The Promenade, Colywn Bay
We’re in North Wales, visiting my parents, and we’re all eager to try renowned Welsh chef Bryn Williams’ new(ish) enterprise at Porth Eirias. Philip and I have had a sneaky peak – we met a friend here for coffee last time we were over – but we’ve not yet sampled the food.
These days, Colwyn Bay’s promenade is a delightful place to be: as well as revamped cycle paths, there are clean sands, quirky beach art, and, of course, Porth Eirias itself: a square, modern building, with a huge roof terrace. Fittingly, it houses a water sports centre as well as Bryn Williams’ restaurant, which somehow helps to give the place a real community feel: it’s here for people to enjoy. Inside, it’s bright and airy, all industrial pipework and high ceilings, with a glass wall facing out to sea. It’s frankly stunning.
We’re seated in the window, with a perfect view. It’s a remarkably sunny day for February, and the beach is looking fabulous. The service is friendly and relaxed. We order wine and sit back to peruse what’s on offer.
Mum, dad and I all opt for the set menu, which changes every week. Two courses cost a very reasonable £17, but naturally we all want three, which takes it up to £21. Today, our starter is scallops, served with salted grapes and a saffron emulsion. They’re perfectly cooked: charred just the right amount, with a delicious almost caramel aroma. The salted grapes are interesting too, a tangy counterpoint to the delicate fish.
Philip goes à la carte, and chooses the salt and pepper squid, which comes with spring onions, mint and a lime mayonnaise. It’s a generous portion: light, crispy and not at all greasy. He’s a happy chap.
The set menu’s main course is a beautiful piece of monkfish, with purple potatoes, charred leeks and a chicken beurre blanc that has me wanting to lick my plate, although I do manage to resist (well, I’m next to the window; anyone might see). We share some sides, of fries and roasted cabbage, and they are pretty decent too. Philip’s burger is an unusual choice for him, but he declares himself satisfied: it’s a juicy, meaty patty served in a brioche bun with lots of gherkins, and comes with fries & coleslaw. It hits the spot, he says, and eats it all.
For pudding, my parents and I have a pistachio parfait with chocolate and rhubarb, while Philip has vanilla rice pudding with a fruit compote and candied nuts. Both have the requisite naughty-but-nice factor that makes sweet food such a joy to eat. Yum yum!
We’re impressed with the restaurant’s accessibility too, and with the easy, breezy way the staff deal with my parents’ physical requirements (mum needs a seat with a lot of leg room, and somewhere to store her zimmer frame; dad struggles to cut up food, so they slice his into bite-size pieces in the kitchen: no fuss, just happy to help).
It’s a lovely place, and a really welcome addition to the area. We enjoy a gentle stroll along the prom, and pronounce ourselves content.