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.
Baby died an hour after birth following ‘failings’ by Health Board
A BABY died just minutes after being born following failings by Hywel Dda Health Board, a damning report by the Public Services Ombudsman has found.
Callum James was born at Glangwili Hospital in Carmarthen on May 5, 2016, but died less than an hour later despite attempts to resuscitate him.
His parents, Ellie and Christopher James from Haverfordwest, complained that there had been a failure to monitor Callum’s development during pregnancy and to provide a birthing plan.
Mrs James also complained that the Health Board failed to respond to unusual pains during labour and to conduct necessary tests.
The report states there were also delays in Callum receiving treatment after he was born due to the First Consultant being sent to the wrong ward, delaying emergency treatment by 12 minutes.
The Health Board said that, in its view, there were no unnecessary delays in the attempts to resuscitate Callum, as the midwives in attendance had been trained in neonatal resuscitation.
In addition, the Ombudsman found that Callum’s death was also incorrectly registered as a stillbirth rather than neonatal death.
The report says Callum was ‘pale’ and ‘floppy’ at birth and immediately transferred to a resuscitation table where a team of medics worked for over half an hour to save his life.
The Ombudsman upheld the complaint that there had been a failure to monitor Callum’s development during pregnancy and labour and to provide a birthing plan.
Hywel Dda agreed to implement all of the Ombudsman’s recommendations, including providing Callum’s parents with an apology and £4,500 for the distress caused.
The Board also agreed to change Callum’s cause of death from ‘stillborn’ to ‘neonatal death’.
3,000 Welsh landlords still unregistered
JANET FINCH-SAUNDERS AM has called on the Welsh Government to urgently work to improve landlord registration under Rent Smart Wales, as estimates released indicate around 3,000 remain unregistered.
Ms Finch-Saunders said: “Rent Smart Wales estimates that still 3,000 landlords are unregistered here in Wales.
“Whilst that makes up a small percentage of our total landlords, it is most concerning for those living in properties leased to them by those who have not yet registered.
“The Welsh Government has confirmed that a landlord who is not registered with Rent Smart Wales is unable to serve a valid Section 21 eviction notice – so where unregistered landlords do indicate that they want tenants to vacate a property, this is not recognised by local housing associations, which can cause stress to tenants who may not be aware of their full rights under the law.
“By focusing on ensuring that all landlords are properly registered, the Welsh Government can alleviate such concerns, and I will be urging the Cabinet Secretary to act to ensure all landlords are abiding by this legislation in full.”
The Minister for Housing and Regeneration told Ms Finch-Saunders that the latest figures released by Rent Smart Wales show that 90,812 landlords are now registered. Rent Smart Wales’ latest estimate for the number of unregistered landlords is approximately 3,000.
This is based on the dwelling stock estimates recently published by StatsWales, and an estimation of the average number of properties owned by each landlord.
Care home honour Armed Forces Day
PLAS Y DDERWEN in Johnstown will be celebrating Armed Forces Day on Thursday, June 28, with a big brew up supporting SSAFA – the Armed Forces charity.
SSAFA – the Armed Forces charity, formerly known as Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association, provides lifelong support to serving men and women and veterans from the British Armed Forces and their families. Armed Forces Day is a chance to show support for the men and women who make up the Armed Forces community.
Janet Williams, Activities Coordinator, said: “It is very important that we keep the memories of those who fought alive and that we also think about those involved in conflicts around the world today. We welcome anyone that wishes to attend and will have the chance to meet the team and look around the home.”
Plas Y Dderwen is part of Barchester Healthcare, one of the UK’s largest care providers, supporting older people living independent lives over the last 25 years.
Barchester services include residential care and nursing care as well as expert dementia care.
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