Recipe For Success
Running a restaurant alongside a holiday park can be a huge undertaking, involving some big decisions… and not just with the menu, writes Karen Cotton.
Catering to a wide range of budgets and tastes can create challenges for operators – particularly when you’re looking after diverse needs and expectations on the same site, from campers in tents to guests in luxury holiday lodges
It’s an issue they recognise at the award-winning Tyddyn Isaf Camping and Caravan Park in Dulas, Anglesey.
“Our guests expectations vary a lot,” explains Hayley Mount-Leonard, who looks after front of house. “While our campers are looking for the little extras to enjoy with their barbecues, holiday home owners are typically looking for a higher quality of food,” Hayley continues.
“We’ve found that the key is to ensure the quality of our food is as high as possible,” she continues. The Anglesey campsite has been owned and operated by the Hunt/Mount family for 45 years. Long before a restaurant was created on site, however, food was still on offer, thanks to a very forward-thinking purchase.
“About 40 years ago, we invested in a pizza oven and it all grew from there. Of course, we do a lot more than pizzas now and, unlike back then, it’s all made in-house.” The decision to take cooking in-house was borne from a desire to ensure guests were satisfied with what was on offer.
“Enjoying the outdoors and camping is what we are all about,” says Hayley of the site which holds a regional title for Best Park in Wales is has won a David Bellamy Gold Award.
“We wanted to make sure that our diners were enjoying the hearty, homemade meals that encourage them to be active.” Nine years ago, Hayley’s father, site owner Arthur Mount took up the role of head chef and the restaurant has gone from strength to strength – winning rave reviews and awards. The menu includes signature dishes, such as homemade pizzas, tiger prawns sautéed in white wine and sambuca, seafood linguine and homemade curries. Recipes are kept top-secret – including ‘Nan’s’ recipe for cheesecake.
While guests can enjoy a casual meal in the restaurant, there are also options available for those who want to dine alfresco.
“All of our meals can be ordered for takeaway,” says Hayley. “It ensures our guests can enjoy them in whatever setting they wish.
A firm believer in supporting local businesses, Tyddyn Isaf partnered with The Great Orme Brewery to create their own range of four local ales and a craft lager.
“Summer of 76, for example, is a light hoppy summer ale that its name from the legendary hot summer of 1976 that heralded the start of Tyddyn Isaf under our ownership. Over 40 years and four generations later we are still going strong,” enthuses Hayley.
Switching location to Cornwall’s rugged North Coast, Landal Gwel an Mor aims to deliver guests with a memorable eco-escape.
Resort Director Matt Way ensures their eco-friendly ethos extends to every aspect of the business across the entire resort.
A fleet of electric buggies and vans allow staff to move easily on site – without emissions, while its luxury eco lodges, with their low-maintenance gardens and high-efficiency LED lighting, have been built to have a reduced impact on the environment.
Earlier this year, lights were dimmed throughout the site to mark Earth Hour 2019. “We wanted to make this an opportunity for our guests,” suggests Matt. “As well as dining by candlelight, our guests had an opportunity to see a flying display put on by one of our rangers and an owl.”
With such green credentials, Matt ensures their eco-friendly ethos extends to every aspect of the business across the entire resort and with catering this means, straw and plastic free. “We are continuing to reduce our use all the time. Our takeaways, for example, are provided in paper bags and cardboard boxes,” explains Matt.
Landal Gwel an Mor’s Terrace Restaurant, which has just launched a new menu, tries to source ingredients locally wherever possible. Seafood, for example is supplied by Matthew Stevens Cornish Fish in nearby St Ives. Because it is sustainably and ethically sourced, it ensures The Terrace’s inclusion in the Cornwall Good Seafood Guide.
Mounts Bay Dairy, some 15 miles away in Penzance, is the chief supplier for local cheese and milk, while St Austell brewery supplies beverages.
Not all ingredients need to be sourced on site, as Matt explains.
“We keep a well-stocked herb garden just by the kitchen. It gives our chefs a convenient way of adding fresh flavour into our dishes as and when they need it.”
“Being in Cornwall, it’s hardly surprising that the Cornish Camembert with house chutney is a favourite,” Matt reveals.
“With the coast just metres from us, the same can be said for seafood dishes like our shellfish linguine and mussels with skin-on chips.”
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Gwel an Mor
Tel. 01209 842354
Tyddyn Isaf Camping and Caravan Park
Tel. 01248 410203
White Lodge Caravan Park & Campsite
Tel. 01248 440230