Jabajak ( Julian , Amanda, Buddug and Joanna, Alexandra, Katie ) was a sympathetic renovation project conducted by Julian and Amanda Stuart-Robson, when they returned with their family to Wales in 2004, after working off shore. It originally held agricultural status and was called Banc- y-Llain but fondly nick named “ the Whitehouse “
Banc- y- Llain link to the White House in Washington. It is well documented1 that five of the first six presidents of the United States of America were of Welsh ancestry. Probably the most famous of these were Mr John Adams – the second president of the United States and very first occupant of the White House, and his son, Mr John Quincy Adams – the sixth president who helped turn the tide against slavery. These powerful men were the grandson and great-grandson of a simple yeoman farmer’s son from Llanboidy in west Wales, called David Adams, who (before emigrating to America to seek his fortune) grew up as a tenant farmer on the drover’s farm that was part of the Banc-y-Llain and subsequently Jabajak estate. It is known that when the US President’s office was built in Washington, it was not white, and was not called the White House. Existing documentation indicates that the ‘White House’ was given its present name during the presidency of John Adams, as a nickname, long before it actually changed colour. Locally, we believe we know exactly why this was. When David was growing up in west Wales, the farmhouse was the family home and, which would mainly have consisted of grey stone barns and cottages. However, the main owners house itself was white – and, in fact, it states in the deeds of Jabajak’s main house that it must always remain white. So it would be natural for farm workers to refer to it as ‘the White House’. David’s father was also called John (like his illustrious descendants), and we are sure that David would have been very proud to talk about his heritage in Wales to his grandchildren – as modern Americans enjoy doing today. We therefore believe it is utterly feasible that the familiar name ‘the White House’ simply passed down through the generations as a term to describe a building where all the important decisions are made – whether about family matters, farming…or running a nation. So is the White House named after Jabajak? We’ll let you decide for yourself!
For centuries, this former droving farm was a key stopping point for farmers driving their cattle off the Preseli mountains in North Pembrokeshire ( where Amanda was born ) and onto markets in Carmarthen or further east.
As the cattle had to walk all the way, they had to be shod. At Banc-y-llain, the cattle were shod in the stone buildings around the courtyard, just under the Grainstore. Today, Jabajak’s bistro enjoys the echoes of that historic space, and it is where we serve breakfast and some evening meals to our guests. If you listen carefully late at night, sometimes you can hear mooing…. ………..We made the last sentence up, of course…but everything else is true!
The Stuart-Robson family bought Banc-y-Llain as a run down small holding in 1998 and renovations started immediately despite the family working abroad. To enable them to fund the project, move home, start a business together as a family and contribute to the local economy. It was intended to preserve the integrity of the building, where ever possible, to retain a historical link to the past through using local methods and materials. They returned in 2003 and since 2004 when Jabajak finally opened it has slowly evolved into a reputable hospitality business and has endeavoured to signpost quality local products. Now proud to be a member of Welsh Rarebits, Winners of les Routiers, highly commended finalist in Gary Rhodes food hero campaign, Trip Advisor Winners of Excellence and recommended by the Good Food guide … …..Jabajak operates an honest, fresh food policy where all our dishes are prepared to order using herbs from our cottage garden, fresh fruit, leaves, flowers and vegetables grown on-site or foraged, whenever possible. Besides some international favourites we aim to source local seasonal produce for our dishes that we hope you’ll enjoy with wine matches from our small but boutique wine range that is influenced by talented wine makers from both new and old world single yards.
The vineyard was planted in 2007 and really has contributed to making Jabajak a truly unique destination. Amanda does many talks and chef demonstrations to promote the business and our local area…….we’ve even entered the Four in a Bed television competition in 2013 – and WON !
” Jabajak’s aim is to recruit and retain exceptional people who will continue to delight our customers with quality food and accommodation but above all, a warm welcome, value and excellent customer service to ensure a truly memorable experience”