North Wales Life Luncheon - St George's Hotel, Llandudno
PUBLISHED: 17:32 01 April 2013 | UPDATED: 21:29 21 October 2015
St George's Hotel sets the standard for fine hospitality at Llandudno, the 'Queen of Welsh Resorts'
For as long as Llandudno has been a holiday destination, St George’s Hotel has set the standard for the best of hospitality on the coast of North Wales.
If the elegant town, set on the magnificent sweep of its bay between the headlands of the Great and Little Ormes, deserves the accolade ‘Queen of Welsh Resorts’ then St George’s is entitled to be regarded as Queen of Llandudno’s hotels.
Set to celebrate its 160th birthday next year, North Wales’ premier four-star hotel was opened in the spring of 1854 – masterpiece of local architect Isaiah Davies, then aged just 24. And though Llandudno’s first luxury hotel has been extended down the years, it still its Victorian grandeur and its reputation for pampering its guests, winning the Visit Wales Gold Award in 2012 for the fourth consecutive year.
Host to such historical luminaries as Emperor Napoleon III of France and his wife Princess Eugenie, Queen Elizabeth of Romania and British Prime Ministers from Gladstone, Disraeli, Lloyd George and ofChurchill to Margate Thatcher and Tony Blair, the hotel’s recent acclaim is due in no small measure to the experienced stewardship of director and general manager Tony Burns.
At the helm for 18 years, Mr Burns, who has steered St George’s through a period of tasteful evolution, was on hand to greet guests of North Wales Life’s April luncheon with his trademark warm welcome. Along with the Mayor of Llandudno, Coun Mrs Myra Wigzell, we gathered in the hotel’s grand lobby to enjoy daintily crafted canapés and flutes of.
The appetising nibbles comprised ham and pineapple terrine with quail eggs, Y Fenni cheese ‘lollipops’, spirals of smoked salmon and cream cheese roulade and delicious haggis ‘bon bons’ on sticks fashioned from yummy pork crackling – delightful precursors for head chef Gwyn Roberts’ main event.
Gwyn arrived at St George’s Hotel from the village of St George – where he was head chef at the Kinmel Arms, Life Magazines’ 2010 North Wales Award winner – some nine months ago and certainly made his mark at this luncheon.
The hotel’s handsome Victorian Conwy suite looked a picture beneath its glass atrium – actually a very recent development – with stylishly set tables graced with three-feet tall candelabras, each with five lit candles; a lovely setting for a memorable occasion. The starter brought an attractively arranged medley of seafood including crispy squid, flavoursome tian of white crab meat, beetroot-cured gravadlax of salmon with cubes of harmonious horseradish ‘panna cotta’ and plump scallop ceviche cradled on a Halen Mon pastry twist; every item done to a T.
For the main course, a beautifully moist and tasty supreme of corn-fed chicken was filled with leeks and smoked pear and served on a bed of braised cabbage, accompanied by a ‘battenburg’ of roasted carrot and swede sticks, fine fondant potato, silky Jerusalem artichoke purée and shard of crispy bacon. Again all the components sang together like a culinary Welsh choir.
Dessert was a stunner. Gwyn partnered squares of squidgy raspberry meringue, with a consistency like Turkish delight, with a colourful and deliciously light raspberry sorbet, piquant lemon jelly, wonderful lemon profiterole and minted foam. Nary a bit was left.
The day’s white wine was tropical fruited Veramonte Sauvignon Blanc 2012 from Chile’s premier sauvignon region, the Casablanca Valley – in my view far easier to drink than some of the Kiwi versions – and the red, from the same stable, was a soft, plummy merlot from the Colchagua Valley.
Good for Tony, Wales and St George’s: still delighting its guests after almost 160 years.
North Wales Life luncheon menu
Crab tian, scallop ceviche, beetroot gravadlax, crispy squid, horseradish ‘panna cotta’, Halen Mon twist.
Breast of corn-fed chicken filled with leeks and smoked pear, braised cabbage, roast vegetable battenburg, fondant potato, Jerusalem artichoke purée, Crispy Bacon.
Assiette of lemon and raspberry
Veramonte Sauvignon Blanc 2012, Casablanca Valley, Chile
Veramonte Merlot 2011, Colchagua Valley, Chile
St George’s Hotel, The Promenade,
Llandudno, Conwy, LL30 2LG
Tel: 01492 877544;
The Terrace Bar and Lounge serves light lunches daily. The Terrace Restaurant is open for dinner Mon-Sat 6.30pm-9-30pm: two courses from the a la carte menu £27, three courses £34: Sunday lunch in the Terrace Restaurant, noon-2.30pm, is £18 for two courses and £20 for three.