Previous to actually visiting The Hardwick I’d described it to Mr B, and others, as a kind of ‘gastro-pub’ which now, having actually been there, seems like an insult and a complete misrepresentation!
Whilst not having a long history of going to lovely restaurants (mostly due to not having a very long history of earning enough money to visit said restaurants), I like to think I’ve/we’ve been to a fair few – mostly in the last 5 years of my relationship with Mr B. I’ve been to amazing Michelin starred restaurants, I’ve been to taste filled little shacks on piers and I’ve been to great local gastro-pubs/restaurants but never have I been somewhere that succeeded in surpassing my expectations as beautifully as The Hardwick did.
If you go to one restaurant in Wales, go there. If you go to one restaurant in the UK…well, maybe go to Roganic or L’Enclume! (but it’ll cost a lot more!). For value for money with regards ambience, flavour, service and presentation I’ve not seen the like. I doubt if we go back in a years time (if not sooner) that it’ll be quite such good value for money as they could easily charge more, and will I bet!
They have an amazing array of gins available so I sampled one of their more exotic options…not sure which one (but the bar manager was hugely knowledgeable and helpful in choosing) and Mr B selected a pint of local tipple Rhymney which went down most excellently. We were encouraged to take a seat in the bar and consider the menus before they came to show us to our table. They even did that lovely thing where they come over with a tray and carry your drinks to your table for you – I love little touches like that!
With dinner we had a superb Welsh sparkling wine (this was a holiday filled with sparkling wine – not Champagne) and we managed to go the whole hog and cram in 3 courses, despite having quite diminished appetites since our pre-wedding diets.
Mr B had…
By far the star of the meal for me was my main, a little because Mr B was so jealous of me being the one that could eat all of it, because I just hadn’t expected such beautifully perfect cooking and amazing flavours – it has to be eaten to be believed! The burnt onions in the sweet potato mash were truly superb – going to have to try to replicate that one at home.
And one of the best things? The bill for 3 courses for both of us plus one coffee, beer and a G&T was under £95! Very good value.
I only wish we’d booked the dine and sleep package so we could have just rolled in to bed. I’ve already been dropping hints to Mr B!
Here ends my waxing lyrical about The Hardwick – a place that Mr B and I will be talking about many times – ‘do you remember that…’ and ‘wasn’t that the best butter ever’ kind of conversations. The ones where you share fond memories of a most lovely evening.
- The Angel Hotel, Abergavenny (dreamalittledreamalot.wordpress.com)
- Destination Roganville: Chef Simon Rogan has built a colony of restaurants in Cartmel (independent.co.uk)
- The Abergavenny Market – A Visual Journey With Food, Music and More (aglobalaffair.com)