North Wales Life Luncheon - The Dining Room, Llanrhaeadr Springs
- Credit: Archant
The Dining Room at Llanrhaeadr Springs in the Vale of Clwyd, was the perfect setting for a North Wales Life lunch, writes Rebekka O’Grady
Tucked away in the village of Llanrhaeadr is a rather special place: a place of relaxation, luxury and now fine dining. And Cheshire Life staff and guests enjoyed a delightful luncheon here.
Llanrhaeadr Springs, a spa and wedding venue, opened in August last year. This May they added a restaurant, The Dining Room. ‘We’ve been fully booked in the restaurant since opening,’ smiled owner Harry Barker.
They are also planning five custom made ‘shepherd huts’, adding an element of accomodation alongside their 15th century bridal suite, The Dovecot.
‘Through the week we will be offering breakfast and lunch, but on a Friday and Saturday we really want to build an exclusive clientele who enjoy fine dining. On these two days we will open for one sitting for evening meals, as we don’t want that element of feeling like you’re being rushed off your table.’
The Dining Room is housed in the old stable blocks of the 15th century Coach House. It took 13 weeks to complete and the result is a beautifully designed restaurant – which wouldn’t look out of place in The Hamptons.
As they sipped on a glass of Botter Raboso Rose prosecco, which was provided along with the table wine by Halls Wine Merchants, guests commented on the stunning venue. Tasty canapés were served – the first sign of the delicious food to come from head chef Kelvin Parry and his team.
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Kelvin, who co-owns the restaurant with Harry, boasts over 15 years’ experience in various kitchens in North Wales and Chester. One of his recent ventures before taking the helm of The Dining Room was working at the Michelin starred Simon Radley at The Chester Grosvenor. Kelvin describes Simon as his biggest inspiration, next to Ross Melling. The award-winning chef from St Asaph now aims to bring a new dimension of dining to the Vale of Clwyd.
‘Good, honest food is what I want to push here. I am not interested in cooking for guides; I want to cook for my clientele. All the food is sourced locally or certainly from Wales, and the feedback so far has been brilliant. The dish we are cooking for you today is a whole pig, and I really enjoy using it all and changing perceptions,’ said Kelvin.
Our first course was a refreshing summer salad, which consisted of whipped Pantysgawn goats’ cheese, beetroot, fennel, pickled bay vegetables and chive oil. The cheese was soft, creamy and salty, which was then contrasted by the tartness of the beetroot. Dehydrated beetroot added another texture to the dish.
Speaking to Kelvin I already had a taste of what was to come for the main course, and it certainly surpassed everyone’s expectations. Celtic Pride pork loin, shredded shoulder, braised belly, sticky cheek and crackling bits were served with crushed baby potatoes, carrots and Wye Valley asparagus.
All of the pork, which was provided by Castle Howell Foods, was beautifully cooked and succulent. The portion size of each element was just enough to enjoy every flavour without being bombarded with meat. The star of the show was the cheek, which was superbly tender and fell apart as you touched it.
For dessert a fruity mango panna cotta with passion fruit sorbet was presented, alongside a mango and bergamot macaroon and a playful touch of popping candy. The light panna cotta tasted delicious with the sweet mango sauce, but the passion fruit sorbet was the standout part of the dish.
The perfect palate cleanser, the sorbet was refreshing and sharp.
To finish - as if we weren’t already bowled over by the three courses - we enjoyed a selection of European cheeses, stilton, brie and black bomber, served with chutney and biscuits.
The Dining Room seems set to make a name for itself as the destination for excellent food in the Vale of Clwyd. If the buzz from guests at this lunch was anything to go by, Harry, Kelvin and the team will be seeing a few familiar faces again soon.
From the menu:
Smoked salmon, lemon crème fraiche, caviar en croute
Chorizo in tempura
Sundried tomato and mozzarella lollipops
Summer salad: Whipped pantysgawn goats cheese, beetroot, fennel, pickled bay vegetables, chive oil
Tasting of pork: Celtic pride pork loin, shredded shoulder, braised belly, sticky cheek, crackling bits, crushed baby potatoes, carrots, Wye Valley asparagus
Mango panna cotta, passion fruit sorbet, mango and bergamot macaroon
Selection of European cheeses: stilton, brie, black bomber, chutney and biscuits
Botter Raboso Rose
Vintners Collection Chilean Sauvignon Blanc
Vintners Collection Cabernet Sauvignon
Llanrhaeadr Springs, Stable Yard, Llanrhaeadr, LL16 4NL
Tel: 01745 775751, www.springs-spa.co.uk
Tuesday - Saturday: Breakfast and lunch, 8am – 4pm
Friday - Saturday: A la Carte menu, 6pm – 9pm
Sunday: 12pm – 3pm (Sunday lunch menu only)
Dinner: Starters from £4.95, mains from £14.95, desserts all £6.95