The best produce and seafood the region has to offer will be showcased this month when twelve eateries from Wrexham and north east Wales go head to head in a fishy food challenge.
To celebrate the 2018 Welsh ‘Year of the Sea’ – the North East Wales Tourism and Marketing team laid down the challenge to local eateries to create a dish that would celebrate the region’s amazing coastline, epic inland waterways and great local produce.
From Monday 15th January, twelve restaurants and cafes in Wrexham and across north east Wales will be serving up up their interpretations of the classic fish & chips (but with a twist!) or their surf & turf dishes – all taking inspiration from the ‘Year of the Sea’ theme and working with local producers where possible.
The challenge has been backed by the Welsh Government’s Regional Tourism Engagement Fund (RTEF) following the success of food challenges in previous years – including the delicious Wrexham Burger Challenge in 2015 and very tasty NE Wales Pie Challenge in 2017!
Restaurants and eateries taking part have to serve their dish up on a special board from next Monday through until 11th February – and during this time, they’ll be expected to promote the Year of the Sea through their dish and each will receive two mystery diners who will rate the dish on presentation and taste, plus the awareness of the Year of the Sea amongst staff.
The three highest scoring businesses will then go head to head with their fin-tastic dishes in a cook off in Friday 16th February – after which a winning dish will be selected.
The team that take first plaice will receive a trophy, along with the chance to serve up their dish at food festivals later in the year and feature in national press about Wales’ food scene.
Speaking about the challenge, Destination Manager at Wrexham Council Joe Bickerton, part of the NE Wales Marketing team added: “It’s fantastic to see a wide variety of entries again this year – and further highlights the superb level of creativity of our chefs in North East Wales along with the availability of great local produce.
“We really hope that over the next month, diners across the region and those visiting the area enjoy trying new places and give the Year of the Sea dish a try in each venue”.
If you fancy trying some (or all) of the food on offer, the business taking part in the 2018 Year of the Sea, Seafood Challenge are:
1. Gales Llangollen (surf and turf dish will be Pen y Lan pork belly, saffron mash, American sauce, langoustine, and quails egg)
2. Old Wives Tales Corwen (‘Welsh Pork and Shells’ – Marinated pork, pan seared with garlic and ginger. A medley of shellfish, sweated in white wine, on a bed of rustic home cut chips, fried in rapeseed oil. Presented in a pot and sprinkled with parsley and coriander)
3. Fat Boar Mold (Prosciutto wrapped pork tenderloin, smoked paprika, prawn & chorizo risotto, buttered kale, prawn bisque)
4. Druid Inn (‘OMC! Oh My Cod’ – Cod Supreme, Parmentier Potatoes, Pea Puree, Batter Scraps & Malt Vinegar Caramel.
5. Fat Boar Wrexham (18oz bone in Celtic pride ribeye, giant crab claws, Perl las sauce. Crispy Spiralized Covent Garden potato, Anglesey salted roast tomato and Wrexham lager battered onion rings)
6. Lot 11 (Reef and Beef Open Sandwich – Griddled Rump Steak, Sautéed Mushrooms, Lemon Dressed Prawns + Basil Mayonnaise on Toasted Sourdough)
7. Croes Howell (posh “fish and chips” – cod fillet wrap in crispy potato. Pea and mint purée, aerated tartare sauce, prosecco batter scraps and lemon crisp)
8. Royal Oak Bangor on Dee (surf & slurp – a winter hearty dish that will warm you up from the inside. Braised Pork & Mussels)
9. Lemon Tree Wrexham (fish and chips with a twist – Paprika seared cod loin, trio of vegetable chips A variety of peas and a warm lemon and tartar cream sauce)
10. Holt Lodge – The dish will be served in newspaper made in the shape of a boat which reflects the sea theme. The newspaper will be called HOLT LODGE and include some hot off the press stories all based around Wales and include some quirky captions such as There’s No Plaice Like Holt Lodge. In the boat will be served plaice and mussels.
The dish will be served with Posh Peas and homemade tartar sauce. The peas will be cooked with leeks, bacon lardons, gem lettuce & garlic butter all sourced locally.
11. Hafod Restaurant, Coleg Cambria, Wrexham – (Surf & Turf); Duo of Llyfasi lamb, salt cod brandade, spring greens, cockle sauce vierge finished with a rosemary and red currant jus.
12. The Alyn, Rossett – Salmons got Sole. The dish consists of battered Salmon and Sole Chunky Chips held in a Bale of Potato String Pea Puree and Lemon Gel, Garnished with Charred Lemon and Pea Shoots.