Kay Taylor enjoys a night away from it all in Wales.
The food was certainly the Michelin star of the show when my partner and I visited Tyddyn Llan in North Wales for a night away.
Described as a “restaurant with rooms”, it was the perfect choice for a couple of foodies looking for a weekend break.
Situated in the little village of Llandrillo, which from what we could gather had just one pub and lots of farms, the popular restaurant is in a quiet, secluded location.
We relaxed in our bright, airy room for a little while, wearing the cosy bath robes and slippers as we browsed the largest wine list I’ve ever seen, and had a look through the recommendations of days out in the nearby area.
The award-winning wine list is 35 pages long with an extensive choice of sparkling, red, white, rosé and sweet, listed by wine region.
I enjoyed reading the descriptions and being amazed at some of the prices which were way above our budget, but in the end we agreed on sharing a bottle of 2008 Rioja Crianza, at £34.
One perk which I liked the sound of was the option to call from your room and request the bottle be opened and placed on your table in advance, to allow it to ‘breathe’ for a few hours.
We decided not to though, and wandered down to the lounge area to enjoy a few pre-dinner drinks.
Sat in one of the seating areas, with its country manor-style decor, the silence was extremely noticeable – but a welcome change.
An hour or so later though and the space started to fill up with couples and parties arriving for their evening meals.
While we perused the food menu, we were all treated to a selection of canapés (served individually to each couple) to whet our appetites.
They were devoured by my partner and I, and built up the anticipation of eating in our first Michelin-starred restaurant, which has also earned a high rating in the 2014 Good Food Guide.
We’d ordered our Rioja as we chose our food in the lounge, and it was waiting for us at one of the tables in the relatively small and intimate restaurant.
More surprises were to follow as we were presented with a small bowl of pea and mint soup, which we hadn’t ordered, but everyone in the restaurant seemed to get the same. It came with a selection of freshly-made bread and butter, which was delicious.
For our starters, my partner and I had both opted for a warm langoustine and scallop salad, which was refreshing and tasty.
The scallops were particularly succulent.
For my main course, I decided to try pigeon breast in a wild mushroom sauce (more like a gravy than a thick steak-style sauce), served with new potatoes, peas and cabbage.
I’ve never had pigeon before, and the waitress recommended I have it pink, which was a good tip.
It was the best meal I’ve ever had, with the moist pigeon really hitting the spot.
My partner had fillet steak with gratin dauphinois (dauphinoise potatoes) and other vegetables.
He too was incredibly impressed, and said the steak (served more rare than medium as he requested) was the best he’d ever had.
The meals certainly packed a punch, and the Rioja got better with each mouthful, able to stand up to the fullness of the food.
For dessert, I chose a steamed ginger pudding with custard, and my partner had a strawberry shortcake dish, which we both thoroughly enjoyed, despite not normally having a sweet tooth.
The accommodation was clean and comfortable – although wasn’t quite as impressive as the lavish dining room – but having a bed to crawl into in the same building as the restaurant was a welcome novelty.
The next morning, we had a full Welsh breakfast and smoked salmon with scrambled egg respectively, along with fruits, yogurt, toast and cereals.
We spoke to some fellow guests who were planning a day out in the area, and although we didn’t agree that there is much within walking distance from Tyddyn Llan, a short drive will take you to castles, monuments and walks around Snowdonia.
The restaurant’s website explains that guided walks can be arranged with the local qualified guide as well.