Tu hwnt i’r bont. You might not be able to say it, but if you ask for directions to the best Welsh rarebit in town, you’ll be able to find your way. Welsh rarebit? Don’t worry, we’ll get there.
Meaning beyond the bridge, Tu hwnt i’r bont is quite possibly the most unique stop you’ll make while touring the North of Wales. Visiting for the umpteenth time on an ancestral tour of sorts, this was the first visit I’d made with the wee one in tow and after 7 hours on an airplane, a few days in Whitby and a short ride from Rhuddlan to Llanrwst, we arrived at my favourite little cottage just in time for tea. Nestled next to the Conwy River, the cottage is famous for the fact that it floods during the highest of tides. As you enter through the very small door on the way in, take a look at the measurements to see where the record currently stands.
From a distance, the Tea Room resembles something out of Disney’s Sleeping Beauty (I half expected to see sparks of pink and blue escaping the chimney above) and close up – it proves to be nothing less magical. Framed beautiful by the iconic Inigo Jones Bridge, also known as Pont Fawr, the cottage was used as a courthouse in the 15th century and underwent many a renovation before becoming the tourist (and local) attraction it is today.
While the Tea Room and Gallery (there is also a gallery upstairs but the cottage is primarily known for its food) looks sweet from the outside, the good part really starts once you set foot inside. Trinkets and old pots, dishes and decor line the walls and homemade goods including my favourite British spread – lemon curd. For those of you interested, lemon curd (also known as lemon cheese) is a staple in English kitchens, and is essentially a mixture of lemon, sugar and creamy butter. You won’t find lemon curd served in most North American restaurants; trust me, I tried once to order it and was served a hearty helping of cottage cheese (there was no way that chunky stuff was going on my toast) so I enjoy it every chance I get! Despite the delicious display, Tu hwnt i’r bont isn’t known for their lemon curd – they’re known for serving up a tantalizing plate of Welsh Rarebit.
Reminiscent of a Croque Monsieur, Welsh rarebit is essentially just fancy melted cheese on toast. But it’s so much more than that! It’s a combination of cheese and spices and mustard and is served over a nice warm piece of toast. Okay, so it’s not exactly the Monet of international cuisine, but it’s certainly a reflection of British culture, and their love for heavy foods; bangers and mash, fish and chips and Welsh rarebit. Oh, and scones… did someone say scones? While the best entree being cooked up at Tu hwnt i’r bont is served on toast, dessert is served on little patties of soft, floury goodness topped with clotted cream and sweet strawberry preserve. Paired with a steamy cup of hot tea, biting into a homemade scone is the perfect way to end your meal.