There is something very special about Llangoed Hall. Set in the middle of practically nowhere in the Brecon Beacons, the impressive mansion house is almost hidden from view when driving on the main road, but once you drive down the entrance way and turn the corner you are immediately hit with its splendour.
The mansion house is the former dwelling of Laura Ashley, and the décor with its oldie worldly furnishings and rich fabrics is in keeping with her style.
We went to Llangoed Hall for a special birthday lunch for my mum. Me and my dad had even made the 3 hour round trip drive to the place a month or so previously (in true secret agent style) to vet the venue and see whether it would be suitable, which we quickly concluded that it would in fact be perfect.
With my mum’s birthday falling on Valentines day, we envisaged that the place would be full of couples having a tête-à-tête, and felt our party of 5 adults and 3 children would probably not quite fit in with the romantic setting.
We therefore opted for private dining, which was ideal. As it happens, there wasn’t really an option of eating in the main restaurant anyway, as children under the age of eight are not permitted to dine in there.
As you may guess from this, Llangoed Hall is not particularly geared for families. There are no children menus, no high chairs and no baby changing facilities.
When we visited the staff were in fact lovely with our children, so I can’t say it’s not family friendly, it’s just clearly not targeting families to stay or dine there.
The room we had for private dining was wonderful. It was a spacious room, but small enough that we didn’t feel lost in it. They had laid it out perfectly, with some beautiful flowers, white crisp table cloths and china and crystal ware. Even when my husband ordered a pint as an aperitif it was served in a crystal pint glass.
We had two waiting staff looking after us, both efficient and friendly and both patient and charming with the children. As there were no high chairs my 21 month old was given a cushion to sit on, which she perched on like a little princess, just about reaching the table.
Only problem for us was that she wasn’t strapped in which meant that she did get up and down quite a bit, but as we were in our own room didn’t matter.
We were given our menu’s for the 3 course lunch menu which was of good value at £19.95 for three courses.
The choice was limited by any standards, with just three choices for each course. The choice for starter was between a poached egg and haggis, leek and potato soup and mackerel.
Four of us opted for the soup, which was a creamy leek and potato soup served with hafod cheese beignets. Not being a cheese lover I had mine without the beignets, but the others that did, felt that it injected a nice hit of cheese which elevated the dish to more than just a soup.
Saying that I was still more than happy with mine, it was a gorgeous flavour and on a wet and windy day was pure comfort in a bowl and I mopped it all up with a helping of the homemade bread.
My dad was the only one to order the mackerel, which was served with rhubarb and puffed rice, which was reportedly very nice.
Whilst my little ones aren’t particularly fussy, the food was too rich and fancy for them and so we were given the lounge menu to choose from. I had asked whether they would do smaller portions from the lounge menu, but this is not something they offer (I revert back to my earlier, observation that this is not really a place for kiddies).
The quality of their food was indeed very good, and the portions hearty, the burger was thick and succulent with lots of melted cheese in a sesame topped bun with yummy skinny chips and the sausages were fat and juicy with a smooth mash and rich gravy.
If I had ordered them for myself, in this sort of establishment and setting, I wouldn’t have quibbled at the price at all, but to pay £16.50 and £15.00 respectively for two little kiddies seemed rather extortionate.
For mains, the choice was between suckling pork, welsh sirloin or plaice fillet. I choose the pork, with bok-choi, mushroom and satay miso, as did my husband and my dad.
When the dish was placed in front of me, my first impression was that it was small and I was immediately glad that I had opted for the soup to start otherwise I would have been hungry.
The whole dish was light and delicate, the flavour from the pork came through and it was unquestionable flawlessly cooked, but overall it didn’t really pack a punch, and whilst the dish was nice enough, it was on the whole pretty forgettable.
My mum and sister went for the plaice fillet, with brown shrimp, new potato cream and tarragon. It was a delicate dish, perfectly cooked fish in a light cream sauce.
We all agreed that the show stopper was the deserts! Us ladies all chose the chocolate desert which came to the table like a little bird with its brandy snap wings looking like it was about to take flight.
The rich velvety chocolate mousse was dotted with crunchy honeycomb, cleverly made into the shape of orange segments, and there was an injection of orange and ginger throughout. My mouth is watering now as I think about it.
My dad opted for the lemon meringue and honey mascarpone, of which I have no photo as he tucked into it much too quickly and promptly devoured the lot. He said it was perfect, crispy meringue which melted in the mouth and a lovely harmonious flavour from the honey and raspberries which brought the whole dish together.
They were the type of desserts that ensured silence around the table, apart from the occasional groans of gratitude, as we all tucked in.
The kiddies had an expensive scoop of chocolate ice-cream at £7.00 each, which again was lovely, but meant that their meal of two courses came to over £22 per head, which was more than our three courses which seemed a little disproportionate to say the least.
If I had realised their lack of catering for young ones I may have re-considered choosing Llangoed Hall. I can’t say I blame them for this, I can see the appeal of trying to maintain an air of quiet elegance in the place, I just wish this had been more clear when we had booked as we would probably of reconsidered our choice of venue based on having three little ones.
My husband chose to pay the extra £10.00 for a selection of cheeses from the trolley, but was disappointed to be served the cheese without any choices, no sign of a trolley and only a few home-made crackers and the same bread that we had had with our starters. This was in short a bit of a let-down.
This was also in contrast to my Dad’s experience, who had dined there the previous evening, and who had been able to choose from the trolley. I’m not really sure why this wasn’t the case for lunch.
Whilst the desserts were difficult to top, the meal continued to end on a high with the coffee and petit fours (£&.00), which had a gorgeous selection of macaronis, fudge and rich chocolate truffles.
With contented bellies, we then retired to the lounge area in front of an open log fire. With the drizzly rain outside it was lovely and cosy and an ideal spot for a post drink or pot of coffee.
The whole experience at Llangoed Hall was wonderful and very fitting to celebrate a special birthday in style. Whilst I usually prefer the bustle of dining with others, I really enjoyed the whole private dining experience. It felt both relaxed and special at the same time and I would certainly recommend it to anyone for a special occasion.
The private dining also worked particularly well for taking kiddies to a very fine dining establishment as it meant that we were more relaxed and weren’t worried about their little voices resonating throughout a rather hushed dining room.
I thought the 3 course menu was of very good value at £19.95, the portions were not huge, but it meant that you could comfortably fit in the three courses (you will see from my reviews I barely ever opt for dessert) and we all finished the meal feeling satisfied and contented with the food.
My parents, who had stayed overnight there, also said how lovely the rooms were and how much they had enjoyed their stay. Llangoed Hall is certainly somewhere I would like to visit again, but I wouldn’t recommend taking children, they are not catered for and if your kiddies are anything like mine it would just be wasted on them. Much better to have an indulgent adult only experience and leave the kids at home.
Family Friendly Rating: *
High Chairs – No
Baby Changing –No
Childrens Menu – No
Smaller Portions Available – No
Other Info: N/A
Address: Llyswen, Brecon, Powys, Wales, LD3 0YP
Tel: 01874 754525