Something Fishy and Slightly off Quay

Article excerpt

Byline: By Mike Smith

If Michelin stars could be given purely for service beyond the call of duty then the young waiter who looked after our party at the Hive on the Quay, Aberaeron, deserves one.

It was one of those typical West Wales days. Not cold enough to need to be in by a cosy fire but then too fresh really to stay outdoors unless it was in the full sun.

Oh, if only you could move between the inside and outside as fancy takes you and the temperature fluctuates.

But that's what we tried to do.

The waiter in question will probably remember us because not only did we jump tables, having watched as he kindly carried a hefty metal table out to the patio, we then swiftly abandoned it for a more cosy-looking one in the sunshine that had just become free.

This was definitely the high point of our visit to the Hive on the Quay, as much else of the visit was fraught with problems.

Let us start with the fact that a lot of the menu boasts, if not positively cries out, local fish and shellfish.

We managed to bag the last lobster of the day (pounds 16) which we shared, along with a courgette-and-pepper frittata (pounds 4) and a cold lamb dish.

Yes, the lobster was sweet and delicious but as I had really wanted local crab I started off on the wrong foot.

The fact that a waiter came and asked if we had finished our meal before it had even been brought to the table caused a little chuckle.

We couldn't laugh too much as it was the same poor chap who had lugged out the metal table only to see us then swap seats to go and sit in the sunshine.

We were feeling just a little guilty as he then carried the metal table back indoors.

It turned out watching the waiting staff was the most interesting aspect of the place - until we sampled their famous ice creams.

In normal times the menu had such wonders as a smoked-fish platter (pounds 12.50) and a platter of half a lobster, crab, oysters, mayonnaise, Tabasco and chilli (pounds 24).

Not when we went there, however, but at least we got that last lobster.

Other diners were less fortunate and hid their disappointment.

The place itself is pleasant enough, with a takeaway counter at the front that you pass to come into the nautically themed cafe-style restaurant. It's small and a little cramped, if truth be told. …