Heading Down To Wales//Sosban & the Old Butchers

After a satisfying but admittedly exhausting trip to Simon Rogan’s L’Enclume, there were a few things back at the farm that Gerald and I had to take care of before we left on our next adventure.

We’d recently discovered a Japanese knotweed infestation on our lands and had been forced to take a more serious look at the lands that we own, including the Farm Shop Food itself.

Thankfully we were lucky enough to find some specialists to inspect the infestation and we were informed that the problem wasn’t quite as bad as others they had seen. Whilst Japanese knotweed doesn’t cause the environment any immediate damage, it’s invasive nature has made it a sworn enemy of the British government and land owners around the country. Left untreated, knotweed will grow unchecked and can significantly damage the value of our land.

With a team of professionals hired to begin the treatment process, Gerald and I felt assured enough to head off on another trip. We had little trouble booking a place to stay in North Wales at short notice, but the restaurant booking took a bit more forethought…

Gerald and I had been waiting over 6 months to get a seat at this particular restaurant.

Preparing only two dinner services a day to a 16-cover restaurant, Sosban & the Old Butchers received it’s first Michelin star last year, wowing critics with it’s novel approach to serving locally sourced fine-dining fare in a relaxed environment. This much in demand restaurant is only open three days a week, making it increasingly difficult to find a table any less than 6 months in advance.

After a quiet drive down through Wales we arrive in Menai Bridge with a good hour to spare. This charming little island town is only a short hop away from mainland Wales yet it somehow feels so much further. The nearly 200-year old suspension bridge that takes us from nearby Bangor over to the Isle of Anglesey is only 417 metres long but the short trip makes it feel like we’ve entered a foreign land.

Having lived on a land-locked farm for most of our lives, Gerald and I are often swept away by the romance of living near the sea. We wander up a path that takes us along the coastline of the island, the bridge is a dominating presence and at night the lights make it a truly dramatic sight to behold. Before we know it we’re running late for our sitting and have to pick up a light jog in order to make it to the restaurant in time.

After almost stumbling into the restaurant area we both feel like profusely apologising to both the staff and the waiting diners. The space is so small that it’s not too difficult to blurt out an apology and have everyone hear it. Sole front of house member Bethan warmly welcomes us and before we know it we’re whisked away into an exciting locally sourced tasting menu that, amongst other things, features an ‘umami log’, a celeriac risotto and a rather tasty cut of venison which Gerald falls in love with at first sight.

At just £65 per head (plus extra for wine) we can’t really believe the value and find ourselves booking another sitting in 6 months time.

Our drive back home the next day is peppered with reflective ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ when thinking about our meal, it’s safe to say that we’re eagerly awaiting our next visit to Menai Bridge!

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