Thursday, 8 January 2015

A Food-Heavy Few Days in Wales

This year my boyfriend and I decided to spend New Years in Wales. There were two reasons for this - the first and obvious one being that WE HEART WALES and the second being that then we already had an in-built excuse for any dreadful-sounding New Year celebrations we were invited to. So, once we had decided this was the plan there was only really one place we would stay in - The Corran hotel. I visited it earlier in the year with my mum for the day and used the spa and restaurant, and after being shown around some of the rooms I knew that I would have to come back to have a snooze there.

As we live pretty far away, we decided to drive up the day before we were due to check-in and stay somewhere cheap nearby so as to not waste one of our official holiday-days in the car. We chose the travelodge in Llanelli (Llanelli Cross Hands) and I don't know if it's been recently done-up but it was super clean and comfortable and cleverly laid-out and I would deffo stay there again if we did something similar in the future.

Anyway! I had, of course, done my research as to where we should eat that night, and after doing some googling it seemed that if we could only go to one place then it had to be Sosban Restaurant by the docks. We drove up and were instantly impressed - the restaurant is inside a huge old building (I think probably something to do with the dock when it was fully-operational) and I guess might not be to everyone's tastes (why?) but I loved it. They were still running their Christmas menu, which was around £20 for two courses, and I chose soup for starters and lamb for mains. The soup was butternut squash and parmesan and - no lie - it was one of the best soups I have ever had in my life. So utterly creamy and delicious, and went perfectly with the (homemade?) bread that accompanied it. I practically licked the bowl clean (I probably would have if it was too awkward a shape to get my head into). My lamb was equally tasty, tasting exactly like how lamb from Wales should taste - strong and fragrant and tender. I can't say I know a huge amount about the restaurant scene in Llanelli (I expect it's not huge) but next time I'm in the area there will be no research required.

The next morning we headed off towards Laugharne, making a little detour to Llanarthne for breakfast at Wright's Food Emporium. We had both eaten here before on our previous visit to the area and were excited to return. We both went for breakfast baps - mine with bacon and black pudding (picture on my twitter) and his with bacon and black pudding and also sausage. Exactly what we needed to refuel and do some more driving. This is such a gem for the area and seemed pretty busy with local customers. I know that if I lived nearby I would be spending most of my weekends breakfasting here. Probably best that I don't, then.

We then carried on our detour trail for a quick stop at Carmarthen to pop in to the market to pick up a couple of food bits. As it was between Christmas and New Year a lot wasn't open yet, but from the butchers to the right of the entrance we picked up scotch eggs ("these are lush they are"), corned beef roulettes and welsh cakes.

After all that food-based fannying around we headed to The Corran and were shown to our room. We were staying in room 4 in the main house and coincidentally were in one of the rooms I was shown around (and loved) when I visited back in the summer. The rooms are utterly lush. They're split into three sections - one for the bathroom, one for the bedroom, and one for the living area. It was such a novelty to be in a hotel room but actually have loads of space, and not have to sit on the bed 100% of the time. We spent the afternoon wandering / clambering up hills around Pendine, and then headed back for dinner. After a prosecco / beer in the bar we ordered our food and wandered through to the restaurant and took our seats. The restaurant is an absolute delight - one wall is floor to ceiling windows so in the summer the light in there is just amazing. In the evening the lights inside against the night sky make for a wonderfully atmospheric dining room. We had decided not to do anything fancy on NYE itself and instead have a nice meal the night before, so we allowed ourselves to indulge with our food choices. I went with roasted squash, hazelnut and parmesan risotto to start and pheasant and duck for main, whereas the other half opted for scallops and then lamb. Everything was cooked to perfection and beautifully presented, and the waiters were all on the top of their game. It was a bit pricey due to the time of year, but I'm pretty sure they usually have a set menu available for the evening.

We also had breakfast twice and afternoon tea once during our stay, both of which were tasty and with plenty of variety (including local options). As it was NYE when we had the afternoon tea they were doing it slightly differently to when I had visited before, and had all the options out on a table for you to help yourself. Although I was initially dubious about this it actually worked really well as it meant I could scoff as much food as I liked without everyone knowing that I had asked for seconds and thirds and fourths.

The Corran is going to make its way into my top five hotels. It's such a relaxing environment, the staff are all totally professional and it's in such a beautiful area. The food we had was all interesting and delicious and I didn't eat anything I wouldn't eat again. The whole trip was full of well-chosen food options (thanks me!) and, in fact, I think I might just repeat the exact trip again in the future.

On our way home I scoffed my scotch egg from the market and the butcher hadn't lied, it was totally lush.

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