If you’ve not been to The Ship Inn in Port Eynon for a few years, you’re going to want to pay them another visit. Since being taken over by The Gower Brewery in 2014, it’s had a fancy refurb and gained a new chef, so I took a trip to this beautiful part of the country to see how things have changed.
The Ship was added to The Gower Brewery‘s small portfolio of local pubs in the summer of 2014, and joins The Greyhound Inn, and one of my favourite places in the world, The Kings Head Inn in Llangennith. It has been undergoing a schedule of renovations and improvements ever since they took it on, and the decor is now distinctly cosy and nautical themed, making it the perfect spot for a casual candlelit dinner.
We visited this new incarnation of The Ship on Valentine’s Day, to try out a special one-night-only set menu – priced very reasonably at £18.95pp with a £2 supplement for the sharing platters. This was the creation of their new head chef, Chris Keenan, who has over 20 years’ experience in professional, prestigious hotel kitchens such as the Grosvenor House Hotel in London. Now establishing himself as a leading chef in Wales, Chris is passionate about using Welsh produce, and aims to use local ingredients in his dishes wherever he can – in fact the new menu (more on that later) even includes a nod to the new owners in his Gower Gold battered cod & chips.
Anyway, back to our romantic dinner! After building up a huge appetite walking on Llangennith beach in frozen temperatures that afternoon, we decided to start with a seafood platter to share – four plump, juicy scallops with the roes still attached; a generous pile of chunky, palm-sized mussels; and meaty, garlicky pink prawns served with fresh bread and a mini side-salad.
I’m not sure whether we were expected to de-shell the prawns with knife and fork, but we weren’t initially given a finger bowl – we got one as soon as we asked though, so it was no big deal. I would recommend doing the same and not trying to do it with cutlery – prawns that big, fat and juicy just need you to get stuck straight in!
For the main course, Pete ordered the guinea-fowl breast with dauphinoise potatoes, and I went for the bon bon of confit Gower lamb. This was a very generous portion of shredded, succulent lamb, wrapped up in a couple of savoy cabbage leaves and served with caramelised shallot creamed potato, and a redcurrant jus. Whilst Pete’s main was a lovely balance of delicate flavours (and the kind of thing I would usually choose), mine was just what I needed after a day of being battered by the bracing sea winds – bold and rich, and so moreish I think I scoffed the lot in five minutes flat!
Throughout our meal, the attention from the waitress was spot on – keeping our glasses topped up and the service super-friendly, but leaving us to our own romantic (as if) chat as we dined. In fact, I blame her hospitality for our decision to stick around long enough to order the sharing cheese board to finish…
Served along with a delicious Quince jelly, I am not sure what exact cheeses we ate, as they weren’t labelled on the menu (which would have been a nice touch). There was a soft white, a brie and a waxed cheddar – all of which were all gorgeous but especially the blue – a cheese I normally can’t handle, but this one was at just the right level of ‘smelly sock’!
All in all, the atmosphere, service and food at The Ship Inn were all delightful and we had a really lovely evening – I can’t wait to bring my friends and family down here in the summer to show them how it’s changed since we drank here donkey’s years ago. If you’re thinking of making the trip yourself, here’s a peek at the new ‘everyday’ menu which launches today alongside an ever-changing special board.
What do you think? Will you be paying The Ship Inn a visit this summer? Let me know in the comments below.