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Apr 17, 2014 09:43 AM

[Llandrillo, Denbighshire] Tyddyn Llan

When a place describes itself as a “restaurant with rooms”, rather than a “hotel with Michelin starred restaurant”, you know that food is at the centre of the operation. We’d booked an overnight deal, which got us a lovely room, bara brith & Welsh cakes with tea on arrival and a very decent “full Welsh” in the morning. And, in between, three courses from the dinner menu.

There were good canapés – a gougere was memorable. And an amuse bouche of asparagus soup was bang for seasonality and flavour.

Asparagus also featured in my starter. Still just with a bit of bite to it, it was perfect for dunking in the crispy duck egg. The egg must be tricky to get right – presumably boiled and peeled, it’s breadcrumbed and fried. Delish! As was the scattering of morels which decorated the plate, along with some watercress.

Dressed crab and langoustine was the other very restrained starter. Clean flavours here, enhanced with a fennel salad and pea shoots. Another winner that was helped down with the lovely bread that had come in the basket.

That was followed by a main course that needs to have little more said about it than to give the menu description – “roast turbot, with leek risotto, red wine sauce”. It did exactly what it said on the tin – everything perfectly cooked, everything doing what it should do.

I’d had a big lunch and had intended to show something of restraint with my ordering but a plate of local organic piggy was impossible to resist. There was long braised cheek which I’d have happily eaten just on its own. There was a little fillet, just cooked through. There was a breaded trotter. And there was belly and black pudding. Now this was something of a culinary work of art. The belly had been roasted. It had then been cut into its layers; black pudding had been interleaved and it had then been reassembled. And, as you’d hope, there was perfectly crisp crackling. Also on the plate, a fondant potato, some apple puree and a good savoury sauce.

For desserts, one order of prune and mascarpone ice cream which was rich and fruity. And one order of rhubarb and champagne jelly trifle which was all sweet, fruity and boozy in every mouthful.

We took coffee in the lounge. It came with petit fours which, truth be told, were not that brill. But that was the only minor criticism that I’d make of the evening. Everything else was bang-on. It’s a menu of food that just makes sense. There’s no fancy foams nor technology getting in the way of flavour. And service, from the two young women, was entirely right for the place – approachable but “proper” if you know what I mean. However, it’s a dining room without much atmosphere – OK, there weren’t that many tables occupied but you felt that, like everyone else, you had to speak in hushed whispers but, other than that, we liked it there.

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  1. It all sounds really lovely. The asparagus and duck egg starter , pig and the prune ice cream I'd absolutely order.
    Planning on doing Snowden soon so may have to make a detour.

    Hope you got cockles and lava bread with your breakfast.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Paprikaboy

      No cockles but there was a laver "ball". I think the seaweed was just mixed with oats and fried.

    2. I learn a lot of geography by following your postings! This sounds lovely. If we get to Llandudno again, this could be a good place to stop by.

      3 Replies
      1. re: zuriga1

        Really glad you liked it Harters. Can't wait to go back for some R&R!

        1. re: zuriga1

          HI June & Harters next time you are in the walled town of Conwy, try Watson's Bistro. We had the most amazing home fish (cod, in light & crispy beer batter) with delish home made chips. Saturday lunchtime courses - 2 for £11. Fantastic value for money.

          1. re: DietStartsTomorrow

            Thanks for that, DST. Nice looking lunch menu - like the sound of burger topped with Welsh rarebit. Although it seemed odd to have them describe their chips as salt and vinegar flavoured - surely all chips are salt & vinegar flavoured! But eleven quid sounds a bargain.

        2. I'll make some more mention of the lovely service which was not at all "up their own arse" as can occur in some Michelin places. And good to get a sense of Tyddan Llan's employment policies. Certainly good enough to have retained one of the servers for five years, while the other is the daughter of the village shop owners. All makes for a relaxing visit.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Harters

            Yes, the daughter of the village shop owner who went walkabout while we were there! There'd been some mix up with shifts so the hotel were calling the shop lady while we were there and there was panic throughout Llanfair! She'd been in bed :)