Three Menai Oysters, A Soft Shelled Crab In Tempura And Crispy Fried Squid

Yes, you’ve guessed it, it’s our third visit to the Abergavenny Food Festival and probably the best yet!  Debbie Emma & I decided to walk into town across Llanfoist bridge and following the road up the hill to the right past the entrance to the temporary parking in Castle Meadows.

Eventually we passed the Tudor gate GP surgery and turned left into the square next to the King’s Arm’s where I noticed a chef outside shucking large oysters from the Menai Straits. I felt obliged to slurp three for £6 as my starter…

My first Welsh oysters!


After passing “Get Together” we then popped into the Blue Cross to say howdy to James where I snapped up for £2 a River Cottage children’s cookbook ready for our future grandkids!

James at work!

After Emma snapped James illegally (he said) with my borrowed SLR we headed towards the market square where Debbie saw the stall for our Christmas dinner and ordered our organic bird from Monmouthshire Turkey farm. Debbie always says this is the beginning of Christmas for her and I agree – another tradition cemented in our psyche.

French onion sellers to the rear…

We then decided to pop into the art shop which I thought was new to Abergavenny but apparently opened 17 years ago, to get Emma a putty rubber, some white shading pencils and spray on fixative for her charcoal drawing efforts.

Feeling thirsty we then headed into the festival proper showing our wristbands on the way in and I headed to a cider stall and tested the dry and medium varieties before ordering a pint of the strong dry for £3.50 which nearly knocked me out as it was quite strong!

Hallets scrumpy hic!

Next we went to a Wasabi stall where I tasted for the first time the real thing which was quite wet and creamy compared to the dyed green horseradish you get normally with your supermarket sushi. Very nice but by now Emma was feeling peckish so a visit to a £5 a portion vegetarian stall quickly followed for a fried “thingy” made out of chickpeas, chilli, onion and other unidentifiable ingredients which I have to admit was very tasty.

After making our way through the market hall and back out into the high street we tasted a few morsels of brownie but decided to continue on to the Priory, where I hit the jackpot with my favourite soft shelled crab in tempura batter with mayo and sweet chilli sauce…

Soft shelled crab mmmmm….

Making our way back into town we stopped off at two jewellery shops where Emma got a pair of Totoro earrings and at “Ethnic Elegance” in Monk Street some incense sticks to burn!

Carrying on up past the Angel Hotel we made our way to the Castle where an open fire cooking demonstration was in full swing using a lobster, monkfish tail and scallops with a small glass of complimentary lager dished out to refresh the parts that others couldn’t…


Alas I spied some crispy deep fried squid on offer at “The Audacious Squid” stall while Emma spied another close by with three people making vegetarian versions of crispy duck wrapped in seaweed in a kind of assembly line.  Delicious both were I have to admit although I was pleased not to share my seafood to my everlasting shame!


I think this is Emma’s veggie crispy duck!

Popping into see James again we decided to treat mam with a Cafe Nero fruit pot and decaf Americano, before walking slowly back home with just a brief diversion into Waitrose before it closed.

All in all probably the best festival we’ve had since our “escape” just over two years ago!



Three Menai Oysters, A Soft Shelled Crab In Tempura And Crispy Fried Squid

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