5 Star Site Eatery Takes Home Top Award

By William Coleman

We all love a bit of posh fine dining now and then but it is not something that you would associate with an on site restaurant. Well, that has now changed following an award win for the Restaurant at the 5 star Islawrffordd Caravan Park, Talybont, Barmouth.

Nineteen.57 Restaurant at Islawrffordd Caravan Park has been named Best of North Wales at the Restaurant Awards 2019.

Very few sites that I have been to, apart from your resort style locations, have onsite restaurants. And the ones that I have come across have left a lot to be desired. That being said there are a select few who actually put as much pride into their eateries as they do their actual site. One such location, as mentioned above, is doing things differently to stand out from the rest.

The Nineteen.57 Restaurant and Bar swooped up the award at a ceremony held at The Exchange Hotel in Cardiff.

Chef Sion Wellings, who took over the lease of the restaurant with his mother, Iola, confessed to being surprised when he was told the restaurant was one of 10 in North Wales shortlisted for the award.

“Someone had nominated us for the award which came as a big shock to be honest,” he said. “We haven’t tended to enter awards or to seek recognition with stars. We have just focused on serving good quality food.

“It’s the first award we have won and we were not expecting it. I am due to leave in January to concentrate on working on my house, so it’s nice to finish on a high.”

Sion and Iola have run the restaurant for five years and he was previously sous chef at Portmeirion for eight years.

Sion made the award ceremony a family affair by taking his parents Paul and Iola Wellings, grandparents John and Jean Roberts, aunt Julie Hughes and sister-in-law Jamie Wellings.

The restaurant has held successful themed evenings, charity events, parties, weddings, afternoon teas for baby showers and numerous black-tie dinners over the past five years.

“Hard work, dedicated staff and a good working relationship with the owners have brought success to our business venture,” said Iola. “The owners have a restaurant and bar to be proud of for park customers and locals alike whose support has generated a winter and seasonal clientele.”

In a joint statement, the directors of Islawrffordd Caravan Park, Gwynfor, Dylan and Geraint Evans and John Billingham, congratulated Sion and Iola for their award success. “We would like to thank them for achieving everything we hoped our £750,000 investment in the restaurant and bar would bring,” they said.

“Whilst we are sorry to be losing them as tenants, we wish them every success with their change of direction and will be doing everything we can to ensure that the high standards set by Sion and Iola are maintained in the future.”

A spokesperson for award organisers said: “The awards have acknowledged the restaurants for the overall experience they provide to their guests, including the friendly staff, comfortable environment, excellent ambience and rich menu, amongst other criteria.

“We would like to congratulate all finalists and winners for contributing to making the country well known for its great food, creating an ideal destination for those who seek some time to relax, enjoying either a good street food or eclectic dishes.”

Located on the Cambrian Coast, Islawrffordd Caravan Park has 201 holiday homes, 75 fully serviced, hard standing touring caravan/motorhome plots and luxury facilities, including a heated indoor swimming pool, sauna and Jacuzzi.

The park was named Best Campsite in Wales by the AA in 2012 and was a finalist at the inaugural Mid Wales Tourism Awards in October.