembroke Dock’s waterside in 2014, I was pleased to find that despite a lavish refurbishment, the place still feels the same.
In terms of furniture and décor, it’s an easy combination of class and comfort, and this was reflected in the wide age range of the clientele. The Monday night lull in custom may have added to a feeling of peacefulness - who knows? - but it felt like a cosy restaurant and family-friendly pub all at once; a place where you can take as much time as you want; somewhere equally suitable for men, women, children, and even our four-legged friends. Prominent signs make it clear that Y Cerrig Glas is a dog-friendly establishment.
Tasteful, muted shades of countryside colours are easy on the eye, with occasional flashes of something more striking.
Piles of classically bound books, and diverse artwork - much of it local - add to the 'home in the country' ambience, while plenty of soft-coloured lighting creates warmth and intimacy.
Y Cerrig Glas has several dining areas around the central bar, and every one of them spotlessly clean.
It also enjoys attractive views, thanks to its waterside location.
The food arrived - my diabetic dining companion had requested that the sweet barbecue sauce be served on the side, instead of over, the Hunter's Chicken. This request was met willingly and without delay.
It all looked very good - with the possible exception of the steak in my mixed grill. Knowing how chefs like to undercook their meat, whatever you order, I had asked for ‘well done’. With hindsight, ‘medium’ would have been a better choice.
There was plenty of it - no one was going to go hungry that evening - and everything tasted delicious - especially the peppercorn sauce. And the chips were the perfect texture: crisp and fresh as a daisy outside with a pure comfort food centre.
The veg content could have been upped a bit - a beefsteak tomato and a large flat mushroom perhaps? But the inexpensive side salad made up for that.
It’s evident that Y Cerrig Glas has tried to cater for as many different requirements as possible. There is a big screen, a games machine, various areas in which to eat and drink and everywhere, as far as I can tell, has wheelchair access. The loos are modern and clean. Outside, there is children’s play equipment and plenty of seating.
It was a very enjoyable evening, checking out this new look pub in Pembroke Dock, meeting the welcoming staff and witnessing its universal appeal. I would recommend it to anyone - but do check before your visit if you have dietary requirements, to avoid disappointment. Telephone 01646 684435.
Y Cerrig Glas is open every day from 11.30am to 11pm. Food is served until 9pm. These hours also apply to Bank Holiday Monday, May 1.