When you arrive at Sosban, Llanelli. The Grade II listed building is striking. It’s an old Hydraulic Accumulator Tower and now an attractive restaurant. The building was built back in 1900 to give power to the machinery to supply the docs day to day work. The name sosban comes from the song Sosban fach (little saucepan) famously sang at the scarlet rugby games and when i think of the song, i always think of Llanelli. I think they’ve claimed it as their own and the name Sosban has now become famous as Great British Menu legend Andrew Sheriden’s home. I was lucky enough to be asked to taste his tasting menu this week and this is how it went : After watching the GBM i was highly excited to pop on a train and get down there as quick as i could. So the day after the final. I was on Arriva trains wales riding my way to the west. They say West is Best and i was ready to find out. I have to say Sosban is beautiful on the outside and on the inside and the staff who looked after us were excellent. Our (nicky and i) coats were off, wine in hand we were ready. Before we started our ma mouth 7 course tasters — Andrew came out to say hello (that was super lush) a northern boy and a northern girl meant a lot of chatting. It was nice to hear his story and that he spent a lot of time cooking up a storm in north wales. We heard about his (GBM) journey and how the 3 chefs are now really good friends and maybe there will be a GBM special coming to Sosban soon, who knows?
The Food 1. The Organic loaf with mar mite butter and Sir Gar salted butter. I bloody love a good loaf and mar mite. It was warm, gooey inside crispy on the outside. I love starting a meal with some fresh bread. Carb me up....
2. Crispy Chicken Skin, chicken parfait, elder flower jelly and grape chutney. The flavors and textures were amazing. The skin was full of flavor. The jelly was light and flavorsome. It just worked. Well!
3. Sweet Potato Cracker, pickled mustard seeds, onion marmalade and cheddar custard. I'm not a big fan of mustard and when i saw then, i was a bit nervous. They went down a treat. the onion marmalade gave a sweet flavour and mellowed the strong mustard flavours. Together, it worked well.
4. Cod Five Ways, burnt aubergine puree and onion textures. Was so fresh. The cod loin was delicate and melted in the mouth. I nearly licked the plate. I could have eaten another 2 portions of it.
5. Hay Smoked Venison Loin, beetroot ketchup, black pudding and blackberries. It was like autumn on a plate. This was a very seasonal dish and my favorite. The blackberries and black pudding worked really well and complimented the venison beautifully. The venison was cooked to perfection. The knife slided through the meat and this dish was delightful.
6. Sosban Trifle, lemon curd, pickled blackberries, whiskey and elder flower jelly. I’m gonna say it, i hate trifle. It reminds me of the one we use to have at Christmas. Tin custard. Stale sponge. This was not that. Its was a lemon trifle bomb with a honeycomb crunch. If you love anything lemony, you’re gonna love this. Light, fresh and full of lemons.
7. Coffee Pannacotta, chocolate and coffee textures. Coffee. Yes. Chocolate. Yes. What’s not to like about this dish, especially if you’re a coffee addict like i am.
8. Cheese board with chutney and pickle pairings and crackers/ brioche bread. You can’t have cheese without port, right? So, we ordered a 10-year-old Port. Lovely way to finish the meal. Verdict. Sosban is not only supplies pleasure to the eyes but also pleasure to body and soul. The service was very good. They made you feel relaxed and calmed. Didn’t over do it with the table visits. They knew their cod loins from their cod cheeks and happily helped us choose the wine. The restaurant is beautiful, the little fairly lights and wooden beams are so romantic, especially now going into autumn/ winter. The lighting was perfect for me. I hate bright lights. The lighting set the mood for some sexy stuff and boy, we had it. The food was a mix of light, fresh and tasty with a seasonal warm homely feel. The classics like cod 5 ways was a play on fish and chips the trifle was a better version of the classic (thank god). The price of £55 for 7 course tasters is exceptionally good. You can also add a wine pairing for an added £40. Sometimes you can get a deal on websites like Travelzoo. Watch out for them.
One other thing that makes Andrew and Sosban a bit special is that they are growing their own veg at the local college and they have a few staff members who are doing their apprentership at Sosban. Andrew mentioned that this is a great way for the students to learn more about the produce and to learn how to follow the journey of the veg/ fruit from planting to plating.
Would i recommend it! YES. Am i saying that because i was invited. HELL NO. I can’t wait to go again to be honest. If you fancy a get away for the day/ evening. The train takes around 1hour and 20 mins from Cardiff £18.50 return and it’s a 15 mins walk from station to Sosban. West is Best? Well, Andrew comes from the north... sooooo