Short Break - Plas Rhianfa, Anglesey
PUBLISHED: 00:00 26 October 2013 | UPDATED: 12:44 16 May 2016
A ‘French’ chateau on the island of Anglesey? We packed our bags and went to investigate
At 7.30pm, we were ushered into the dining room and seated at a large table - a dozen people comprising two groups of four and two couples.
Five hours and several splendid dishes later, strangers seemed more like friends, and the conversation, plus the odd drink, was still flowing. We parted with the promise of at least some of us meeting up again.
This was our ‘chateau dining experience’ at Plas Rhianfa, a luxury hotel which, though it would look more at home on the banks of the Loire, instead looks out over the equally imposing Menai Strait.
Built for his wife and daughters in the mid-19th century by Sir John Hay Williams, of Bodelwyddan Castle, Plas Rhianfa was heavily inspired by travels in France, hence its towers and spires. Latterly, the home was converted into apartments, and some of its interior delights concealed.
Now Plas Rhianfa is back to something like its original glory as a country house hotel with an impressive head chef in the shape of Andrew Sheridan - who served his time with Michelin-starred Michael Caines.
The location is fabulous, as is the building itself. Little surprise that many choose this as a wedding venue.
We opened the door to our room, the Duchess Suite to find an enormous space, decorated in a tasteful combination of period and modern, with a little stage in the large bay window where, quirkily, the bath had been placed. You can soak in the tub and gaze out at the tide ebbing and flowing between Anglesey and the mainland.
The hotel has a huge and imposing dining room, a banqueting hall, a profusion of other lounges and balconies where you discover private, well-upholstered cubby-holes which, were the house not built in strait-laced Victorian times, you’d swear were designed with hanky-panky in mind.
Sheridan impressed with Welsh lamb and minted mash - a subtle take on a familiar combination - and a fillet of bream with cabbage fondue and curry foam. But the unexpected star of his menu was a cauliflower velouté with pickled cauliflower and sweet raisins - earthy, sweet, with a suggestion of curry in a brilliant combination of what would otherwise seem the most mundane ingredients.
We loved this little bit of France-meets-Wales so much that we decided we would say not goodbye but au revoir.
Plas Rhianfa is beside the A545 between Menai Bridge and Beaumaris in Anglesey, LL59 5NS, 01248 713656, www.plasrhianfa.com. The Chateau Dining Experience is available at £45 per person. A classic double room would cost from £140, breakfast included, principal suites from £215 per night, bed and breakfast.