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Humble pie never tasted so good; FIRST LOOK: Tom Davidson samples much-maligned Porth Eirias.

ALOT has been written about celebrity chef Bryn Williams' residence at Porth Eirias, much of it by myself while a reporter covering Colwyn Bay.

Announced by First Minister Carwyn Jones in September 2013, I stood in what-is-now the kitchen with Bryn nearly two years ago as he laid out his vision for the eaterie and excitedly said it would be open by Christmas that year.

Sadly the date came and went, along with other planned opening dates.

Since then the building has remained largely empty and come in for considerable criticism from the local population.

You cannot blame Bryn - a Great British Menu winner - for such a lengthy delay. Conwy Council have admitted themselves they took on the Porth Eirias venture without a proper business plan, simply because the European money was available.

But earlier this year there was the first signs of movement at the bistro as tables, chairs and other fittings started to arrive.

On Monday and Tuesday this week there was a soft launch for family and friends of the staff. Then on Wednesday afternoon, with little-tono fanfare the restaurant opened.

In a brief tweet they announced food would be served 9am-to-9pm 7 days a week.

Having written so much about the delays I could not resist a visit as soon as possible to see if it was worth the wait.

Walking into the PS3.9m complex, I was struck by just how much had changed in the three months since I was last peering around the building.

With a tasteful postmodern edge the seaside-themed decor is immaculate.

The exposed light fittings and rustic edge in keeping with the buildings controversial outer appearance (it was nominated for an ugliest building in Britain award not long after it was completed).

With a restaurant roughly a third full, one staff member tells me the phone has been off the hook with reservations since word got out.

The breakfast menu, served from 9am-to-12pm, contains all the classics - from light bites such as croissants or pain au chocolate, to eggs benedict or even, if you were feeling brave at that time of the morning, rib eye steak with a fried egg.

Despite my large appetite I settled for the scrambled eggs on toast with smoked salmon - a classic.

When I spoke to Bryn, from Denbigh, in September 2013 he said he would be a hands-on chef and was looking forward to manning the hobs in the kitchen.

He's a man of his word, with the acclaimed-chef keeping a watchful eye on his charges and putting the finishing touches to my scrambled eggs.

As the food arrived I thought to myself how long I had waited to be eating food in the restaurant. Some taxing mental arithmetic (and a calculator) put it at 660 days. The meal was so good it almost felt worth the wait.

The eggs were creamy with dashings of salmon littered throughout, along with three hefty slices of the delicious fish next to the lightly toasted bread. No salt on pepper on the table but none was required with the food expertly seasoned.

A touch pricey perhaps at PS6.95 but this was a high-quality meal.

Although it was more than sufficient my temptation got the better of me and I had to sample something from the day menu (served from 12pm to 9pm). Crispy salt and pepper squid with Hollandaise sauce (PS3.95) seemed the obvious choice.

If the scrambled egg was good, the squid was even better.

Not overly chewy and full of flavour it was seafood bliss with plenty of sauce to go with the rings of squid. Another clean plate.

Teething problems in such early days are expected. Menai oysters, on the menu, weren't available as they were yet to be delivered and the Porth Eirias fish pie "wasn't quite ready" according to one of the very attentive waiters.

A group next to me also sent two of their croissants back to the kitchen.

But for me the food, and the service, was first rate, with the staff attentive and relaxed - especially considering the pressure they must be under to match up to the sterling food.

Bryn and the bistro may be fighting a battle to get the public onside, but with food as good as this it will be one he'll win.

Humble pie never tasted so good.

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Scrambled | eggs and salmon and salt & pepper squid at Bryn Williams' Porth Eirias
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Publication:Daily Post (Conwy, Wales)
Date:Jul 4, 2015
Words:740
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