Wright’s Emporium is in the middle of Welsh nowhere, and from the outside looks like a ramshackle pub that the modern world forgot. But inside, what a find! Its Emporium designation, suggesting an Aladdin’s Cave of gourmet surprises that evokes shrieks of childish delight, is spot on. The Wrights part refers to its food-writer owner, Simon Wright and his wife Maryann, who runs the kitchen.
At the far end of its comforting warren-like interior is a wine store (pictured below) offering mostly biodynamic wines that are sourced direct from their European producers. If you like, bring your own bottles and fill them up yourself – sustainability is very much part of this place’s ethic. The heart of the place is a deli crammed with local goodies, from cured meats from Charcutier, to Hafod Cheddar (one of my favourite cheeses) and Wright’s own tomato Catsup (a variant on ketchup) (pictured). There’s freshly baked bread (pictured), and local meats, fruit and veg too.
The highlight, though, is the daytime cafe (open evenings on Fridays and Saturdays), where you can kick off the day with a bubble and squeak made from kale, and topped with a poached egg (pictured). With its mismatched bare tables, bookshelves, and spreads of just-baked cakes, it’s a deliciously relaxed spot in which to enjoy Maryann’s European-influenced rustic cooking. Dishes might include a Tartiflette, a Rare roast beef tonnato, or Fried aubergine with labneh. Or if you’re in a hurry, the Pork belly cubano (£8) will set you up for the day, and don’t leave without one of their brownies, as big as bricks. Upstairs there’s even a bijou apartment which you can rent. Its location, the village of Llanarthne, is a perfect spot from where to explore Carmarthenshire.
You can read more about Wrights in my article on Carmarthenshire’s food for Olive magazine here.