Monday, 16 March 2009

Wale of a Time

THE boy and I enjoyed a much-needed mini adventure to North Wales at the weekend.
I haven't been to that part of the world since I was a tot and it was a joy to return.
We had the privilege of staying in The Quay Hotel and Spa, only the second five star hotel in Wales, situated just outside the picturesque walled town of Conwy.
When I told a friend where we were headed for, he said, 'You must try Conwy mussels. They are amazing'.
I couldn't wait, and was delighted to see that Conwy mussels made more than just a guest appearance on the hotel's restaurant menu.
We dined there on our second night, salivating over the menu which promised an abundance of delicious local produce from leeks and cheeses to seafood and beef.
Thankfully the chef displayed sensitivity to his ingredients, presenting fresh, flavourful food.
I started with a a fricassee of the aforementioned Conwy mussels, with Angelsey scallops. It was a rich, satisfying dish which showcased the juicy scallops and mussels remarkably well. I can't remember eating sweeter mussels.
The boy tucked into his French onion soup topped with a Parmesan crouton, but admitted it wasn't a patch on my entree. I had to agree.
However, he was delighted that his main course of halibut was served atop a similar mussel-rich broth to my starter, with the addition of morsels of smoked bacon rather than scallops. He said the creamed leeks added further depth of flavour.
Seeing as Mr meetandtwoveg had snatched my main course first choice I opted for the baked cod with crushed new potatoes and a white wine sauce and was in no way disappointed.
The cod was flakily translucent, complimented by the parsley-dotted sauce, salted potatoes and firm asparagus spears.
By the time the dessert menus appeared, I was struggling, but not wishing to miss out I chose passionfruit sorbet, while the other half selected the warm ginger sponge with lemon icecream and toffee sauce.
His pud looked like a work of art, and he enjoyed it so much I had to stop him licking the plate (only so I could clean up the dregs of toffee sauce myself!) Meanwhile my sorbet was sweet, syrupy and yet still refreshing.
We were also impressed by the hotel breakfast and the boy delighted in the selection of cured meats and local cheeses, with homemade breads, while I tucked into fruits and bircher muesli. There's also a cooked selection including award-winning local pork sausages.
As well as enjoying our idyllic hotel surroundings we ventured out to the nearby towns of Conwy and Llandudno. Conwy, in particular, offered many foodie treats and in its one main shopping street had a fantastic butcher, artisan bread shop, chocolatier and cheese shop. There was also a fair few cafes and restaurants, proudly showcasing their local produce.
Next time I don't think I'll leave a return visit so long.
For more details on The Quay Hotel and Spa visit

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