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St Tudno Hotel, Llandudno THE FACTS THE BILL Pint lager PS4.30 Glass wine PS3.35 2 table d'hote meals; taste TEST.

AS you would expect from a popular seaside resort, Llandudno has a great variety of eating places at all price levels - take your pick from fast food outlets, exotic Asian takeaways to haute cuisine establishments.

One that came highly recommended was the family owned and run St Tudno Hotel and restaurant, a member of the Welsh Rarebits Hotels of Distinction group, which is beautifully located on North Parade, close to the pier and beach.

Not only has this luxurious boutique hotel won numerous awards for everything from its food, wines and traditional Welsh afternoon tea, but it also has a fascinating Victorian link to Alice Liddell , the real life inspiration for Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland - and I have a copy of the 1861 Census to prove it.

It's said that the early bird catches the juiciest worms, so with that in mind my husband Hugh and I decided to Taste Test the hotel's table d'hote dinner, which operates between 5.30pm and 7pm and is priced at PS22.50 for two courses and PS27.50 for three courses.

There is greater choice on the a la carte menu, but expect to pay considerably more for a meal for two.

Our evening began in leisurely style as we ordered drinks and food in the cosy red-walled bar lounge, which was a picture of Victorian charm and had lovely views across the bay. Both of us decided to go for two courses - a main and sweet for me and starter and main for hubby.

A nice touch was the hot cheesy canapes accompanying Hugh's pint of Carlsberg lager and my glass of crisp South African Chenin Blanc.

A few minutes later Steve, who that evening was front of house cum waiter, ushered us into the spacious Terrace Restaurant, where several couples were already dining.

Full of Italian style and colour, with elaborate floral chandeliers hanging from the tented ceiling and large murals of Lake Como extending the length of the walls, the room had a sunny Mediterranean ambience and I could almost hear waves lapping against the shore.

It wasn't long before Hugh's starter arrived - a generous bowl of cream of cauliflower soup, Caerphilly cheese, toasted almonds and oil, accompanied by a hot crusty roll.

"Really nice," enthused my husband, happily tucking in. "The soup is thick and creamy and has an excellent flavour."

As this was a fine dining experience we were then offered glasses of lemon sorbet to clear the palate, which were politely refused.

The choices of main course included chicken, fish, pork and a vegetarian dish. But if you selected medallions of Welsh beef fillet there was a PS7.50 supplement, while Great Orme lobster thermidor required 24 hours notice and a PS20 supplement.

Hugh opted for duo of Conwy valley pork - slices of tenderloin and stuffed belly, with black pudding fritter, apple and sage.

The food was very tasty and artistically presented on a large square plate, but I thought the meat content was rather small. However, as the soup had been filling, Hugh declared himself quite satisfied.

I was very hungry by this time, but my choice of baked loin of haddock, chowder of Conwy mussels, Anglesey scallops, leeks, white wine and kale ticked all the right boxes.

Perfectly cooked with an abundance of succulent mussels, it needed nothing extra. No complaints there.

My dessert was equally good - a tangy portion of apple tart fine served with Madagascan vanilla ice cream and fresh pouring cream.

We finished our meals in the bar lounge with coffee and petits fours where we met Martin Bland, St Tudno's affable owner and learned that Alice Liddell, who was the daughter of Henry George Liddell, dean of Christ Church, Oxford, first came to Llandudno on holiday with her family in 1861 when she was eight years old.

The Liddell family and their servants resided at Tudno Villa Apartments, which today is the St Tudno Hotel , the only remaining property in the resort with such an illustrious connection - no wonder that it attracts 'Alice' enthusiasts from all over the world.

In fact the hotel is a member of the Lewis Carroll Society and part of the Alice trail, which is taking place this year.

Fast forward to 1972 when Martin Bland and his late wife Janette bought the property, that was then an empty convalescent home.

Over the first 10 years the couple transformed it into a delightful 18-bed roomed seafront hotel and since then it has gone from strength to strength, with customer satisfaction a main priority.

The Blands bought the house next door and built a new multi award winning restaurant that currently holds two AA rosettes.

Head chef Andy Foster and his team are passionate about sourcing the best local Welsh produce and provide a frequently changing seasonal menu that is an eclectic mix of European and Welsh cuisine, complemented by an extensive wine list.

Open to non residents for lunch and dinner, the restaurant's early bird menu is very popular, especially with theatregoers who come for a pre-theatre dinner.

If however you want to blow the budget, then I would imagine the a la carte menu really does provide a taste of Wonderland!

JULIE RICHARDS-WILLIAMS THE FACTS THE BILL Pint lager PS4.30 Glass wine PS3.35 2 table d'hote meals PS45 2 coffees PS7.50 Total PS60.15THE BILL Open The restaurant is open daily for lunch and dinner.

Table d'hote 12noon-1.45pm. 5.30pm-7pm.

Welsh afternoon tea served 2.30pm - 5.30pm.

From 3pm on Sunday. Service Attentive, friendly and helpful Parking Private car park and garage.

Free permits available for parking on road Disabled Access downstairs but a few steps to entrance.

Overall Excellent choice of food at all price ranges.

Warm informal atmosphere ? St Tudno Hotel, North Parade, Promenade, Llandudno, LL30 2LP Telephone 01492 874411


On Parade: The family-owned St Tudno Hotel in Llandudno
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Publication:Daily Post (Conwy, Wales)
Date:Apr 5, 2014
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