Who doesn’t love a restaurant with rooms? Great food and a cosy bedroom waiting for you upstairs. Camille Allcroft checks into Ty Castell in Caernarfon
Located just a short walk from the castle in the historic walled town of Caernarfon in North Wales, Tŷ Castell is a delightful restaurant with rooms recently awarded two AA Rosettes, headed up by Chef Robert Worgan and his team.
We arrived on a chilly evening, to find a warm welcome awaiting us at the Grade II listed property, which was formerly a tea and luxury goods shop. There are four en suite rooms with names inspired by a Welsh legend, and we checked in to Blodeuwedd, the largest room which had a bright and airy feel thanks to the large bay window. Pink tapestry throws from local Trefriw Woollen Mills in Conwy, an original antique mirror and armchairs added to the welcoming feel of the space and all the comforts required for a pleasant stay were on hand.
After settling in we made our way down to the dining room where a Welsh dresser, grandfather clock and original wooden shelving added a charming atmosphere to the room. We sipped chilled prosecco at our candlelit table, before starting the meal with thick slices of homemade sundried tomato and oregano bread with local butter.
The dining offering at Tŷ Castell is focused on a Welsh tapas menu made with local and seasonal produce – dishes such as ox-tail and Welsh rarebit croquettes, ravioli of Beddgelert mushrooms with tarragon cream and spiced Mackerel Recheado with olive tapenade are ideal to share alongside a glass or two from the impressive wine selection.
Head Chef Robert Worgan’s creativity goes far beyond tapas however, and we were the first to sample his tasting menu set to make its debut soon. Succulent rib eye of beef with crispy reindeer moss foraged nearby in Anglesey got dinner underway in style. We moved on to celeriac slow – roasted in juniper and served with charred feta and dukka, another accomplished dish which showcased a flair for inventive cooking.
Roasted hand dived scallop served in the shell was another showstopper, with flavours of soy, Shio Koji, umami and air-dried tuna bringing in an oriental twist. The enticing courses kept on coming, with teriyaki short rib of beef, compressed pear and puffed rice the next to arrive, and the pear added a sweet and tangy quality to the tender beef.
Robert’s passion as a chef is obvious and he goes out of his way to create dishes which showcase his joy for cooking, putting his own stamp on the menu with recipes inspired by memories he cherishes.
The next course aptly demonstrated his ability to think outside the culinary box with sturgeon, Menai mussels, clams, pistachio crumb and lemon butter – a dish inspired by the world-renowned Noma, one of the only other restaurants to have sturgeon on the menu at the time. An interesting oriental treat was next, with traditional spring rolls updated as lamb crispy rolls served with pickled cucumber and smoky plum ketchup.
Two desserts rounded off the meal – first up the whimsical ‘memories of a custard tart’ made with Robert’s own recipe custard, topped with a shard of caramelised filo pastry. The second dessert wowed with refreshing flavours of compressed watermelon, Anglesey vodka, pineapple and yuzu granita, pineapple and ginger sorbet and creamy lemon posset. This was the kind of dessert you could happily eat every day, like summer in a bowl banishing any hint of the wintry Welsh evening outside.
After a luxuriant night’s sleep, we awoke to a tempting breakfast of porridge topped with candied walnuts, pistachio, strawberries and honey followed by local scrambled eggs, sausages and bacon on sourdough toast.
Delivering a blend of warm Welsh hospitality, exceptional cuisine and comfortable accommodation, Tŷ Castell is the perfect destination for a relaxing break. The central location is a further plus, as it is easy to wander around town and enjoy the spectacular views across the Menai Strait and Anglesey is only a short drive away if you want to explore a little further afield.
Rooms from £80
Tŷ Castell, Caernarfon LL55 1RN, Wales