Burgers and Cocktails: My evening at Fresh, Abersoch {Review}

Hello there Llŷn foodie fans! A couple of weeks ago, between working on our glorious looking Summer magazine, I managed to fit in a visit home to sunny Pen Llŷn. Somewhere between the madness of Easter and Summer, we’re currently experiencing a steady calm before the busy season hits us with full force.

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I miss home a lot when i’m away!

Alongside seeing sorely missed friends and family, I fit in a visit to Pontoon in Pwllheli one sunny lunchtime to enjoy some traditional mexican cuisine on their gorgeous patio overlooking the harbour (and some cocktails!) I wrote all about my last visit to pontoon in a previous blog, and I know it’ll become one of my regular places to eat when i’m home. I also went out for a little meal with my mum, aka Big Boss Lady of We Love Llŷn, and we chose Fresh in Abersoch.

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Fresh’s outdoor patio
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Mum and Daughter time!

We visited Fresh on what we thought would be a quiet tuesday evening, but it was a good thing we got there early, as the restaurant quickly filled up! Upon entering, passing the patio with abundant outdoor seating, and the pile of blankets for those times our Welsh climate lets us down, you are greeted by a friendly hello no matter what the staff are busy doing. We couldnt help but notice the small chalk board declaring the specials of the night – and before we’d even sat down we had already decided to have the camembert for our starter – a firm favourite of mother’s and mine!

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The specials board outside
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Neatly rolled blankets by the door ready for chilly evenings

My first port of call once we had sat down was the cocktail menu – updated seasonally, there are always some delicious concoctions on there invented by the staff alongside old classics. I chose a ‘Jolly Rancher’: Peach vodka with blueberries, honey and cranberry juice. It was delicious and too easy to drink!

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The menu is inspired by British and American favourites with some dashes of Asian flavours, the panko prawns stood out to me as an intriguing option! My mum chose the lamb, but substituted the mashed potato with some sweet potato fries, and after enquiring after the vegetarian options I chose the vegetarian special: Piri piri halloumi burger with citrus ‘slaw, and curly fries! The burger was amazing, not too spicy with fresh flavours coming from the american inspired ‘slaw. Mum’s lamb was perfectly cooked and mouth wateringly tender.

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Fresh always seems to have a vibrant atmosphere, with gorgeous local photography and artwork displayed on the walls and the very inviting well-stocked bar. The bar is often host to a number of events, especially live music from local musicians (one of them being myself at one point!) and throughout the low season their quiz nights on a Sunday are fantastic fun! One event coming up on Fresh’s calendar is a charity event very close to co-owner Heidi’s heart. On Friday the 28th of June staff and volunteers will be painitng the outside of the building bright yellow to raise money and awareness for Dog’s Trust. This is guaranteed to be a sight to behold so if you find yourself in the area around this time, be sure to pop along to offer some words of encouragement and give what you can. You can also donate through their JustGiving page.

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One of the Photography pieces on the wall features Heidi’s dog Roxy!

Fresh will remain one of my favourite places to eat and drink, speaking as someone with some fussy food tendancies they are one of the most accomodating places I’ve visited, nothing’s too much trouble, it’s just a case of chatting to the staff about your dietary requirements or preferences. And I haven’t even mentioned the steaks – I of course am veggie but having worked in various establishments around Abersoch in the past, the one thing that remains consistent when people speak of Fresh is: The Steak. I’ve heard it said they are the best steaks in the village, on Llŷn, that they’ve ever tasted! Of course I cant personally vouch for them but if you go try them be sure to let me know what you think!

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The inviting glow of the bar

Thanks again for reading, for more from Fresh Abersoch you can follow them on Facebook and Twitter.

I always love to hear recommendations from you about where to eat, or even place to visit on Pen Llŷn, so either comment on this blog, write on our facebook wall or tweet us your suggestions! And don’t forget to tag us in your pictures, especially if you are enjoying a meal from one of these fabulous places! Tag us in your food pics on instagram!

Don’t forget you can download our mobile phone app for FREE on the Apple and Play stores, search ‘We Love Llŷn’ or click here.

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Sunday Brunch and the Hottest Day: My Week in Food! (Kin&Co, Abersoch and Pontoon, Pwllheli)

What a glorious start to the Summer Holidays, though we’ve had our share of thunderstorms and fog, we’ve been lucky to have had some cracking sunshine in between. I was lucky enough to experience two lovely eating experiences in the last week, so I thought I’d share!

 

The Perfect Sunday Brunch (In my opinion)

You can smell the summer holidays in the air in Abersoch, and last Sunday the village was experiencing the calm before the storm as it braced itself to enjoy it’s busiest 6 weeks of the year. I’ve been to Kin&Co a few times before, as I live near to Abersoch, and it has always been consistent in its welcoming atmosphere and gorgeous food, so I was very eager to finally get to write about it!

You could say I was feeling slightly delicate from the night before, and sometimes you want something a bit different from the usual greasy fry up. So I grabbed last night’s drinking buddy and took her to Kin&Co where we knew we’d be getting exactly what we needed.

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We’re always greeted with a friendly welcome and the interior is set up to be welcoming and laid back too, we chose the comfy sofas to lounge about on and people-watch through the enormous windows looking out onto Abersoch High Street. Kin&Co also welcome your furry doggie pals too, and we made friends with a couple of the furry customers ourselves! Coincidentally in our Autumn magazine, which will be out in September we’ll be featuring (spoiler alert!) all sorts of dog friendly locations all over Pen Llŷn, so look out for that!

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Hi Joe! We love the hanging lights!
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View from the sofas

The specials menu on the wall has almost as many items as on the regular menu, is ever changing and there is always a good variety of choice, especially for me a fussy veggie. I chose a smoky bean quesadilla topped with avocado and a fried egg, and my friend selected a gorgeous bagel with pate and onion marmalade, and a cheese and pastrami croissant – accompanied by a hot chocolate and a latte.

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Hot choc and a gorgeous latte
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Amazing brunch selection

Kin&Co is set up as part cafe, part clothing shop, so as we wait for our food we can casually browse the gorgeous clothes and shoes, and try and talk ourselves out of spending too much money on the lovely things! They also sell packs of the lovely coffee they serve behind the counter, and my friend treated herself to some after enjoying her latte. I agree with her-  the ‘Poblado Coffi’ roasted locally in Snowdonia is gorgeously smooth with very little bitterness.

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#buylocal

Our meals arrived to the call of our rumbling bellies and definitely hit the spot! My brewing hangover was 100% better after my meal, and the leafy green rocket salad and generous helping of avocado made me feel a little bit like I was making an effort to get my 5 a day!

Of course we couldn’t leave without trying of one of the gorgeous selection of cakes. We both went for the banana cake plus toppings, and oh did it look gorgeous! Almost too perfect to eat! The warm banana cake was served with cream cheese icing, mixed fresh berries and a drizzle of honey, yum! The gorgeous plates and tea sets the food and drinks are served in make everything that bit much more special, just look at the gorgeous patterned plates the banana cake was served on!

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I am happy to report we were feeling good as new as we left, we will definitely be returning. The cafe is likely to be busy over summer so get there early to avoid disappointment!

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Show Kin&Co some love! Like them on Facebook, follow on instagram, follow on twitter, and you can also browse their clothing ranges online.

 

The Hottest Day

(so far!)

It’s been dubbed all over the media as the hottest day of the year so far (last Tuesday the 20th of July) and it certainly was sweltering!

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It just so happened that I had this date in my diary for the past few weeks as an evening out with some friends i’ve not had time to spend quality time with of late. Having not had time to even think about booking a table anywhere, inspiration fell into my lap as I saw that Pontoon, an art gallery come Carribbean/Mexican restaurant on the outskirts of Pwllheli, was hosting a Carribbean themed BBQ in anticipation of the forecast heatwave.

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Pontoon opened its doors over a year ago as a short term ‘pop-up’ type establishment for the summer, by a group of creative and ambitious young individuals. I went there in the first couple of weeks of it opening and was blown away by the transformation of the old Offaxis club. The furniture was upcycled and reclaimed, the walls painted and generously slathered with contemporary art and illustrations. This little treasure was such a joy to my eyes, and you could see that there was a lot of hard work and passion gone into the project. You can imagine my joy when I heard they had decided to turn the temporary pop-up into a long term establishment, and Pontoon is still going strong.

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We arrived as the sun was still shining on the lawn in front of the little square building, which overlooks part of the Pwllheli harbour. The barbeque was already fired up with some enticing smells and the outdoor tables littered with icy cold drinks and their owners basking in the last of the heat and sunshine. The building sits right on the water and watching the little boats and jet skis go by is definitely a relaxing experience.

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View from the lawn

Now I’m a sucker for a good cocktail, and the selection was spot on. I tried a few different ones but my favourite was the ‘Sloe Gin Fizz’, tasted a bit like an alcoholic version of my own home made pink lemonade! Special mention goes to the wonderfully exotic ‘Sake on the Beach’ cocktail, which perfectly matched my own hair colour 😉

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Every time I go to Pontoon, I’m so seduced by the menu, I often order several dishes, probably more than I should, but I just want to try everything! My friends felt the same way, and we ordered ourselves a little barbequed feast. My vegan burger was lovely, but the side dishes were the true heroes of the meal to me. The ‘chilli and honey griddled peaches’ were like nothing I’ve tasted before, and the gooseberry ketchup was the best burger accompaniment I’ve had! My meat eating companions shared some jerk lamb kebabs, a Jamaican fish parcel, and marinated Edern steak burgers, all barbequed to perfection.  They definitely enjoyed their food, there was not a scrap left.

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Chilli and honey griddled peaches with watercress, pecans, and dressing (we had already tucked into a few!)

There is always room for desert, and as the sun went down we enjoyed Treacle toffee barbequed bananas with ice cream, superb! They looked so nice, they were gone before I could remember to get a picture…

We were blessed with the perfect weather, but even on a grey day I can’t fault the atmosphere of this lovely hidden gem. Well worth the trip outside of Pwllheli to experience. The menu changes weekly with dishes ranging from Mexican to Carribean and beyond, and they are always accommodating to any diet. If you drop them a message on facebook or call in advance, they can usually cook anything to your preferences and dietary requirements, and are more than happy to do so.

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We watched the sun go down while polishing off our cocktails

You can find pontoon on facebook and instagram, go show them some love too!

 

 

So I’ve had a very wonderful week of food. And it’s not even over yet! (I write this on Wednesday) What else could I have in store for me this summer? I always love to hear recommendations from you, so either comment on this blog, write on our facebook wall or tweet us your suggestions! And don’t forget to tag us in your pictures, especially if you are enjoying a meal from one of these two fabulous places! Tag us in your food pics on instagram!

 

Don’t forget you can download our mobile phone app for FREE on the Apple and Play stores, search ‘We Love Llŷn’ or click here.

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Mei’s Criccieth: I’m In Asian Fusion Heaven

After an impulsive Saturday evening trip to Mei’s Fusion Food in Criccieth, I was inspired to write my first of (hopefully) many local restaurant and eatery reviews.

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Impromptu nights out are the best kind of nights out, but when myself and four friends decided we were hungry at 7 o clock on a Saturday evening, we thought we’d have no chance of landing a table at a nice place to eat. I had heard wonderful things about the brand new Asian fusion restaurant on Criccieth High Street, so we tried our luck, and we were very lucky to get a table straight away. After our experience, I would definitely recommend booking to anyone hoping to eat here, between the lovely service and wonderful food i’m sure the growing popularity of this eatery will mean booking is essential in future!

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Jasmine tea served in a sweet little pot, and fresh flowers on the table

When an Asian restaurant pops up in this area, it’s easy to think its ‘just another Chinese’, but you would be sorely mistaken to think Mei’s was average in any way. We were greeted by friendly staff, a warm atmosphere despite there only being a few tables in so far (it quickly filled up) and gorgeously tasteful Asian decor mixed with framed local artwork. Fresh flowers adorned every table and even the imacculate bathroom smelled sweet with a fresh bunch. We were served drinks swiftly by welsh speaking staff (always a pleasant thing to encounter) and took our time to peruse the menu. And boy did we need time to look it over! I was blown away by the choices, and I hadnt even made it past the ‘snacks and appetisers’ section.

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I was a big fan of the pretty tableware too

Now is the point where I should admit it – I am a vegetarian – a contreversial topic, as I know very well myself, and people puzzle as to why I am so addicted to eating in restaurants when I am often shunned to my one choice of veggie lasagne and/or goat cheese tartlet (both of those things I loathe FYI) – well places like this bring me joy beyond compare; not only was I spoilt for choice  – a rarity – but there were choices galore for vegan and gluten free diets too. I had died and gone to heaven. I can honestly say that I have only come across the word ‘vegan’ on a menu in a Pen Llŷn restaurant once before, (and I’ve been to a few!) and that shocked me!
Small note: if you know of any other restaurants I have missed with vegan friendly options, let me know! I would love to compile a list in future 🙂

I apologise for my obsession with finding good veggie food, but I’m passionate about the subject so I’m going to go off tangent a bit! But before you start to think that this is some hippy veggie restaurant, I’d like to say that the meat and seafood choices are top notch too, the most interesting meat dish that caught my eye (and I know a few meat eaters who would be very excited about this) was the Tau Eu Bak – Braised pork belly slow cooked in a clay pot with cinnamon, star anise, rice wine, Chinese mushrooms & soy sauce. – sounds seriously impressive!

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My favorite- Crispy Seaweed! Note the gorgeous plates and fresh pomegranate salad on the side

We decided to order a few things to share and make a bit of a feast of it, and since there was so many lovely things on offer we couldn’t choose just one each! Special mention goes to the BBQ ribs (good reviews from my peers around the table) and the best crispy seaweed I’ve ever had – yum yum!

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Another one of our starters – Kampung Fried Bean Curd – similar to tofu, and very yummy

After being advised by the waitress on the heat levels of some dishes (I’m a medium-hot kind of girl) I went for the Singapore Fried Vermicelli (without the meat)- it’s an old fallback favorite of mine so I wanted to see how it compared: You know it’s a good Singapore vermicelli when they are generous with the egg, and this was no exception to the rule. Around the table my friends were also very impressed with their meals, there was not a single complaint to be had and we ate until we were full to bursting… but there is always room for dessert!

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A generous helping too!

For dessert I tried the Deep Fried Buns, which I believe were filled with lotus paste. It reminded me of a pastry I tried once when I decided to wonder in to a bakery in Chinatown in London and everything was labelled in Chinese, I had no idea what I was eating then but I was as pleasantly surprised as I was with my fried buns at Mei’s. The outside of the bun was similar to a plain doughnut in taste and texture and the inside was quite a unique but pleasant taste. It was a lovely finish to a great meal.

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Time to learn some new words! useful phrases on the back of the menu

So to the staff of Mei’s Fusion Food in Criccieth, we say Terima Kasih! Jumpa lagi! Thank you so much and we will be finding you again 😉

 

Mei’s Fusion Foods also do takeaway food and you can browse their menu here

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