‘Bryn Williams at Porth Eirias’ in Colwyn Bay, North Wales
Bryn Dwyfor Williams is a chef originally from Denbigh, Wales. He is the head chef and sole proprietor of Odette’s Restaurant, Primrose Hill, London. In 2006, he was thrust into the limelight as a sous chef by beating well known, established chefs on the television programme ‘The Great British Menu’; winning the honour of cooking the fish course for the Queen’s 80th birthday celebrations.
He is now widely regarded as one of Wales’ best chefs and one of Britain’s “celebrity” chefs. In June 2015, he opened his new bistro – Bryn Williams at Porth Eirias – in a water sports centre on the sea shore in the North Wales town of Colwyn Bay.
Lunch Set Menu
The sommelier’s wine choice was The Bulletin Zinfandel Rose but we selected a prosecco instead.
Bel Star Prosecco N.V. from the edge of the Northern Veneto prosecco region.
It has a fruity, floral bouquet and very delicate hint of green pear and tart apple alongside firm acidity.
Beetroot, Perl Las, Basil
In case you’re wondering, ‘Perl Las’ means ‘Blue Pearl’ in Welsh and describes a blue cheese, golden in colour, with a creamy, gently salty taste made by Carwyn Adams of ‘Caws Cenarth’ near Cardigan, in the heart of West Wales. In Welsh, ‘caws’ means ‘cheese’ and ‘Caws Cenarth’ is ‘Fromagerie Cenarth’.
The lightly pickled sweet beetroot was a good counterpoint to the salty deep-fried cheese.
Roast Cod, Curried Mussels, Bacon
Ostensibly a simple dish, Bryn Williams made his fame and fortune on his fish creations so I had high expectations. To this end, the cook of the fish was excellent with crispy skin and just flaking moist flesh. Bacon and Mussels are classic partners to fried fish but a curried sauce had yet to justify itself.
It was actually not overpowering and I could still taste the cod and mussels. As the bacon was already salty, the sauce was at the edge of being too well seasoned but the potato cubes in the sauce saved the day.
When possible, they use fruit and vegetables from the kitchen garden.
Lavender Panna Cotta, Honeycomb
Honeycomb is currently fashionable as an element in desserts but it poses a risk. The amount of bicarbonate of soda used is a fine balance between enough for creating the foamy texture in sponge toffee and too much for a bitter chemical taste. It adds a texture element and astringency to balance the sweet panna cotta element.
Here the panna cotta passed the “wobble test” and even had a hint of lavender.
Special of the Day
My partner tried that day’s special – Spring Vegetables Risotto.
Essentially, this was a leek and pea risotto; it is Wales, after all! The national vegetable is the leek.
Competently made, there was adequate starchiness in the ‘crema’ and still some bite in the rice.
We finished off with a gin martini sprinkled with dried flowers and fruit.
Bryn started training under Chef Carl Swift of ‘Café Nicoise’ in Wales before three years with Marco Pierre White at ‘The Criterion’ in London. He was sous chef under the tutelage of Chef Michel Roux Jr at Le Gavroche for a further three years. In 2001, he had a chance to learn at ‘Patisserie Millet’ in Paris, where the Roux family trained before. He went on to work at ‘Hotel Negresco’, a two Michelin-star restaurant in Nice.
Returning to Britain, Bryn worked for four years at the Michelin-starred ‘Orrery Restaurant’ in London, under Chef André Garrett. Following his success on The Great British Menu television series, Bryn was offered the head chef position at ‘Odette’s’. In 2008, Bryn Williams became sole chef-proprietor of Odette’s.
‘Bryn Williams at Porth Eirias’ is the second of his three restaurants.
With Head Chef John Wynne and General Manager David Stephens at the helm, I would rate ‘Bryn Williams at Porth Eirias’ with the AlphaLuxe Three-Tongues Award for the food.
If we took the inexperienced and disinterested waitress into account, that would drop to a Two-Tongues rating.
Author’s Biography: Melvyn Teillol-Foo (MTF)
Dr Melvyn Teillol-Foo is a contributor on AlphaLuxe web-zine.
He is also a moderator on PuristSPro.com horology discussion fora. He blends his scientific medical objectivity from the pharmaceutical industry with purist passion, in his musings about watches, travel, wine, food and other epicurean delights.
His travelogue ‘Lazing’ and feasting ‘Grazing’ series of articles have now passed into “mythic legend” on the original ‘ThePuristS.com’ website. Those were the halcyon days when he was “rich and famous” that he remembers with bittersweet fondness.
Dr Teillol-Foo is a quoted enthusiast on the watch industry, appearing in feature articles and interviews by Wall Street Journal, International Herald Tribune, Sunday Times (London), Chronos (Japan), Citizen Hedonist (France) and other publications. He has authored articles for magazines like International Watch (iW) – both U.S. & Chinese editions, ICON (Singapore), August Man (Singapore), Comfort (China) and The Watch (Hong Kong).