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Forage to fork – launch of annwn restaurant at the little retreat

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Annwn food

ANNWN is a unique, fine dining destination that exploits the rich foraging potential of the local Welsh landscape in the heart of the stunning Pembrokeshire Coast National Park.

Annwn – the name given to the Otherworld in Welsh mythology, has opened its doors on the site of the idyllic Little Retreat at Lawrenny near an ancient woodland and on the banks of the stunning Cleddau estuary.

The restaurant offers diners entry to a world of exquisite, local sustainable and foraged produce – a new Welsh dining experience. It is the creation of local chef Matt Powell who has worked at Michelin Star establishments over many years, and has successfully run his Fishing and Foraging Wales business to show the delights of the Pembrokeshire coastline to audiences from all over the world.

Matt is bringing this knowledge and passion for the finest food at close hand to the Annwn menu, giving it a true sense of place. The single menu shuns food miles in favour of local seasonal and foraged produce that showcases Wales’ wild ecosystems and the incredible quality and diversity of local sustainable producers.

Matt says: “Pembrokeshire is the county I love, live and work in, both on land and sea, and it offers so much for a world class dining experience. I want Annwn to tell a story and offer a glimpse into this part of the world that’s home to some of the best raw ingredients in the world. Here, I really want to push the boundaries of a new style of Welsh cuisine.”

Annwn sits in a walled garden, hosting just 12 people per sitting, and is the latest attraction at Little Retreat, a glamping sanctuary with wellbeing at its heart, where people come from afar to escape, relax, restore and reconnect with nature in a beautiful corner of the world. 

It is also the venue for the Big Retreat Festival, the ultimate feel good event which returns June 3-6 2022 with a line-up of excitement, adventure, music and magic in the shape of headliners Toploader, Reef, comedy from the likes of Scummy Mummies, plus wellbeing experts such as Richie Norton and the legendary Mr Motivator.

Matt Powell

Little Retreat’s owner is wellbeing expert Amber Lort-Phillips, who said: “Matt is such a talent and has an intrinsic understanding of the foods that live and grow in this very special environment.

Annwn perfectly complements what we have created here at Little Retreat, giving diners the

opportunity to reconnect with nature through the highest quality food creations.”

Little Retreat’s luxury Domes and Stargazers offer the perfect back to nature escape, with the opportunity to explore the local coastline, rivers and inland waterways through wild swimming, or by boat, kayak or stand up paddle boards. Here they run a series of Feel Good Retreats throughout the year, with condensed versions of the annual Big Retreat festival.

Growing up in Wales, Matt was foraging from a young age, he fished his local rivers for brown trout and sewin (sea trout), becoming a full-time bass angling guide for several years.

Leaving culinary college, Matt worked at Raymond Blanc’s renowned Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, before moving on to the kitchens of a variety of high-level restaurants in Ireland, the UK and Europe.

He returned to found Fishing and Foraging Wales in 2012, taking visitors on sustainable and responsible adventures of exploration, educating them on the quality of the produce surrounding them. This experience will continue, with Matt running foraging and dining workshops with a small but extremely knowledgeable team at Annwn.

Annwn will feature dishes such as slow cooked duck egg yolk with hedgerow plants and fungi sauce, as well as lobster and laver seaweed with estuary plants and lobster sauce. The menu will change with the seasons, shunning food miles in favour of local seasonal and foraged produce such as velvet swimming crabs, wild mushrooms, vegetables grown in the Little Retreat walled garden, meat from nearby farms, and Welsh wines.

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Demolition underway at Haverfordwest’s Western Quayside

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DEMOLITION WORK is underway at Western Quayside in Haverfordwest (the former Ocky White building) as part of a major construction project to redevelop the site.

Commenced earlier this year, the project will provide a modern and stylish three-storey development, including a food emporium, bar and roof-top terrace.

The Pembrokeshire County Council scheme incorporates public realm improvements including an attractive waterfront square with space for events which could extend its use into the early evening.

The demolition is due to be finished by mid-December, when works will move on to the installation of the substructure foundations and then onto the steel work installation in the New Year. The project is anticipated to be complete in early 2023.

The scheme is funded by the Welsh Government Transforming Towns programme and the Building for the Future programme through the European Regional Development Fund. The contractors are John Weavers Ltd.  

Rachel Moxey, Head of Economic Development and Regeneration, said the development, combined with its potential for leisure and community use, aimed to encourage greater vitality and resilience within the town centre over time.

“The project is evidence of the Authority’s commitment to support the regeneration of Pembrokeshire’s county town,” she said. “Not only will it help drive footfall to Haverfordwest, it will also support business growth and create an additional community hub.”

Minister for Climate Change Julie James said: “Our Transforming Towns programme is providing £136 million to further support the economic and social recovery of town and city centres across Wales, building on existing investment of £800 million in over 50 of our towns since 2014.

“Transforming Towns is focussed on improving biodiversity and green infrastructure, repurposing neglected properties, increasing flexible working and living space, and providing access to services.

“Our town centre first policy means that town centres should be the first consideration for all decisions on the location of workplaces and services. Our town and city centres face many challenges which have been exacerbated by the pandemic.

“That’s why we are investing heavily to ensure that our towns not only survive but thrive, and we are brave in reinvigorating them into places where people want to spend their time.”

Local County Councillor Tom Tudor welcomed the progress on site: “Combined with other initiatives taking place, I am very optimistic that Haverfordwest Town Centre will become a thriving commercial and residential location of choice, creating a distinct destination and sense of place,” he said.

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Businesses given opportunity to ‘meet the buyer’ for Greenlink interconnector

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A ‘Meet-the-Buyer’ day for potential suppliers will be held in Pembroke Dock on Wednesday 3 November for the Greenlink electricity interconnector project, which is scheduled to start construction in early 2022.  Greenlink will link the GB and Irish electricity transmission systems via 190km of underground and subsea cables between Pembrokeshire and Wexford, Ireland, and is one of Europe’s most significant energy infrastructure projects. 

The Meet-the-Buyer event will be an opportunity for businesses in the area to hear the latest news about the project, including the construction programme, to meet representatives from the appointed EPC contractors Siemens Energy and Sumitomo Electric, to discuss what their business can offer and to find out how to bid for contracts. 

James O’Reilly, CEO of Greenlink Interconnector Limited, said; 

“Greenlink will provide benefits to both Ireland and Wales in terms of employment, security of supply and the integration of low carbon energy sources. Greenlink, Siemens Energy and Sumitomo Electric are committed to offering local supply chain opportunities wherever possible and we encourage businesses who feel they can offer goods or services to come along and meet the team to find out more.” 

Chris Turner, Senior Project Manager at Siemens Energy said; 

“During the construction phase, there will be a requirement for a range of goods and services, from office cleaning, site security and local accommodation, to fencing, scaffolding and minor civils works.  We would encourage local businesses to check the full list of what we might be looking for and we look forward to discussing opportunities with them at the event.” 

Advance registration for the event is essential.  Meetings can be booked by visiting: https://wales.business-events.org.uk/en/events/greenlink-interconnector-meet-the-buyer-event/ 

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KFC Pembroke Dock will open doors officially next month following trial

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KFC in Pembroke Dock will open its doors to the public next month, following a trial run for friends and family of employees.

The store has also been opening for time-to-time without the drive-thru to the public, and queues have been long.

There has been some confusion with the public thinking that the outlet is already open properly, but friend chicken fans will have to wait a little longer for the entire service until the new store officially opens.

On their Facebook page the company said: “There’s been a lot of speculation, we did a test lunch on October 20 for friends and family.

“If all goes well we will be open very soon.”

A spokesperson for KFC Pembroke Dock later told The Pembrokeshire Herald: “We’re looking for a grand opening on November 3, but that date could still change.”

KFC Pembroke Dock posted on Facebook on Monday saying: “Good evening to you all.

“As you may have noticed we have been temporarily opening our doors to help our staff training and test our equipment.

“This has not been an official open as nothing has been announced from us. “We still do not have an official full opening date as we are still managing some technical problems.

“We apologise for the queue times and wait times and assure you we are doing everything we can to get your food to you as soon as possible.

“I understand it can be frustrating. Our staff team are all working their hardest to deliver you gold standard products, and we will not tolerate any abusive behaviour towards any member of staff.

“Our delivery will be online soon after we officially open, along with drive thru.

“Thank you to everyone who has visited us already and we look forward to seeing you soon.”

Local Dai Morgan said: “I had food from you the other night and must say it was bloody lovely only a 20-minute wait for it which considering how busy it was that was OK can’t wait for the drive through to be open!”

Lynda Worrell said: “I went there this evening (Monday) and waited 50 minutes got home all my food was wrong, they shouldn’t open to the public if not ready or at lol least tell us that there still on a trial run.

Mike Axford-Miles replied by saying: “Calm down… they just opened the doors, new staff, new starts, I waited 30 minutes for fast food, I understand that they had been open for 1 day, so didn’t complain. Did you actually see how busy they were. They didn’t stop. And let’s face it, KFC coming to Pembrokeshire is like the second coming of Jesus Christ.”

New Pembroke Dock store as it neared competition earlier this month (Pic KFC Facebook)

DID YOU KNOW ?

KFC was founded by Colonel Harland Sanders, an entrepreneur who began selling fried chicken from his roadside restaurant in Corbin, Kentucky during the Great Depression.

KFC: One of the first American fast-food chains to expand internationally, opening outlets in Canada, the United Kingdom, Mexico by the mid-1960s.

Sanders identified the potential of the restaurant franchising concept and the first “Kentucky Fried Chicken” franchise opened in Utah in 1952.

KFC popularized chicken in the fast-food industry, diversifying the market by challenging the established dominance of the hamburger.

By branding himself as “Colonel Sanders”, Harland became a prominent figure of American cultural history and his image remains widely used in KFC advertising to this day.

However, the company’s rapid expansion overwhelmed the aging Sanders and he sold it to a group of investors led by John Y. Brown Jr. and Jack C. Massey in 1964.

KFC was one of the first American fast-food chains to expand internationally, opening outlets in Canada, the United Kingdom, Mexico and Jamaica by the mid-1960s. Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, it experienced mixed fortunes domestically, as it went through a series of changes in corporate ownership with little or no experience in the restaurant business.

In the early 1970s, KFC was sold to the spirits distributor Heublein, which was taken over by the R. J. Reynolds food and tobacco conglomerate; that company sold the chain to PepsiCo.

The chain continued to expand overseas, however, and in 1987 it became the first Western restaurant chain to open in China.

It has since expanded rapidly in China, which is now the company’s single largest market. PepsiCo spun off its restaurants division as Tricon Global Restaurants, which later changed its name to Yum! Brands.

KFC’s original product is pressure fried chicken pieces, seasoned with Sanders’ recipe of 11 herbs and spices.

The constituents of the recipe are a trade secret. Larger portions of fried chicken are served in a cardboard “bucket”, which has become a feature of the chain since it was first introduced by franchisee Pete Harman in 1957.

Since the early 1990s, KFC has expanded its menu to offer other chicken products such as chicken fillet sandwiches and wraps, as well as salads and side dishes such as French fries and coleslaw, desserts and soft drinks; the latter often supplied by PepsiCo.

KFC is known for its slogans “It’s Finger Lickin’ Good!”, “Nobody does chicken like KFC” and “So good”.

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