A Swansea café is in for a taste of the exotic thanks to its new Lebanese owners.
Sally Bouimad, 44, and her husband Rob, have taken over the lease of the Quadrant Shopping centre’s Trenchers Café and are set to spice up the menu.
And Sally, who arrived in Swansea via London and Australia after leaving her Beirut home more than 25 years ago, says she knew she wanted to make Swansea her home within hours of her first arrival.
She said: “It’s true, I came to Swansea just on a visit and fell in love with the place and didn’t want to leave. The Mumbles and the city centre, I just love it.
“We took one look at Trenchers and knew we could do something special and that’s what we are going to do. I want to introduce Lebanese cuisine but I also want the café to be multi-cultural. So one day we might have Indian dishes on offer another Italian or Chinese.
“And of course we will still be offering Welsh cakes and other Welsh food, that’s really important and popular.
“But I will listen to our customers and try and give them the dishes they want while at the same time introducing some of my own exciting Lebanese food.”
She added: “There are so many restaurants and cafes that claim to be Lebanese but they aren’t really, they don’t sell truly authentic Lebanese food. The thing with Lebanese food, whether it’s chicken or vegetables, it’s so healthy and of course really tasty and flavoursome.”
Sally says she and her husband left Beirut more than 25 years ago initially spending a year working in Sydney, Australia.
She said: “Rob’s uncle has a number of restaurants there and we helped out for more than a year. We helped out at a lovely restaurant near to the opera. But we wanted to move to Britain and set up home in London.
“We have been in Britain for more than 24 years now. I set up a catering business supplying food from my home. I was happy in London but when we came to Swansea on a visit that was it, I knew where I wanted to live. It was like coming home in a way.
“We moved here a few months ago and I don’t want to be anywhere else. We took over Trenchers and I’m really pleased with how things are going.”
Trenchers owner Clif Roberson said: “All the old favourites are still there on the menu and doing very well but Sally is definitely bringing something different as well.
“She is passionate about food and service and all the signs are that Swansea’s shoppers appreciate the chance to try something different and authentic.”
Sally, who has three children two sons, aged 24 and 22, and a daughter 20, says she has already seen an up-turn in business.
She said: “It’s definitely getting busier. We have between 10 and 12 staff but on busy weekends we have to get more in. It is hard work but really rewarding and we have definitely been getting busier.
“My sons have been to university and have jobs and careers of their own and my daughter is about to study law in London so they aren’t here to help, it’s Rob, me and our staff.
“I want to lift Trenchers to a higher level, a higher standard. Better food, a better menu and give better service. I want it to be perfect. I want our customers, regular or new, to feel comfortable and leave feeling happy and that they have had a good experience.
“And I really want to introduce Swansea to real Lebanese food. My customers are going to love it as much as I love Swansea.”
Ian Kirkpatrick, Manager of the Quadrant Shopping Centre, said: “Sally has certainly brought a taste of the exotic to the Quadrant and to Swansea and I’m sure many of our shoppers are enjoying the experience.
“Trenchers is such a landmark spot in Swansea and is always busy so it’s the ideal place to try out something new.”