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.
‘Knife attacker’ remanded into custody
A CARMARTHEN man accused of ‘repeatedly’ stabbing another man in Bridge Street on Friday (Dec 8) was remanded into custody until January.
Gareth George Edwards, 44, of Priory Street, indicated two guilty pleas to charges of maliciously wounding Michael Byard with the intent of causing grievous bodily harm and possessing a bladed article in a public place, namely a kitchen knife.
Representing Edwards, David Williams made no submissions at this stage.
No application for bail was made, and Edwards was remanded into custody until he appears at Swansea Crown Court on January 8.
A Dyfed-Powys Police spokesperson said: “Following an incident in Bridge St, Carmarthen on Friday afternoon, Dec 8, at around 4.30pm, three people have been charged.
“A 44 year old man has been charged with Section 18 Assault and Possession of an Offensive Weapon and is due appear at Llanelli Magistrates court today, Dec 11.
“A 50 year old man has been charged with Common Assault and bailed to appear at Llanelli Magistrates Court on Thursday, Dec 28.
“A 43 year old woman has been charged with Assault and bailed to appear at Llanelli Magistrates Court on Thursday, Dec 28.”
Snow causes school closures across county
SEVERAL snows across Carmarthenshire are closed today (Dec 11) as heavy snowfall overnight has caused hazardous conditions.
The current list of schools closed in Carmarthenshire this morning consists of:
- Brynasaron (Llangeler)
- Cae’r Felin
- Carreg Hirfaen
- Rhys Prichard Llandovery
- Talley / Talyllychau
All of the closures cite snow as the reason.
The council’s website states for Talley / Talyllychau: “The majority of staff are unable to make it in, plus the taxi service have informed us that they are unable to collect the children from the most rural areas.”
Over the weekend a weather warning was issues for the majority of the UK as snow fell and temperatures dropped.
You can check the status of your child’s school on the Carmarthenshire County Council website: http://www.carmarthenshire.gov.wales/home/residents/education-schools/emergency-school-closures#.Wi5Sokpl_IU
Christmas parcel delivered to Glangwilli Hospital
BLISS, the UK’s leading premature and sick baby charity, has donated Christmas parcels to every neonatal unit in Wales – including Glangwilli Hospital – to make sure that babies and their parents know that they are not alone this Christmas.
The Christmas gifts will arrive at the neonatal units this week and will be distributed by unit staff and volunteers.
The parcels, which also contain gifts for parents, comprise of: a Bliss teddy bear, dungarees, photo frame, children’s book, snacks and toiletries. The parcel includes additional information about the support parents can receive from Bliss. The majority of these gifts have been donated by Bliss’ corporate partners including Pampers, Mothercare, Barnack Confectionary and Mush.
Caroline Lee-Davey, Chief Executive at Bliss said: “Having a baby on the neonatal unit can be an isolating experience for parents – especially at Christmas. We hope through this small gesture, we can let parents know that they aren’t alone.
“Bliss would like to thank all of our corporate partners who helped to make this project possible. We hope that if the scheme is successful we will be able to roll the Christmas parcels out nationwide in future to reach all parents with a baby in neonatal care at Christmas.”
Head of Nursing for Children’s Services for NHS Wales Eirlys Thomas said: “On behalf of all the parents and babies we would like to thank Bliss for their kind donations. They will certainly cheer up all the parents who will need to spend Christmas in hospital with their babies.”
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