Well, our first blog finds us beaming. After all, it’s not every day you find out you’ve won The Good Food Guide’s ‘Best Local Restaurant in Wales‘!
Why does this one mean so much to us?
This award was based on reader nominations, then judges’ inspection, where they called us ‘wonderfully relaxed’, and were ‘thoroughly impressed by the quality of ingredients and the care shown to customers.’
When we opened here in Cowbridge, we wanted to be ‘that place’. The place you’re sure of a welcome (and plenty of good things to eat, of course!), a place which matters to its community. That’s all we wanted.
And that’s exactly what this award celebrates: ‘the places that are the beating heart of communities around Britain.’
To come from what we turned into a building site, to this, in just over two years? That’s nothing short of mind blowing. And hearing that so many of you voted for us, and that the judges agreed…well, you can see why we can’t stop smiling, can’t you?
So if you nominated us, thank you. Two little words, but we couldn’t mean them any more sincerely: thank you.
So we have been extra busy, and our new ‘3 for £22’ offer has been very popular. (Don’t go looking for supplements or small print: it really is any three for £22.)
It’s easy to pay lip service to ‘great produce’ but we love the Huntsham Farm pork we use. Richard Vaughan sends us half a pig at a time from the Wye Valley. We love its sheer quality of course, but it reduces waste and challenges us to use the whole animal and not just all the ‘glamour’ cuts. The menu changes daily, from pan-fried loin to braised shoulder in tostadas: but we particularly love it like this, so say hello to our Middle White pork hash brown.
We layer grated and steamed potatoes with confit pork, confit garlic and boat loads of sage. Then we coat it all in rendered pork fat and butter, and press it overnight.
Then, the good bit: we slice it and fry it in more of that middle white pork fat until crisp and golden, and then finish it all off with some shaved Parmesan, fennel pickle and a lovely XO mayo. We are happy with this one- it might hang around for a while!
Some things we are looking forward to:
- A visit to our longstanding suppliers Three Pools Farm– this is an inspiring place, inspired by Permaculture design, where they balance high-quality food production with a beautiful landscape.
- Poca, our friend Antonio Simone’s new restaurant in Cardiff. We have loved his food at Alium and The Humble Onion and we can’t wait to visit. Head chef Lali Suto is another old friend and we know this menu of small plates will pack a punch.
Things we loved this month:
Dinner at the Alex Vines popup at Ground Bakery in Pontcanna. We absolutely loved it: clean, confident, great cooking. Our highlight? The short rib-stuffed aubergine with tarragon cream: the sort of thing you can’t stop thinking about for days.
This was just the kind of food we love: great food by a chef who obviously values the produce and suppliers. We can’t recommend it enough: the local popup scene is very strong at the moment, and we’ve got our eyes on Tom Waters’ Gorse next.
Talking of which: our popup at Twenty Six in Canton was a bit nerve-wracking- it has been a while- but it sold out quickly, and it was good to be back in Cardiff after a long break. Lots of familiar faces and smiles- it’s what it’s all about.
Until next time…
John and Ceri