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Award success for Star Carvery and Grill

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A SECRET gravy recipe guarded for over a century, and decades of experience in the pub trade helped the landlord of a Llanelli pub win a prestigious award.

The Star Carvery and Grill on Swansea Road recently won the Welsh Hospitality Award for Casual Dining Restaurant of the Year South West. Now in their second year, the awards are a celebration of the success of local professionals and establishments. The winners are a true reflection of high standard and customer service as they are chosen by members of the general public.

The award came as something of a surprise to Landlord Carl Bates, who wasn’t even aware that he had been nominated!

“They sent me an email, but I didn’t receive it, then on the Sunday I saw the event come up on Facebook and the winner was the Star Carvery and Grill – I could’ve hit the ground to be honest,” he said.

Carl has been at The Star since 2013, but his experience in the trade stretches back decades before that. He pulled his first pint in his father Dennis’ pub the Half Moon half a century back when still in school, and subsequently managed a number of popular Llanelli haunts – including Brannigan’s Nightclub.

“My father was the first man to do Sunday dinners and ‘pub grub’ in Llanelli, starting in the late ‘60s. Before that it was all pickled eggs and cockles,” he explained. Food has been a feature of Carl’s businesses ever since, and given that cooking runs in the family it has been a very successful part.

Over the years, Carl gained a reputation for ‘resurrecting’ pubs which were either closed or closing, and the Star Carvery and Grill was no exception. It had been closed for a year when he took it over in 2013, and since then the turnaround has been dramatic, with the restaurant topping Llanelli’s Tripadvisor rankings and being nominated for the Welsh Food awards four years in a row.

He attributes his success at the Star to a mix of good food and live music. Along with a Carvery which is widely recognised as the best in the town, the Star serves a range of traditional pub food at extremely competitive prices. Bands regularly play there, and Sunday night is open mic night.

Customers are also keen to sing the Star’s praises, which is reflected by a five-star rating on Tripadvisor: Customer reviews include:

“After reading other reviews we thought we’ll try the star and booked for Sunday Carvery, It was very nice to see a perfect host in Carl Bates who makes you feel welcome with his experience and knowledge knows how to deliver exceptional service. The Carvery was very good with a choice of three meats all very moist and tasty, there was a good selection of veg all finished off with a good old fashion proper gravy.”

“Literally the best carvery in Wales. I’ve had carvery all over wales and none have lived up to the star. The meat falls apart and all the veg has unique amazing tastes.”

The Star also boasts a team of friendly and professional staff, from Curtis, Kelly (Carl’s daughter) and Evelina in the kitchen to bar staff Adam and Jude, and Carl took the opportunity to thank all of them for their hard work.

When we asked Carl what made a good Sunday dinner the answer was simple – it’s all in the gravy; a secret recipe going back generations.

“My father Dennis was a chef and baker. Everyone talks about ‘Dennis’ famous gravy’ and the recipe dates back to his grandmother – a well-known local cook,” he explained.

“The recipe comes from pre-World War One. It’s all about the way she would prepare the meat, and the spices which go into the water to make up the stock.”

As to his success in a trade which many find increasingly difficult, Carl put that down to ‘a family network over the years’.

“From going into the game as a 14-year-old still at school to now, the one I have to thank for everything is my dad,” he added.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. David Royston Jones

    November 28, 2017 at 5:43 pm

    Well done to Carl he deserves it he done a great job in making the Star Hotel What is Today Great Cavery good music and what else can I say great service from all the staff I will be there soon to have that Beautiful Cavery well done Mr Bates or should I say Carl.Dave and Carol xx

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Drink driver hospitalised and arrested

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A MAN who was hospitalised after crashing his car on the B4310, Drefach, has also been arrested for drink driving.

The crash, which happened in the early hours of Sunday morning (Feb 18), destroyed the Mercedes he was driving.

He hit a van which was parked outside of a property, which was also damaged.

Dyfed-Powys Police, Welsh Ambulance Service, and Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service personnel attended the scene.

A spokesman for Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service said: “We were called to reports of a road traffic collision at 12.50am on Sunday morning on the B4310 in Drefach.

“We sent crews from Pontyates and Tumble at the scene and one male was cut out of a car using hydraulic cutting equipment and taken to hospital.”

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‘Connecting Carmarthenshire’ campaign takes a leap forward

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Making progress: Jonathan Edwards MP, Adam Price AM and Geraint Trello

EFFORTS to improve the availability of high speed internet and good mobile phone signal took a leap forward this week as EE sets about switching on new mobile phone masts and launches its 4G Home Broadband solution.

Representatives of EE came to Carmarthenshire this weekend to meet with Member of Parliament, Jonathan Edwards and Assembly Member, Adam Price who have led a ‘Connecting Carmarthenshire’ campaign.

Their meeting, which took place near the site of one of two new mobile phone masts near Abergorlech, focused on the upgrades and improvements the company is undertaking across rural Carmarthenshire, with a particular focus on EE’s new 4G Home Broadband solution which can provide superfast broadband via an antenna on the house – a solution EE says could help around 580,000 homes nationwide gain access to high speed connectivity.

The Plaid Cymru politicians said the new improved mobile signal was itself “a big advancement”, but said the launch of the 4G antenna was “a leap forward” for connecting rural Carmarthenshire communities.

Member of Parliament Jonathan Edwards said: “It was a pleasure to welcome EE to Carmarthenshire and continue our discussions on improving connectivity in rural Wales. One new mast will be switched on in Abergorlech in a matter of weeks, with another new mast for the Llansawel region with us later in the year.

“These new masts add to the 27 4G upgrades EE has carried out to existing sites in Carmarthenshire over the last 12 months, providing better coverage for rural communities including Llanybydder, Pencader and Llanarthne, adding to the upgrades from other mobile phone giants across the county.

“Perhaps the most impressive news this week is the launch of EE’s Home Broadband solution which, with the use of a small antenna on the home, can bring superfast broadband to the house. This looks like it could be the answer for many properties which have been left behind during the fixed line upgrades, or where they can only receive slower fixed broadband speeds.

“It’s not for an elected representative to promote a particular private company, but where there appears to be a solution for so many properties to get high speed internet, I have no problem in promoting the product – particularly because when it was trialed it delivered speeds over 100Mbps! This is a giant leap forward.

“Connecting Carmarthenshire is really starting to see positive results, but I’ll keep on working to ensure everyone I represent achieves good connectivity.”

Assembly Member Adam Price said: “The new sites in the Abergorlech area are the latest in a long time of upgrades in recent months, with the added bonus of those mobile signals being used for superfast internet in the home.

“Given that various grants for broadband solutions are available from the Welsh Government, we believe those who can’t get access to fixed broadband connections or receive a glacial pace connection may well be able to receive a grant to have products like 4G Home Broadband installed at their homes.

“I’d encourage anyone who is interested in a grant to cover the costs of delivering a step change in their broadband speeds to visit the Welsh Government’s website to check eligibility, or contact Jonathan and I where we can send information to them directly.

“More and more people across our Carmarthen East and Dinefwr constituency are seeing the benefits of good mobile phone signal and much faster broadband. We’ve still got a little way to go, but local residents are seeing big advancements. We’re delighted the Connecting Carmarthenshire campaign is delivering tangible results for the county.”

On the launch of EE’s 4G Home Broadband solution, Max Taylor, Managing Director of Marketing, EE said: “As our network continues to expand into some of the most remote parts of the UK, we’ve seen the amazing impact that 4G connectivity can have on rural communities. Our newest 4G home broadband router and antenna takes this one step further, ensuring thousands of families in rural areas across the UK could enjoy the benefits of superfast broadband inside their home for the very first time – whether video-calling the grandparents or streaming their favourite TV series.”

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4.4 magnitude earthquake felt across Wales

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AN earthquake of 4.4 magnitude has been felt across Wales and England this afternoon (Feb 17).

There are numerous reports of the earthquake being felt across west Wales, including Pembrokeshire, Carmarthenshire and Ceredigion.

The earthquake originated near Swansea, where it is was felt strongest, at around 2:30pm.

However, the earthquake was felt across Wales, and many parts of England.

The EMSC, an independent monitor of earthquakes, said: “Latest update of the effects of the #earthquake in #Swansea region. Was felt up to 300 km from epicentre.”

Dyfed-Powys Police received many reports about the incident, but said that there was no need for concern, and that they felt it themselves in their control room.

The police force said: “We are receiving an extremely high call volume reporting some sort of earth tremor in the area – we are receiving reports from across the whole of Wales (we felt it in our control room too!). For now – it is unexplained – but there is nothing to worry about.”

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