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Twelve regional eateries go head to head to celebrate the best of local produce and culinary talent!

To celebrate the 2018 Welsh ‘Year of the Sea’ – the North East Wales Tourism & Marketing team laid down the challenge to local eateries to devise a dish that would celebrate the regions amazing coastline, epic inland waterways and great local produce.


From next Monday, twelve restaurants and cafes in the region will be serving up their interpretations of the classic fish & chips (but with a twist!) or their surf & turf dishes – all taking inspiration from the ‘Year of the Sea’ theme and working with local producers where possible.


The challenge has been backed by the Welsh Governments Regional Tourism Engagement Fund (RTEF) following the success of food challenges in previous years (…think back to the NE Wales Pie Challenge in 2017 and the Wrexham Burger Challenge in 2015!)


Restaurants taking part have to serve their dish up on a special board from next Monday through until 11th February – and during this time, they’ll be expected to promote the Year of the Sea through their dish and each will receive two mystery diners who will rate the dish on presentation and taste, plus the awareness of the Year of the Sea amongst staff.


Following this, the three highest scoring businesses will then go head to head in a cook off on 16th February – after which a winning dish will be selected.  The winning team will receive a trophy, along with the chance to serve up their dish at food festivals later in the year and feature in national press about Wales’ food scene.


Speaking about the challenge, Destination Manager at Wrexham Council Joe Bickerton, part of the NE Wales Marketing team added;


“It’s fantastic to see a wide variety of entries again this year – and further highlights the superb level of creativity of our chefs in North East Wales along with the availability of great local produce!  We really hope that over the next month, diners across the region and those visiting the area enjoy trying new places and give the Year of the Sea dish a try in each venue”.


1. Gales Llangollen (surf and turf dish will be Pen y Lan pork belly, saffron mash, American sauce, langoustine, and quails egg)


2. Old Wives Tales Corwen (Local Denbighshire pork & cockles) 


3. Fat Boar Mold (Prosciutto wrapped pork tenderloin, smoked paprika, prawn & chorizo risotto, buttered kale, prawn bisque)


4. Druid Inn (‘OMC! Oh My Cod' – Cod Supreme, Parmentier Potatoes, Pea Puree, Batter Scraps & Malt Vinegar Caramel.


5. Fat Boar Wrexham (18oz bone in Celtic pride ribeye, giant crab claws, Perl las sauce. Crispy Spiralized Covent Garden potato, Anglesey salted roast tomato and Wrexham lager battered onion rings)

6. Lot 11 Wrexham (Reef and Beef Open Sandwich - Griddled Rump Steak, Sautéed Mushrooms, Lemon Dressed Prawns + Basil Mayonnaise on Toasted Sourdough)


7. Croes Howell ( posh “fish and chips” - cod fillet wrap in crispy potato. Pea and mint purée, aerated tartare sauce, prosecco batter scraps and lemon crisp) 


8. Royal Oak Bangor on Dee (surf & slurp - a winter hearty dish that will warm you up from the inside. Braised Pork & Mussels)


9. Lemon Tree Wrexham (fish and chips with a twist - pan roasted cod loin, cider braised pigs cheek, pea puree & a saffron tartare sauce).

10. Holt Lodge, Wrexham ("Chip n Fin" -  served in newspaper made in the shape of a boat which reflects the sea theme. The newspaper will be headlined Holt Lodge and include some hot off the press stories all based around Wales and include some quirky captions such as There’s No Plaice Like Holt Lodge. In the boat will be served plaice and mussels.  The dish will be served with Posh Peas ands will be a take on French Peas, so they are being called Peas de Gallos which means peas of Wales. The peas will be cooked with leeks, bacon lardons, gem lettuce & garlic butter


11. Hafod Restaurant, Coleg Cambria, Wrexham – (Surf & Turf); Duo of Llyfasi lamb, salt cod brandade, spring greens, cockle sauce vierge finished with a rosemary and red currant jus.


12. The Alyn, Rossett - Salmons got Sole. The dish consists of battered Salmon and Sole Chunky Chips held in a Bale of Potato String Pea Puree and Lemon Gel, Garnished with Charred Lemon and Pea Shoots. 

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