Find out whether the food lived up to the ‘Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen’ decor at this North Wales restaurant – Mark Williams

Offering a boutique escape with an eccentric feel due to its flamboyant rooms of antique furnishings, Osborne House provides an opulent atmosphere compared to the Victorian feel of its big sister, the long-established Empire Hotel.

The Grade II-listed townhouse  from the 1830s overlooks the promenade at Llandudno with the Great Orme set behind.

It was formerly the genteel summer residence of a wealthy merchant, and the refinement of the original house lives on with its interior furnished a bit like Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen designed it with a huge overblown budget.

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We walk into the bar area that certainly has a lot of style and looks a great place to relax with a drink and a newspaper.

The smart restaurant area is armed with dazzling chandeliers, gilt-edge mirrors and original art.

Our white cloth-covered table is surrounded by a wealth of rich fabrics and Roman-style columns. It makes a romantic backdrop for all-day food that has a diverse a la carte menu.

The menu options roam around the world with an emphasis on fish and a choice of grills, all of which are easy on the wallet. Piano music is piped to add to the atmosphere as we read the mouth-watering options lit by a multitude of candles.

I order a bottle conditioned dark porter made by the Conwy Brewery, while my wife has a glass of red wine that for some reason or other was half price for the evening.

Bang-bang shrimp at Osborne House, Llandudno

We get offered water and are presented with bread rolls and tasty dipping oil. I start with bang-bang shrimp, which was crispy and spicy with a hollandaise sauce to die for.

It was prepared and presented in a contemporary way on a bed of lettuce. I still crave this particular dish and wax lyrical long into the night, much to the annoyance of my better half.

 

My wife chooses from the specials slate that offers garlic mushrooms on brioche bread. This simply presented dish was full of flavour as her doorstep wedge of bread soaked up the moreish garlic sauce.

For my main, I go for pan-fried sea bass with garlic crushed peas and sweet potato fries. The mild tasting fish with a crispy exterior was a perfect flavour carrier for the garlic-crushed peas.

Garlic peas are something I had not really considered before, but they were really tasty and certainly livened up the old taste buds. The sweet potato fries make for a healthy alternative to chips but disappeared just as quickly.

Pan-fried sea bass with garlic crushed peas and sweet potato fries at Osborne House, Llandudno
Pan-fried sea bass with garlic crushed peas and sweet potato fries at Osborne House

My wife goes for a good old fashioned chicken dinner but this version had sausage meat, cranberry stuffing, bacon, fried sprouts, mashed potatoes, sage and cranberry jus to go with the succulent breast of chicken.

 

The bacon and sprouts were fried together and the mash soaked up the rich gravy flavour in true comfort food style. She was pretty full by the end of it so, sadly, we had no room left for the famous Osborne House pecan pie.

Roast breast of chicken at Osborne House, Llandudno
Roast breast of chicken at Osborne House

“I feel like I should be wearing a toga,” I romantically inform my wife as we sit beside the Roman backdrop nursing our drinks.

She instantly gives me a look which informs me that she is glad I am not, and I take that as my signal to ask for the bill.

Osborne House, Llandudno

The Bill

Bang Bang shrimp: 6.95

Garlic mushrooms on brioche: £5.75

Pan fried sea bass, garlic crushed peas and sweet potato fries: £14.95

Roast breast of chicken, sausage meat, cranberry stuffing, bacon, fried sprouts, mashed potatoes, sage and cranberry jus: £13.95

Telford Porter: £4.85

Red Wine 175ml: £2.43 (half price offer)

Total: £48.88

The Facts

Atmosphere: Lit by a multitude of candles with lavish drapes

Car parking: Car park for overnight guests

Disabled access: Ramp offers ground-floor access to the restaurant.

Service: Professional with an air of informality

Overall: Opulence galore but with lavish food to match

Opening Times: Every day from 11am to 9pm (9.30 Friday and Saturday)

Osborne House, Promenade, 17 North Parade, Llandudno, Conwy, LL30 2LP. Tel: 01492 860330.

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