[Conwy] Watson's Bistro


(John Hartley) #1

Watson’s was something of a find. And I mean that almost literally. Tucked away at the end of a yard, behind other properties and away from Conwy’s main drag, you’re unlikely to stumble across the restaurant by accident. In our case, Google was our friend in helping us to find somewhere to eat in town.

It’s one of those places that most folk are going to enjoy. A short menu of dishes that you really want to eat. The sort of food that many good home cooks are likely to boast that they could cook it just as well – but they really know they couldn’t.

Roasted tomato soup did exactly what it said on the tin. Except there’s no tin involved. At least, if there is, it’s a really good product. But this tasted like someone had roasted tomatoes and then made soup with them. A drizzle of olive oil and a scattering of croutons finished it off. A smoked haddock fishcake smelt and tasted of the fish but was a bit gloopy in texture. It sat on some salad leaves and there’s a cheffy smear of aioli to dunk it in.

Main courses were just the sort of generous plates you want to eat on a chilly October night. Lamb (or, as we’re in Wales, should that be llamb) rump was nicely pink. Mashed potatoes were pretty much potatoes mashed – none of the overly sloppy here. And it comes with an array of veg including broccoli, kale, lightly pickled and sweetened red cabbage and punchmep. I had to ask about the latter and was told that it was carrot and swede mashed with fenugreek (must be their own name as Google hits bring you to the restaurant).

From the specials board came very long cooked beef featherblade, breaking into shreds at the touch of a fork. The same veg as before but my companion in life swapped the mash for sauté potatoes.

We’d been very well fed – too well to contemplate dessert, so we just ordered coffee. It was fine but only lukewarm.


(EMLYN WILLIAMS) #2

My God sir - somewhere half decent in Conwy - have you notified the food police ? !


(John Hartley) #3

As you can imagine, we went with low expectations.

Our only previous experience actually in town is Dawsons - the restaurant at the Castle Hotel. Not too bad. But not too good either.


(John Hartley) #4

A disappointing return visit. This wasn’t as good as last time. I’m sure that, if places like Watson’s had more competition in the area, then they’d up their game. As it is…….

There were queenie scallops from the day’s “specials”. They were breaded and fried, the coating doing absolutely nothing for the delicate flavour and texture of the scallops. There was a little lamb’s lettuce, crisp chorizo and diced apple but they did little to lift the dish. The other starter was similarly disappointing. Advertised as mushrooms “en croute”, there was a pastry disc which, oddly, was quite difficult to cut, topped with a few mushrooms in a pleasant enough cream sauce, topped with a poached egg. The egg was the best bit.

Slow cooked shoulder of lamb was one of those “Sunday lunch” plates where all sorts of stuff gets piled on the plate. So, along with a generous portion of meat, there’s well made dauphinoise potato, carrot, broccoli, sweet potato mash (?), kale, lentils and gravy. Whilst it was all OK, some “less is more” would have worked better. Grilled cod was fine. There was fairly sloppy masked potato, carrot and broccoli as the other plate and a sauce that tasted of little other than cream.

We didn’t bother with dessert but coffee was good. It came with some really good clotted cream fudge which may have been the most enjoyable thing I ate all evening.

We’ll probably give Watson’s a miss on future trips to the area.