Mrs G and I arranged a trip to Menai Bridge on the basis of when we could bag a table. When we booked last September, the earliest available was in the middle of May 2017.
Husband and wife team Stephen and Bethan Stevens run the kitchen and front of house respectively. Stephen’s CV includes stints at Petrus and Roux at the Landau whilst Bethan single handedly runs the dining room with boundless enthusiasm.
The restaurant has no menu, just a surprise tasting menu at £65 a head. And, in order to make the service work efficiently there are two sittings at 7pm and 8.15pm. Staggeringly, there was a no show on the evening we visited. Thankfully, Sosban and the Old Butchers charge a deposit.
Crisp caribou moss, foraged on the north of the island, was topped with the smoke and savouriness of kipper.
Crunchy cod skin was dotted with peanut, banana and rock samphire. It reminded me of the Himalayan style curries my mum used to have in Indian restaurants when I was a kid. The sweetness of banana and mild curry hit was a beguiling combination.
A super fine filo pastry case was filled with the tenderest of slow cooked pork cheeks. It was complimented perfectly by the tang of yoghurt and intensity of liquorice and sweet cicely leaves.
Warm soda bread was served with whipped butter that melted beautifully.
A rich sour cream porridge with a good bite was topped with a savoury mushroom mousse flecked with bits of fungi. Bacon crumbs capped off an excellent dish.
Another fine piece of comfort food came next. Al dente cauliflower, rich cheese sauce, cubes of parmesan custard, crisp crumbs and rich cocoa saw an everyday classic elevated to the highest level.
Blushing pink lamb rump came with a potent wild garlic puree and shoots that were balanced by subtle homemade ricotta. Crisp rye crumbs and tender asparagus completed another excellent plate.
Flaky and meaty sous vide cod with a good lick of smoke sat on top of a mild yeast puree that gave a savoury hum to the dish. Slightly sharp, battered pickled onion rings, crisp potato puffs and a liberal grating of meaty ox heart finished it off.
Dessert tasted every bit as beautiful as it looked. A golden sugar sphere was filled with smooth vanilla custard. It was counterbalanced nicely by sharp rhubarb, crisp wild rice and almond powder.
Finally, a creamy yet lip-puckering lemon ice cream was coated in rich dark chocolate salted with kalamata olive.
Mrs G and I were blown away by dinner at Sosban and the Old Butchers. The cooking incorporates classic flavour combinations with innovate twists and the service is as friendly is it gets. There are also good value wines to be had by the glass and the soundtrack on the night we visited was a Rufus Wainwright mega mix. What's not to love?
I seriously recommend a pilgrimage to north Wales as soon as you can get a table...
Address - Sosban and The Old Butchers, Trinity House, 1 High Street, Menai Bridge, Anglesey LL59 5EE
Web - http://www.sosbanandtheoldbutchers.com/
Telephone - 01248 208 131