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Capel Dewi, Nantgaredig
Run in the style of a chill-out country inn with scrubbed-up rustic surroundings and a dressed-down outlook (no tablecloths, no obligatory wine pouring), this wonderfully remote and gently idiosyncratic Y Polyn never fails to please. Readers regularly applaud the kitchen’s commitment to “high quality fresh Welsh produce”, so expect big portions and earthy presentation, although culinary inspiration comes mostly from the Mediterranean. Typical dishes might run from pappardelle with venison ragù, or warm confit duck terrine with pickled mushrooms and spicy fruit sauce to roast rump of Welsh lamb with caponata and salsa verde or pan-roasted brill with baby spinach, red chard, Jerusalem artichokes, cockles and anchovy butter. After that, pear tarte Tatin or egg custard tart with raspberry ripple ice cream await – or you can delve into the assortment of prime Welsh cheeses to go with something from the extensive wine list. “Very good value” is also guaranteed, with prices including a big dish of vegetables, water and superb home-baked sourdough bread.
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Capel Dewi, Nantgaredig
Carmarthen Station 8km
Bronwydd Arms Station 8km
National Botanic Garden of Wales Millennium Site 3km
Dryslwyn Castle 6km
Tues-Sun 12N-2pm Tues-Sat 7pm-9.30pm
Food & Drink:
Rate & Review
Food + drink: 5
Well thought out, simple food cooked beautifully. Savour every mouthful. A really enjoyable experience on every level. We'll be back as soon as possible.
Food + drink: 4
I took a visit a lovely little western Welsh treasure called Y Polyn to celebrate a birthday. Situated in the leafy countryside of Carmarthenshire and owned and run by acclaimed ex food critic Simon Wright and his foodie compadres, this dinky gastro-pub gets rustic cooking spot on. We had the sunday lunch menu, and through sampling everyone else's food as well as my own, I am able to share my experiences of a few of the delights on offer.
Lets start with the starters (which were washed down with champagne, but I'm sure they're great with just the free water and bread provided). I had a hazelnut coated goats cheese with beetroot, and around the table there was a Carmarthen ham with home-made slaw, pork rillettes and chicken liver pate. My favourite was the goats cheese for it's balanced flavour and texture but the pate and rillettes were equally delightful. Andy (who went for the ham) was not so impressed and so ate lots of everyone else's to make up for it.
On to the mains, and I should tell you that I was concerned that I'd overdone it with the focaccia but it was so moreish, with it's sexy bouncy texture and oily salty crumbs that stuck to my mouth. I ordered the lamb hot pot, but on the table was also roasted pork belly and sewin with a creamy sauce (I didn't try that actually but according to Huw it was perfectly “just cooked”). The lamb hot pot was a lip-smackingly perfect example of why lamb is my favourite meat. Very tender. Very savoury. The pork too was delicious. Meaty and fatty in the right proportions and the crackling, a crispy icing on a porky cake. Add to this seasonal veg dish of ratatouille, creamy dauphinoise and braised fennel and you have a pub feast or heavenly heart attack in the making.
Dessert was for the bold. Those who looked a bulging gut in the belly button and said, one more mouthful. I had a panacotta and a taste of perfect custard tart with pomegranate ice cream floated my way. The panacotta was just what it ought to be, smooth and creamy with a punchy, all be it sticky, addition of pecans and sour cherries with honey. Melty fudge was served with the coffee (which was probably the only thing I didn't enjoy) to round it all off. All in all the sweets were delectable, though I think it's fair to say that the mains were the jewels in the crown.
I wish it wasn't so well hidden. It was busy at the time so I'm sure that others feel it is worth the trek, though I doubt they had done the commute from London. There is quite a local and informal atmosphere to the place, just what one would expect from a country pub. I had to get the cook book I was so impressed with the simple but well executed menu, but I suspect that my supermarket cuts will not be up to par with Y Polyn's ethically, hand reared, organic and locally sourced produce.
All in all, a pub lunch to rival all others I have ever had.
This is a composite review as we are regular attenders. As holiday accommodation providers in West wales, it is good to have a reliable gastro-pub/restaurant to recommend to visitors. This may be a family's “big night out” during their holiday and, from our point of view as founts of local knowledge, disappointment is not an option.
The atmosphere is very relaxed and informal but the “smartly dressed” would not feel out of place on a special occasion. All age groups seem to mingle effortlessly and I can report that it vies for favouritism with The Cors at Laugharne as my mother's restaurant: of choice: and she is 91 years old.
Food is uniformly excellent, with local produce used wherever possible, and accurate cooking and simple presentation delivers the freshest food to the plate with the minimum of fuss and the maximum of flavour: exactly as it should be. The menu adapts to the seasons, but look out for diver-caught mussels, sewin and choice fillet of beef. The dessert menu is a step too far for some, whilst a good choice of home cooked/prepared sweets is available to the “hearty eater”: and not a catering pack in sight!
The wine list is varied and reasonably-priced offering a satisfying selection for most pockets. Staff are uniformly cheerful and friendly and the establishment ticks along as only owner-managed establishments ever really do.
If you are going to run a gastro-pub there are two overriding priorities for attention: the food and the beer. Both at Y Polyn excel in a way that others in the trade would do well to imitate.
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