We were delighted to visit Sosban recently as guests of Executive Chef Andrew Sheridan. The English-born, honorary Welshman has been making quite a name for himself and the Llanelli restaurant since taking the helm back in 2017. Andrew's 'maverick style' and spectacular creations gained national interest during September, thanks to his appearance on the BBC's 'Great British Menu', where he competed with two other chefs to represent Wales at a banquet celebrating 70 years of the NHS.
Upon entering Sosban - which is housed in a listed Victorian Pump House just 10 miles west of Swansea - we were immediately greeted by a smiling member of staff, dressed immaculately and oozing the right amount of professionalism and hospitality that fits such a grand and impressive venue. We took our seats and discovered that not only would we be sampling Andrew's food at a table offering spectacular views of the building and surrounding dock, but that there'd be a full seven courses of it!
Sosban prides itself on offering a range of different menus to suit all occasions. Be that a set price light lunch, a full three course dinner or a traditional Sunday roast with a twist. The tasting menu we enjoyed was certainly worthy of a special celebration or indulgent treat.
Our journey into Andrew's foodie universe commenced with bread and butter. Now, we understand that isn't the most exciting way to start a dining experience, but true to Andrew talents this was served in a completely unique way. An organic, wholemeal loaf with butter options that included Shirgar Welsh and Marmite. An ideal way to get those taste buds ready for what was to come.
Keeping things light as to not fill our bellies too soon, our entry course was swiftly followed by a duo of palette pleasers. Crispy chicken skin on to which chicken parfait, elderflower jelly and grape chutney had been stacked. This was beautiful to look at, unlike anything we've seen on our culinary travels and goodness, it packed a punch on the flavour front! Once devoured we moved onto the sweet potato cracker with pickled mustard seeds, onion marmalade and cheddar custard. Just as appealing and equally as moreish.
For the fish course, everyone's favourite catch - cod! This simple three letter word can conjure up great memories for many of us and it's a brave man that attempts to alter a dish that is so engrained into the British cultural heritage.
In fact, it's a favourite of the chef himself; 'it makes me think of being on the beach as a kid eating fish and chips with my family.'
Of course, in true Sheridan style, the rule book was torn up and Andrew delivered us 'Cod- Five Ways'. Tiny morsels of flaky, white cod each cooked perfectly and served with a pea puree and salt and vinegar chips - though these were more like little, fluffy potato clouds. Presented exquisitely, this was a fish and chips on a fine-dining scale.
Half-way through our Sosban experience and we were starting to wonder how the next undoubtably pretty plate was going to improve on what we'd already tasted. Cue the ash-covered venison loin with beetroot ketchup, black pudding and blackberries. A triumph that seemed to perfectly fit the changing of the season into early Autumn, with its fragrant, game flavours and sharp late Summer berries. Again, a beautifully presented dish that was almost too pretty to eat, almost!
As if we hadn't spoiled ourselves enough, it was on to dessert - not just one, but two! First came a tantalising trifle consisting of recognisable flavours and some unexpected - lemon curd, pickled blackberries, whisky and elderflower jelly. Then rather than your standard, steaming cup of caffeine to finish everything off, we were delivered a coffee pannacotta with chocolate and coffee textures including a creamy ice-cream and brownie chunks. Heaven on a plate!
Andrew Sheridan's talent as a chef is undeniable. He uses seasonal flavours and ingredients to plate up just what people want to eat in a fun and modern way.
As the man says himself; 'Food to me, is one of the most beautiful things we can do to connect with nature in a variation of ways. It’s not just about the food we forage on the beach or the best quality meat and vegetables we source, it’s about bringing what we source and turning it into memorable food.'
We'll drink to that!
Sosban, North Dock. Llanelli, SA15 2LF
Lunch: Wed – Sat: Midday to 3.00 pm
Lunch: Sun: Midday to 4.00 pm
Dinner: Wed to Thu: 5.30 pm – 9:00 pm
Dinner: Fri to Sat: 5.30 pm – 09:30 pm