Let Lloose at Llys Meddyg

November 20, 2009

Charles and I squeezed two chefs (Griffin and Gurnard’s Head), a General Manager (The Griffin’s Julie) and two of our Gurnards front of house team into the cars and motored off to West Wales earlier this week to see how things work differently elsewhere.  We rarely find time in the year to go away together as a management group and our first lull in Cornwall since February seemed a good moment.

Lunch at Y Polyn five minutes east of Carmarthen.  Aside from your author, who had mixed latte and lemonade with his breakfast ham sandwich and spent the rest of the day off his food, we ate well in one of Wales’ most agreeable restaurants.  A Hot Pot was top of the pops (pot of the pots?) with a mention in dispatches for Jonathan Carthew’s Black Mountain’s smoked salmon.  Y Polyn  (www.ypolynrestaurant.com) deserves all of its accolades.

Then northwestwards through sodden lanes to Newport on Cardiganshire’s north coast. 

Llys Meddwg (www.llysmeddyg.com) was the scene for an idyllic child-free summer weekend for your author and merited a return visit with the team.  Essentially a restaurant with eight bedrooms, it is the four year old brainchild of Ed and Louise Sykes.  Bedrooms are fabulous value with proper bathrooms.  Supper cooked beautifully by chef Scott Davis and eaten in the basement dining room which Ed had inspirationally dug out from the original cellar.  Thanks to Ed and Louise for the kind of hosting we would like to think we offer our guests when at the top of our game.  And patience to match as some unnamed members of our troop decided to make the most of their day release.

Back via the perfect circular walk of the Dinas Cross peninsula (www.dinascross.org.uk) and its vertigo inducing cliffs and a tour around Penpont’s eye-wateringly expansive kitchen garden (www.penpont.com), the source of those herbs and salads that we cannot source in our own garden. 

Although the trip would have made an excellent VisitWales advertisement by itself, a simply outstanding supper at the Griffin at the end of the day reminded us that we have much to be proud of ourselves in Felin Fach.

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Holy chickens

November 13, 2009

After a false start, The Griffin now has a full coop.  Eight eager chickens under the stewardship of Kitchen number 2, Ross Bruce.  While he bravely patrols the fence keeping them safe from Mr Fox, they will be laying the yellowest of eggs for your breakfast.  I’m not quite sure that it is any more than economically marginal, but it just feels right.

Just as it feels right to have our own kitchen garden.  It can never make more than a dent in the fruit and greenery requirements of our kitchen, but there is something very special about seeing peas or strawberries harvested and walked mere yards to our kitchen’s back door.  And as we are all beginning to understand, the taste of many of these freshly picked foods is incomparably better.

It’s quiet in the garden at this time of year, but we have a full crop of Jerusalem artichokes and four beds of sensational leeks about to come out of the ground.  And it’s such a pleasure now to have a kitchen team who are so receptive to what comes out of the garden.  Hats off to Joe.

One of our fowl new friends