I’ve never written a food blog before, but have been tempted to, many times. At last, the golden opportunity came, and here it is at last…
The Old Cottage, opened its doors to the public last week, and my wife and I were of the lucky few who were invited to the Menu Tasting evenings, where we were presented with a free two-course meal for two (drinks and puddings excluded) so that the chefs and staff could experiment on us before being let loose on real people! From the moment the phone rang, and I was told that I was accepted, the days seemed to drag, and I found myself inordinately looking forward to the evening!
Firstly, every communication I had from @TheOldCottage was professional, courteous and efficient. When we arrived, the welcome was warm, and the restaurant beautifully and tastefully done. The pub itself had greatly benefited from the facelift. It had regenerated from a spit’n’sawdust pub to a warm yet classy pub/restaurant, with an interesting seating balcony above the bar, and the kitchen itself open to the main body of the restaurant. It was fascinating to watch the chefs, waiters, waitresses and maitre d’ work together. One thing was obvious when you walked in and observed the staff – they all really enjoyed working there. That in itself was a commendation.
The menus (a la carte and specials) were awesome! It took a while for us to decide what to go for, but in the end, this is what we chose (needless to say, we shared!):
Black Pearl Scallops with Avocado, Chilli and Lime with Crispy Chorizo and Chilli Oil
Dolcelatte and pear tart, red onion marmalade
Rack of Lamb with Rosemary, Lemon and Garlic, Fondue of Leeks and Cabbage Mash
Seared Duck Breast, Rosemary Sauted Potatoes, Wilted Spinach and Cinnamon Jus
The dolcelatte and pear tart was sweet and deliciously creamy, with the pastry cooked to perfection.
The scallops/chorizo/chilli/avocado/lime combination was amazing – I would never have believed that such flavours would combine so willingly and effectively to such amazing effect! A delicious starter which left one eager for more…
The lamb melted in the mouth with the rosemary adding a refreshing fragrance. I was expecting “leeks” and “cabbage mash”, but it seemed more like a “leeks and cabbage mash”. Either way, it was lovely!
The duck breast was tender and full of gamey flavour. The Cinnamon Jus was a delightful surprise – I never knew you could get gravy out of cinnamon! Anyway. You can. They did. And with the duck/rosemary (again) combinations, brought a warmth to the whole course which wouldn’t have been out of place on an Autumn evening by a roaring log fire! The healthily large (if a tad expensive) glass of rioja certainly washed it down well.
The Eton Mess was a gorgeous splash of pinks and whites which exploded creamily and tangily in the mouth.
The limoncello posset took me back to our honeymoon in Sorrento, where each evening, we would be presented with a stunning meal – each one different, each one remarkable. This pudding was light and zesty, yet rich and creamy – all at the same time.
Maybe it was because I had such high expectations of the place, the food and the entire evening – and the expectations were not only met, but exceeded – that even the coffee at the end of the meal seemed to be nicer than expected!
The portions weren’t huge such that you’d feel bloated or guilty to have to leave some, neither were they so small that they left you disappointed. All in all, the three courses and the drinks combined to form a wonderful evening out. A dining experience I haven’t had in a long time.
The Old Cottage has quickly become my number one dining venue in Cardiff, and I can’t wait to try it again!