To perform music to a high standard, all self-respecting musicians know that every single note – and there could be thousands of them - must be played in an intricately styled way to achieve a performance that will be remembered for a very long time to come.

And exactly the same approach applies to cooking.  

This week executive head chef Simon Crockford put this theory to the test when he staged a Chef’s Table for selected diners at the Dulse restaurant  in Tŷ Hotel, Milford Haven.

Simon chose to prepare six dishes each featuring ingredients which, if not sourced in Pembrokeshire, were Welsh to the hilt. And the dexterous precision which Simon applied in combining those ingredients to create his finished product was remarkable.

If I could feast on nothing more for the rest of my days, then his laverbread polenta chips which accompanied the cod mousse starter would be up there in the running.  And so too would his salt-baked celeriac, his plum and star anise jus and that freshest of fresh apple sorbet. Their flavours are nothing less than monumental.

Western Telegraph: The cod mousse with those delicious laverbread polenta chipsThe cod mousse with those delicious laverbread polenta chips (Image: Western Telegraph)

The meat in his beef cheek croquettes melted on the tongue like hot butter, after it had been slow cooked to precision accompanied by the impeccable intensity of Cenarth's Perl Las cheese, his deep onion puree and a beautifully married bacon and onion jus while the sardine ragu that accompanied the hake was deliciously balanced.

There’s no doubt that when it comes to the kitchen, Crockford is a pure genius.

Yes, there’s always a lot of pressure doing a Chef’s Table when you have to present six different dishes, but I was confident that all of them had that depth of flavour that we’re trying to create here at Dulse,” Simon told the Western Telegraph.

“And this is what it’s all about. I’m not trying to create anything fancy,  and I never will. All I want to do is put Pembrokeshire on the map for the incredible produce it’s producing and create humble dishes that are bursting in flavour.”

Western Telegraph: Head chef Simon CrockfordHead chef Simon Crockford (Image: Ty Hotel)

His Chef’s Table menu comprised:

  • Cod mousse with laverbread polenta chip and lemon gel scraps;
  • Beef cheek croquettes with Perl Las cheese, onion puree, bacon and onion jus;
  • Garlic and herb crusted hake fillet with cavolo nero, sardine ragu and parmesan gnocchi;
  • Roasted duck breast with salt-baked celeriac, puy lentils, parsnip puree, plum and star anise jus and two desserts of apple crumble tart with maple and apple sorbet and  chocolate delice with malt ice cream, caramelised banana, banana bread and caramel.


Western Telegraph: The roasted duck breast with the plum and star anise jusThe roasted duck breast with the plum and star anise jus (Image: Western Telegraph)


Western Telegraph: Garlic and herb crusted hake filletGarlic and herb crusted hake fillet (Image: Western Telegraph)

Simon is no stranger to success after being named Welsh Chef of the Year in 2017. He was then appointed executive chef with the Celtic Manor Restaurant where he oversaw no fewer than six restaurants. But in 2022 the Tenby-born boy decided to return to his Pembrokeshire roots and take up the executive chef’s post at the Tŷ Hotel.

“Moving back was a massive decision as I had the full responsibility of making Dulse work,” he said.

“But I knew that this was an opportunity to be creative again, and this has always been my drive ever since I started my training way back in Pembrokeshire College.”

Each of the dishes included on Thursday evening's Chef’s Table menu will now be available at Dulse throughout the remainder of the autumn.  They will be replaced by more festive dishes in the run-up to Christmas while new menu will arrive in January.

Western Telegraph: Chocolate delice with malt ice cream and caramelised bananaChocolate delice with malt ice cream and caramelised banana (Image: Western Telegraph)

“We wanted to avoid the old tried and tested menu formulae where chefs stick to things like taco on a Tuesday or curry on a Thursday - we don’t want our restaurant to be placed in a box but we want to be consistently creative.

“Naturally I’ve got the Celtic Manor to live up to as well, but the response we’ve had in our first year has been fantastic. I get more happiness driving over the Cleddau Bridge every day to work than I could ever have imagined.”

Dulse is open daily.  Lunches are served between 12.00pm and 3.00pm while evening meals are served between 6pm and 9.30pm.  Reservations are recommended.

Western Telegraph: Apple crumble tart with its delicious apple sorbetApple crumble tart with its delicious apple sorbet (Image: Western Telegraph)