A tasty reputation for providing exceptional country dining brought Ian Fuller to Plas Yn Dinas, now a go-to destination for great local food
Formative years spent cooking at home with family and friends ignited a passion for all things culinary in Ian Fuller, with extensive travel in Italy, Greece, India and the USA informing and influencing his development as a chef. Ian, who’s self-trained, became chef and patron at The Lime Kiln near Oswestry, as well as director of outside-catering company Capers, before taking centre stage at Plas Yn Dinas, the picturesque, 16th-century pub in the village of Llanfechain in Powys, close to the Border with Shropshire.
“My partner, Elaine, and I were asked by the owners if we'd be interested in coming to the Plas after numerous local people recommended us, based on our work and the reputation we’d managed to establish at The Lime Kiln,” Ian explains. “We were attracted to the Plas as the building had undergone a complete refurb and it’s really quite a special place. It combines modern elements with old period features, of which there are plenty, having once been the village court house, dating back to 1705. The village itself is also picturesque. We felt that the area was a good catchment and as a destination food pub, that the destination itself was well worth travelling to.”
The food at Plas Yn Dinas stands out thanks to the head chef’s extensive experience and taste for top-notch, local produce. The venue describes the cuisine as ‘country dining’, which seems appropriate for food made from produce that’s been carefully selected from the surrounding countryside, such as: Roast leg of Llanfechain lamb (Sunday roast); and Chirk Farm smoked trout with celeriac and apple remoulade. “Our menu is constantly changing and is influenced by seasonality and the availability of good, local produce,” Ian confirms enthusiastically. “The food is simple but cooked with care and attention to detail, which elevates the menu from the ordinary to something a little more interesting and diverse. Our focus always remains firmly on quality – the quality of the produce, of the cooking and of the service.
“I love to cook dishes that take a long time to prepare – dishes that need to be slow cooked for many hours resulting in food that is full of flavour. For example, this week I'll be cooking goat from Herefordshire, making a tagine using the shoulder, cooked for five hours with Moroccan spices, rose harissa, apricots and preserved lemons. I like to cook new things and I do tire of repeating the same dish again and again.
“My day starts with a trip to the butchers, then it’s back for morning prep and lunch service. I like to go for a nice walk by the river with Elaine and my dog in the afternoon, then it’s back for more prep and the evening service. I like to unwind with a quick pint of local beer at the end of the evening, then it’s time for sleep.
“One of my favourite things about this job is the creative freedom it affords me. I love the challenge of creating balanced menus and am always excited when preparing a new dish. With the abundance of fantastic local and seasonal produce on the doorstep the creative possibilities are endless. Of course, it’s also very rewarding receiving feedback from customers who've enjoyed their food and their visit to The Plas.”
Plas Yn Dinas, Llanfechain, Powys SY22 6UJ. Tel: 01691 829055. www.plasyndinas.co.uk
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