Culinary Causerie

With Lesley Williams

Welcome Inn

I have often driven along Llangyfelach Road on my way to Morriston Hospital and passed the unprepossessing signage of the Welcome Inn. I don’t know what made me turn up the long driveway – curiosity probably – but boy am I glad I did.

The Welcome Inn is a large detached building adjacent to Mynyddbach Chapel, which is now known as the Calon Lân Centre and is the site of Daniel James’ grave. James wrote the words for Calon Lân, undoubtedly one of Wales’ most well known and loved songs. Next year is the centenary of James’ death and there will be lots of celebrations taking place to mark the occasion. My research also threw up another interesting fact that Evan Walters the artist was born in the Welcome Inn in 1892. Evans trained at Swansea College of Art and had his first exhibition at the Glyn Vivian in 1920.

I have been told that the Welcome Inn is the second oldest pub in Swansea, after the Cross Keys, but I haven’t been able to verify this. I suspect that maybe the inn that stood on this site might have dated back to the 16th century but it has been extended over the years and little of the original remains.

The bright and airy bar area that is encountered as you step through the front door is far removed from its exterior. There is also a large conservatory cum dining room with views over the vast gardens, which feature a newly decked area and plenty of lawns. Being set so far back from the main road you really get the feeling that you are in a country pub as there is no road noise.

We found a bench in the garden and sat with our drinks while we looked at the menu. As luck would have it the chef was single-handed in the kitchen so only the short menu was available, but this still offered a good choice of home-made soup of the day – carrot and coriander, pate, nachos and garlic mushrooms. Liz our photographer and her partner Gareth were with us, so it was a simple choice of one of each – like all families, we were happy to dive in and share. The soup was excellent it had a velvety smooth texture, great flavour and best of all it was piping hot. The creamy garlic mushrooms were as described – creamy and garlicky. The nachos were generously topped with jalapeno peppers that provided a fiery kick and a thick layer of melted cheese, along with the obligatory little pots of guacamole, soured cream and tomato salsa. I missed out on the pate that was served with a healthy dollop of onion marmalade but judging by the empty plate I am to assume that it was good.

I had originally been concerned that the vegetarian option was a mushroom stroganoff as Liz must be the only vegetarian who doesn’t like fungi. Fortunately, there was an avocado and sweet potato tian on offer. Technically a tian is a casserole cooked in an earthenware pot of the same name, but it seems that it is now used for any layered dish. This one looked very pretty with its shades of pale green and orange. Sweet potato is my bête noire, so I wasn’t tempted to try it, but that didn’t matter as I was more than happy with my salmon in pink peppercorn sauce. Gareth’s grilled gammon steak with pineapple and Simon’s hunter’s chicken were both accompanied by some very fine home cooked chips.

If I was going to make one criticism, it would be that the jacket potatoes weren’t oven baked. A perfectly baked, humble spud can be elevated to a thing of greatness with the simple addition of a good knob of salty Welsh butter.

The Welcome Inn is certainly value for money with the meal for four coming in at just a whisker over £65.

Open daily for lunch, afternoon tea and dinner. You will find the full menu on www.welcomeinns.co.uk

Welcome Inn, Llangyfelach Road, SA5 7HT Tel: 01792 793548


Bone Broth

When I first heard the term ‘bone broth’ I must admit I did have a little giggle to myself. I was raised on soup in many different forms but they all started with my mother boiling up chicken carcasses or beef bones depending on which type of soup was on the menu.

As far as I can see ‘bone broth’ is a trendy name for stock – you roast the bones and then simmer them in water and vegetables until you have a flavoursome liquid. Yep, just as my mum and my grandmother before her did to make soup!

But is it really the new elixir of life? I’ve tried to find out more about the collagen that is extracted from the marrow bones to see if it really can be absorbed by the body to regenerate aging skin – it seems the jury is definitely out on this one, but what is certainly true is that it is very nutritious. Calcium, magnesium, copper, iron, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, sodium and zinc are just some of the minerals found in bones and are all essential for our daily health.

Bone broth or stock, the name doesn’t matter, but I wonder if the bones that the butcher used to give away or charged a few pennies for will now be premium priced.

 

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