We are enthusiastic regulars at Hilary and Iain By the Sea; a compact and bijou, and refreshingly unpretentious, coastal cafe-bistro-restaurant with amazing views in Ogmore by Sea. Why do we love it? Well, what can I say? We’ve eaten in some of the finest Michelin Starred restaurants all over the UK and, whilst we’ve enjoyed those experiences very much, we don’t feel that you can beat good old-fashioned home cooking and, in our humble opinion, there’s no better than Hilary and Iain’s.
We’ve always gone there for Sunday lunch as our Saturday’s are pretty much taken up with running our 21-year-old son around with his job and boxing and, being the wrong side of 57, we’re usually too exhausted in the evenings to go out. Plus, during lockdown it’s been difficult to eat out anywhere. Now that we have a bit more time on our hands though (thank you Covid!), we are going to go there one evening to try out their evening menu. Apparently, Hilary’s famous Creamy Garlic Mushrooms are legendary as are Iain’s steaks with peppercorn sauce.
Back to our Sunday lunch visit. Hilary and Iain had worked hard to make the restaurant Covid friendly with plastic screens dividing each table. What I liked though, given that the restaurant has a seaside theme, is that the dividers were made to look like cabanas with the obligatory plastic dividing screens separating tables and then clear shower screens dividing the tables from the bar area. It all looks beachy and cool! The sort of place you’d hope you’d find if you were visiting Cornwall. Cornwall’s loss.
We always order the same meals, lamb for me and hubby and beef for our son Jack. The veg consisted of roasties, parsnips and stuffing balls (perfectly crispy), cabbage and carrots (perfectly al dente) and cauliflower cheese (perfectly cheesy). The Yorkshires were both soft on the inside and crunchy on the outside according to the boys and, even though Iain was extremely busy in the kitchen, he even went out of his way to make me my gluten free gravy and a gluten free version of Yorkshire pudding (the latter was as fluffy as a cloud).
The portions are so generous that we couldn’t fit in a dessert, which is not like hubby as he normally indulges in Hilary’s bread and butter pudding. This is no ordinary bread and butter pudding mind you, this is Hilary’s bread and butter pudding, full of fruit and more than a splash of something alcoholic!
Hilary and Iain’s is a favourite haunt for those in the know and, on a fine day, as it was today, it’s frequented by the cycling community, who take a few of the tables outside and enjoy their coffee and cake or filled baguettes.
The meals are plentiful and affordable.
Dogs are welcome both outside and inside (inside, if they are well behaved and can stay under the table).
As you can see here, I can’t say enough good things about Hilary and Iain’s. Maybe all that I have left out is how much respect we have for the couple. They are so hard working and all they want is for their customers to go away happy with their food and experience. During Covid it’s been even harder for them to open in the first place, comply with all of the regulations and keep themselves, their staff and their customers safe, whilst still offering the same quality of food and service they always have.
We’ve happily clapped for the NHS and Care Workers but we should also be clapping for all those equally hard working coffee shop baristas, café and restaurant owners and all those working in the hospitality industry who have been hit hard by this pandemic but who don’t ever ask to be clapped for.
On behalf of all of us in the Vale, we applaud you Hilary and Iain. Keep up the great work.
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