Situated in a Grade II listed building (and former pumping station) in Llanelli’s North Dock, Sosban is definitely one of the most interesting restaurants I have visited, with the exposed brick, high-ceilinged and wooden-beamed interior making it an absolutely beautiful place to enjoy dinner and drinks.
To break up a long drive back from Bluestone Resort in Pembrokeshire, I visited Sosban on a rainy Thursday evening when the restaurant was exceptionally quiet. This might sound like it would be bad news, but in fact, it made us feel like extra-special, VIP guests.
And of course, no matter how many people are dining around you (or not) it’s pretty impossible not to be impressed by these breathtakingly beautiful surroundings.
Apart from how strikingly beautiful Sosban was, the other thing that hit me was the smell. On the night we visited, the restaurant was full of big bouquets of Lillies – their strong scent really helped to add to the feeling of luxury and opulence.
After a quick look at the options, I decided to go instead for the vegetarian tasting menu, a six course feast which includes many of the same dishes as can be found a la carte, and is priced at £55pp. Anyone who orders the tasting menu at Sosban also gets the pleasure of having every dish hand delivered by chef Andrew Sheridan, who talks through how he creates each dish. This is a lovely touch that makes the whole experience feel even more special.
Because I was feeling fancy, I also ordered the matching wine flights, which cost an extra £32pp.
This slice of still-warm, pillowy potato bread was served with a ramekin of cloud-light potato foam, infused with chive butter and topped with shavings of potato crisps. I am still not sure how you ‘foam’ a potato, but however it’s done, it tastes bloody lovely. This was matched with an easy-drinking Campriano Pinot Grigio.
Next up; smooth Broccoli soup with salty Welsh blue Pearl Las cream, braised apple and celery and tempura broccoli. This was served with an indulgent glass of Henriot Champagne from the Reims region.
The third course was really interesting; hay-baked celeriac and a celeriac ‘ice-cream’ with a pour-over of smoked celeriac tea and celeriac textures. This dish was insane; I loved the contrast of temperatures and textures – it was served with a La Versant Pinot Noir that had lots of juicy, black-fruit flavour to temper the taste of the smoky celeriac tea.
Next, it was time for the Orzotto – an Italian dish similar to risotto, but made with pearl barley instead of rice. Sosban’s version was beautifully presented, and used a complex mix of fresh and fermented vegetables, and fresh and jellied herbs. This was paired with a full-bodied glass of El Viniculo La Mancha; an old vine Tempranillo aged in American oak.
By now, I was starting to feel rather full, but spurred on by the arrival of a fresh glass of honey-toned Torres Floralis Moscatel, I prepared to dive into my first dessert course; chunks of caramelised pineapple with coconut mousse, coconut ice-cream, a caramel-flavoured cream and coriander. This pairing of caramelised fruit with the floral, syrupy Moscatel was pretty lush.
And finally, the sixth course arrived; apple rice pudding served with hay ice cream and a sheet of caramelised milk skin (made by crisping up the skin that forms on top of the rice pudding, in the oven, with extra sugar). This was very similar to the dish which chef Andrew wowed the judges with on this year’s Great British Menu.
I really enjoyed the fact that this final course wasn’t quite so sickly-sweet, though this was more than compensated for by the accompanying Chateau Des Mailles dessert wine; thick and syrupy with hints of orange and caramel.
Executive Chef Andrew Sheridan has succeeded in creating an exciting menu full of seasonal ingredients, delicious flavours and beautifully plated dishes – and a standard of cooking that lives up to the expectations of this gorgeous building. What Ioved most about his cooking was his keenness for pickling, preserving and fermenting different ingredients; both for flavour and interest, but also so he can cook with ingredients in and out of season, all year round. Yes, it was technically impressive, but also, it just makes so much sense.
In a nutshell, we loved our evening at Sosban – the beautiful interior, the creative and exciting cooking and the spot-on service we had from the staff. The first thing we did on walking out the door was open maps on our phone – only to learn that Llanelli train station is just 0.5 miles away. Next time we visit (which will be very soon) we’ll be ditching the car, taking the train, and ordering the tasting menu with matching wine flights – this time for two!
Want to hear the very best news? You can get this same tasting menu from Sosban for a whopping 50% off on Travelzoo at the moment (see here) – making booking table ASAP an absolute no-brainer. You won’t regret it.