[Llandudno] The Mediterranean

The restaurant is aptly named. Its menu meanders across the cuisines of the countries on the Med’s northern shores. So, expect to see pizza alongside Cypriot halloumi, Turkish meze and Spanish calamari. There’s even a nod much further north with the likes of a very British prawn cocktail. A restaurant that’s very much a Jack of All Trades, if you will.

There was a decent tzatziki to start. It was served with lots of warm pitta and a handful of salad (completely undressed). That was followed by a generously portioned chicken kebab. It had been marinated in oil, lemon and something containing a mild chilli such as pul biber. Nice. There’s rice, topped with a layer of bulgher wheat and, making sure you don’t go short of carbs, a flatbread. Alongside, there’s mushrooms and a grilled tomato. And a dish of garlic mayo that I know is traditionally served with chicken kebabs in Lebanon.

My companion in life went down the Italian route and did not get the best of the dinner choices. Bruschetta was toasted baguette drizzled with olive oil as you’d expect. But the topping of chopped tomato and olive was very meagre and not very flavoursome. As a main course, lasagne was also lacking the vibrancy of Italian flavourings. The mince was tasty enough in itself – in the way that you might have cooked it at home to put in a British meat pie. But there was little of the flavourings of Mediterranean herbs to give it a lift. It sat in a cheesy sauce. It was OK as such but was a pale imitation of a “proper” lasagne.

Service was mixed. Sometimes entirely on the boil. And other times not. For example, there was one young woman who would deserve a job in any top restaurant. She was constantly on the move round the room, scanning the tables to see if anything needed to be done. On the other hand, we ordered a large bottle of sparkling water. What came was a glass of water. We told the waitress what we’d ordered and just got a blank look. Literally. Another member of staff came over and said he’d sort it out. Then a third person arrived to tell us that, actually, they don’t do large bottles of water and would we like another glass. You have to wonder if they could organise a social event in a beer making facility.

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As folk know, I also post my reviews to Tripadvisor. From time to time, an owner comments on the review. This has been one and I thought folk here might be interested in reading it:

Thank you for your review even though I am at a loss as to see why you felt the need to write a whole essay on our preformance.

You are correct we do as we say provide a flavour for the Mediterranean with a slight hint to the UK diet, ie, Prawn Cocktail.

You go through your starters without much of a complaint, except you complain about no dressing on the salad. We do not put dressing on salad because everyone doesn’t want dressing, that’s why we provide dressings separately, so you can dress your salad to your particular taste. I am not apologying for giving the customer a choice instead of ruining their food with something that they might not want on their meal.

When it comes to your main course you are again satisfied except to say that we serviced you with garlic mayo. Neither in Turkey or Greece do they serve chicken kebab with mayo, garlic our otherwise they serve it with either tzatziki which is yoghurt, mint and garlic or Atom which is extremely spicy, yoghurt roast peppers, garlic and chilli. This is what we choice to serve Atom and it’s extremely popular. The only place that will serve mayo is a Kabab House, takeaway kababs which we are definitely not.
Your next critique is about our lasagne, well all I can say about this is that we have been selling the extra same recipe for more-than 26 yrs, and it’s extremely popular in our restaurant. If your wife didn’t like the meat, it wasn’t to her taste then that is fine we can’t please everyone all the time. BUT, you complain about the chessy sauce. You’re completely wrong here, Lasagne is based a betchemel sauce, not a cheese sauce in this restaurant and if your wife was expecting cheese no wonder she wasn’t satisfied.

I don’t mind at all any one criticising our food, but you are being picky and getting things wrong and that is why I am replying to you in full.

I apologise there was a mistake about the water, but that happens. My apologises for that.

This may turn into a saga but I decided I’d email the owner a response to their response

*I recently posted a review of our meal at the restaurant on Tripadvisor. Thank you for commenting on it. As you’ll have seen, I have posted 748 reviews and it’s always appreciated when an owner comments on the review. I thought it worth commenting further for your assistance. *

*You note that my review was something of a “whole essay”. It absolutely is. I mainly write reviews for a food website but also post them to Tripadvisor. Readers there expect the food and the experience to be properly described. And, indeed, I always think it more helpful to any reader to know what a reviewer thought of the food, rather than the many almost useless reviews which just tell you a place was “great” or “awful”. In my experience, owners who have commented on my reviews are usually appreciative that a reviewer has taken the trouble to discuss the food. *

With regard to the issue of salad dressing, I appreciate that restaurants may not wish to dress nor in these Covid times, to have oil and vinegar on the table. In such circumstances, it would be more hospitable for the staff member to offer dressing, rather than expecting the customer to know they have to ask for it. As I wrote, the main course was nice and was enjoyed. The comment about garlic mayo was that this is what it tasted like to me. I am familiar with both tzatziki and atom. This tasted like neither of them. It was obviously not the tzatziki that I’d enjoyed as a starter, nor did it have the spice that I would expect in atom. It did, however, taste very much like Lebanese toum which they serve with chicken kebab in that country – very similar to a French aioli or Spanish alioli (garlic mayo)

As for my companion’s lasagne, there was no criticism of the sauce. It was what it was. It was only mentioned because it tasted of cheese and was thinner rather than the expected béchamel. But, I as wrote, it was all OK but was a lasagne that could easily be much improved by a thicker béchamel and a more flavoursome ragu.

It was certainly a meal which gave both of us much to talk about, so thanks for that. For info, as a courtesy to you, I’ve posted your Tripadvisor reply on the food site I mainly wrote the review for.

Regards

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I missed this originally. Very entertaining. I kind of hope it does turn into a saga… Do keep updating if more transpires.

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Making noodles. Phongdien Town, Cantho City, Southern Vietnam.
Credit: CiaoHo