Few railway stations have a café like the Cleddau Café. We paid a visit and met its manager and cook Kay Davies.
If you love a hearty cooked breakfast or a home-made pie or curry, the Cleddau Café at Haverfordwest Railway Station is not to be missed. The cosy café, set right by the entrance to the station, overlooking the platform, is a far cry from your typical station snack stop.
You can expect a warm welcome from Kay Davies, who is also the fantastic cook behind the ever-changing menu. Typical home-made specials include chilli con carne with rice and chips, cottage pie, chicken and leek pie, pasties, and curries. Kay loves making sweet treats too, so don’t miss her home-made cakes and apple cream turnovers.
The café also does a roaring trade in all-day breakfasts, breakfast rolls, and sandwiches – and you can get an excellent cappuccino, latte or Americano to go with it.
Kay has worked in the café for many years – initially for seven years under the previous owner, when it was called the Platform One Diner. Then, after a brief break, she returned to work for the new owner, Wayne Lewis, who changed its name to Cleddau Café to fit with Cleddau Cabs, which he also owns.
With Wayne’s approval, Kay acquired an oven that enabled her to offer an array of home-made specials alongside the ongoing breakfast options.
“Fortunately I’m a morning person – I’m here at 6.30 every morning to open at 7 for people catching the 7.15 train,” she says.
The café remains open until 2pm each day to cater for lunch customers as well as people wanting a hot breakfast.
“We have a lot of regulars,” says Kay. “There are lots who work in Carmarthen or Swansea, so they get to train every morning. We also have a lot of stag and hen dos who are here to catch and train the Cardiff.”
From Haverfordwest you can travel by rail south to Milford Haven and west to Swansea, Cardiff, and beyond. The first train east leaves at 6.10, followed by one at 7.15 and then every two hours at quarter past the hour.
“I meet a variety of different nationalities every day – people from Japan, Australia, New Zealand and lot of people from London, including agency nurses who have been working at Withybush hospital,” says Kay.
Occasionally things get very busy – it’s not unusual for a group of 20 people to turn up all wanting a cooked breakfast at the same time.
“When that happens, I’m glad to have help from my colleagues Demi, my granddaughter Alicia, and Demi’s mum Tara, who also comes in to help out when we get busy,” says Kay.
Not that she minds being busy – in fact, that’s when she’s in her element.
“The cooking is the best thing about this job,” she says. “I love doing it.”