Restaurant Review – Caradog’s at the Ty Newydd

Restaurant Review – Caradog’s at the Ty Newydd

Recently Greg, my Mother and I went to Caradog’s it’s the restaurant in the Ty Newydd Country Hotel in Penderryn.  Unlike Greg and my Mother I’d been here a couple of times, so knew what to expect…. or so I thought.

The last time I went to Caradog’s a friend of Greg and I was the head chef there, the food was exceptionally good – one of the reasons we went back.  As we were going out for her birthday, my Mother trawled through websites of local restaurants to see whose menu she liked the most and she decided on Caradog’s

Caradog’s at the Ty Newydd - The Menus

Caradog’s at the Ty Newydd – The Menus

On the website the menu was quite extensive, and had dishes that my mother, Greg and I all liked the sound of.  However, when we arrived, I personally was disappointed.  The menu wasn’t a patch on what was online, I personally felt it was very flat and one dimensional.  Some of the dishes lacked the spark of what I’d read both online and on previous occasions.

Caradog’s at the Ty Newydd - My started of Cured beef, truffle cream, baby leaf

Caradog’s at the Ty Newydd – My started of Cured beef, truffle cream, baby leaf

I picked my starter, it was a shock for me because I normally go for fish or soup but this was the one I disliked the least if I’m honest.  Normally I would have gone for the scallops but, I can’t stand parsnips, and as that was one of the main components of the dish I couldn’t avoid it.  When the dish came out it looked stunning, and this is where the fun began.  I’m not afraid to admit when I’m wrong, this was stunning both in looks and in taste and could possibly be one of the best starters I’ve ever had anywhere.  As you know because of my teeth I’ve rarely experienced the “melt in the mouth” feeling that people talk about with food…. this Beef Carpaccio changed that.  It wasn’t described on the menu as Beef Carpaccio but that’s effectively what it was, it was “Cured beef, truffle cream, baby leaf”.  It was first class, and a really good way to be proved wrong, the truffle cream was subtle and not over powering, the beef was…. you’ve guessed it melt in the mouth tender, you literally didn’t need a knife… I even ate some of the salad (shocked…. I was lol)

Caradog’s at the Ty Newydd - My mother and Greg's started of Scallops, curried parsnip, pomegranate dressing

Caradog’s at the Ty Newydd – My mother and Greg’s started of Scallops, curried parsnip, pomegranate dressing

My Mother and Greg had the Scallop starter, it was described on the menu as “Scallops, curried parsnip, pomegranate dressing”…. description literally says it all.  They really enjoyed this, the scallops were cooked to perfection, my mother said the Curry Parsnip Purée wasn’t too overpowering.  The Scallops were succulent with a slight char on the outside but sweet soft flesh inside, just how they should be cooked.  I always admire someone who can cook a scallop because it’s not easy, funnily enough (not wanting to brag) I’ve had my “Scallops with Curried Cauliflower Purée and Smoked Bacon” recipe shared by the foodies 100 website in their top 20 Scallop Dishes.   Click here to read the original recipe which was part of last year’s mother’s day meal.

Caradog’s at the Ty Newydd - Mine and my mother's main of Brill, Crayfish, New potato, Butter sauce, Peas, Broad beans

Caradog’s at the Ty Newydd – Mine and my mother’s main of Brill, Crayfish, New potato, Butter sauce, Peas, Broad beans

I couldn’t have gone a whole meal without having some fish, so my Mother and I decided to go for the Brill for my main course.  I’m not going to lie, this again was a dish which when reading it appeared to be the main course I least disliked.  Urgh Urgh (sound of the family fortunes buzzer)  I was wrong again, this was stunning, it was described on the menu as “Brill, Crayfish, New potato, Butter sauce, Peas, Broad beans”  It was sensational, the fish was flakey and soft, it was cooked to perfection, the sauce was velvety and buttery.  I can’t knowingly remember trying Crayfish but they were little jewels dotted around the place, soft and succulent they added a hint of the sea to the dish.  The fish lay on top of new potatoes, potatoes which were buttery and soft, they complimented the sauce excellently.  Finally in my eyes the piece de resistance Broad Beans!  I never liked Broad Beans as a child, they’ve been something I’ve avoided, until now.  You’ll all know I like Cauliflower and Broccoli now which I didn’t when I was younger, well you can add Broad Beans to that list, they were stunning little gems of sweet loveliness, I’ve eaten Broad Beans several times a week since this meal, thanks chef for introducing them to me!  This was a triumph and a real testimony to “Never judge a book by its cover”!

Caradog’s at the Ty Newydd - Greg's main course of Pork belly, Scallop foam, Black pudding, Sprouting broccoli

Caradog’s at the Ty Newydd – Greg’s main course of Pork belly, Scallop foam, Black pudding, Sprouting broccoli

Greg ordered the pork dish, it was described as “Pork belly, Scallop foam, Black pudding, Sprouting broccoli”.  The black pudding was salty which accompanied the sweetness of the scallop foam well.  The Pork belly was cooked excellently with a crispy top and soft pullable meat.

Caradog’s at the Ty Newydd - My dessert of Orange Cheesecake

Caradog’s at the Ty Newydd – My dessert of Orange Cheesecake

I ordered Orange Cheesecake, it rounded off the meal well with a citrusy note, I like a sharp dessert to end my meal.  This was probably my least favourite course though because it had zest in it, and I’m not a fan of zest in desserts.  The globules of jell, the ice cream and the crumb complimented the cheesecake but for me, it wasn’t as good as the starter and the main… however, saying that is like saying who do you prefer out of Ryan Giggs, Bobby Charlton and George Best they’re all greats!

Caradog’s at the Ty Newydd - My mother and Greg's dessert of White Chocolate Fondant

Caradog’s at the Ty Newydd – My mother and Greg’s dessert of White Chocolate Fondant

My Mother and Greg had the White Chocolate Fondant, it was accompanied by Rhubarb and Ice Cream.  The Rhubarb was a bit difficult to eat, my mother’s nearly shot off her plate but the fondant was warm and chocolaty, yet not too heavy.  I wish I’d gone for this dessert now.

Caradog’s at the Ty Newydd - Accessible Toilets

Caradog’s at the Ty Newydd – Accessible Toilets

The atmosphere was relaxed and not overly formal, the waiting staff were excellent and there was enough room around the tables for those who may have mobility difficulties.  I was really impressed with the accessible toilet, there was lots of room to manoeuvre a wheelchair, and while there were some technical issues which may make it less accessible for those with visual impairments it was spacious and easy to access.

I have to say congratulations to the chef, when I arrived I felt quite despondent because I thought the menu on paper was nowhere near as impressive to that on the website… boy was I wrong.  I think it goes to show you should never judge a book by it’s cover – or in this case a restaurant by it’s website.  I think I’d probably advise the management to review their website as, when looking back on it today, it says the menu was from November 2015, and we were visiting in May 2016.

Myself, mam and Greg at Caradog’s at the Ty Newydd

Myself, mam and Greg at Caradog’s at the Ty Newydd

There we are, the three amigos, this was our second outing in a month as we’d been to FeD again for my birthday.  Since the Greg and I have been to the Cardigan Bay Fish Festival for our annual outing you can read my review of 2015 or 2014’s event by clicking on the date.  Have a good Saturday, I’ll be back next week with some more Time-Saving Tuesdays.  Thanks to my mother and especially Greg for his driving, photography and company… and a belated happy birthday, hope it was…. yep you’ve guessed it Wheelie Good J)Wheelie Good Meals Social Networking

Don’t forget you can get in touch with us on social media by visiting the pages above.  Thanks for your time and come back soon

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Restaurant Review – The Hardwick, Abergavenny

Chef Stephen Terry (The Hardwick, Abergavenny) and I at the the Aberaeron Fish Festival

Chef Stephen Terry (The Hardwick, Abergavenny) and I at the the Aberaeron Fish Festival

You’ll know I’m a big fan of twitter and the internet, through it I’ve made some excellent new friends including Jo Pratt, Melanie McEwan of Melanie’s Food Adventures, Saira Hamilton (Masterchef Runner Up 2013) and Great British Menu winner (2008), Chef Theo Randall. However, the one person who I’ve met through the net and had the fantastic pleasure of meeting in real life… yes real life… it’s not all done online you know is Chef Stephen Terry. As you’ve seen in my review of the Cardigan Bay Seafood Festival I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Stephen Terry and after chatting with him decided to visit his restaurant The Hardwick in Abergavenny. My mother, Greg and I went along in September, this was probably my first taste of fine dining so to say I was nervous was no exaggeration, was I going to be too uncouth for such a popular restaurant with such a notable chef. The answer, thankfully was no, while The Hardwick has exquisite food, fantastic wine it also has an unpretentious and relaxed atmosphere and excellent service, something which in my opinion is reflective of Stephen’s personality.

The Hardwick, Abergavenny - The Three Musketeers, My Mother, myself and Greg

The Hardwick, Abergavenny – The Three Musketeers, My Mother, myself and Greg

With my disability consultancy hat on the access into the restaurant was very good but we did have to walk around the outside of the building to get to our table. Don’t get me wrong, that wasn’t a problem but I’d always advise anyone to inform the staff of all your access requirements when you book so they can completely accommodate you. Staff members were extremely helpful and walked around the outside with us to ensure there was no access problems.


Starters:

The Hardwick, Abergavenny - Starters

The Hardwick, Abergavenny – Starters

Greg ordered a Carpaccio of rare roast Jonny Morris ribeye with rosemary, anchovy & garlic dressing, crunchy brown butter breadcrumbs and Parmesan. I ordered Bucatini Pasta with Chicken Cream & Fried Sausage Meat Sauce, Parmesan and Shaved Fresh Summer Truffle. If I’m honest the pasta was a bit much for me for a first course, I ordered this simply because I’ve never tasted truffle. Having said it was heavy, it had great flavours to it and was really enjoyable, there was an excellent taste with the sausage meat sauce and I can now say I’ve tried truffle. I don’t think I’d order pasta for a starter again. To find out what Bucatini Pasta is click here. My mother ordered Hot Pork Meatloaf with Grilled Swiss Cheese, Onion Marmalade, Pickles and Toast. She really enjoyed this, she’s a big fan of pickles and it complimented the meatloaf excellently. We always share each other’s food, for me this was my favourite starter. The cheese and pork was an excellent combination Main Courses:

The Hardwick, Abergavenny - Main Course

The Hardwick, Abergavenny – Main Course

As I’ve said we always share out food, don’t you? You’ll notice from the starters that they were all different to give us a variety to try and compare…. we stuffed it up on the main course, well my mother did, but ssshhh we won’t tell her it was her fault : ) I ordered Roast Cod with Chorizo Sausage, Padron Peppers, Fennel, Grilled Radicchio, Sherry Vinegar, Saffron Risotto Cake and Romesco Sauce. It was exceptionally good! There were a lot of things on this plate that I hadn’t tried, hence why I ordered it – the one thing I had tasted before was Stephen’s Cod (in the fish festival) and it was as gorgeous as I remembered it. The dish was well balanced, the cod and the Chorizo Sausage were fantastic and worked really well together, the Saffron Risotto Cake and Romesco Sauce were new tastes for me and really enjoyable. I thoroughly enjoyed the Romesco Sauce, it was served in a really nice little saucepan on the side (incidentally a sauce pan I quite fancied and will be buying some soon…. I like little things like that : )) Greg and my mother had Roast Middle White Pork Loin, Slow Cooked Belly and Cromesqui of Ham Hock with Gentleman’s Relish, Served with Local Organic New King Edward Potato Salad, Roast Fennel and Local Organic Heritage Carrots. Desserts

The Hardwick, Abergavenny - Desserts

The Hardwick, Abergavenny – Desserts

We got this one wrong too, Greg and I both ordered the Baked Vanilla Cheesecake with Strawberries, Basil Jelly & Shortbread Crumble – that wasn’t a mistake lol we both liked the idea. It was fantastic, the only thing that wasn’t to my taste was the basil jelly, but that’s a personal thing – I couldn’t say anything bad about it it was just not to my taste! The other components of the dish was fantastic, the strawberries were awesome and the way the dish was laid out in a deconstructed fashion was excellent and very appealing to look at. It was recommended to us by one of the staff, I’m honestly glad they did! My mother ordered Amalfi Lemon Sorbet with Limoncello… wow! That was awesome, I love lemons and normally go for a lemon dessert but I didn’t for some reason this time, I will next time. My mother thoroughly enjoyed it, the lemon sorbet was stunning and the Limoncello was *coughs* very strong! I’ve seen Limoncello on lots of cookery programmes and always thought “I’d like to try that one day” well now I have I’m glad I did! My mother really enjoyed it, and was very pleased she chose it, although the Limoncello was a bit too strong for her (or at least that’s what she says 😉 )


The whole night was fantastic and we had an awesome time, Stephen came out to have a chat, I left him a Wheelie Good Meals mug, he’s been good enough to show it off with his fellow chefs. The decor in the restaurant was sophisticated, comfortable yet homely and elegant. There were lots of paintings of welsh celebrities around the restaurant, paintings which made for a good talking point amongst the guests. The seating arrangement allowed for movement around for wheelchair users and the lighting on the whole allowed good vision for those with most disabilities.

The Hardwick, Abergavenny - More famous Welsh faces that adorn the walls

The Hardwick, Abergavenny – More famous Welsh faces that adorn the walls

The Hardwick, Abergavenny - Some of the Famous Welsh Faces Featured On The Walls

The Hardwick, Abergavenny – Some of the Famous Welsh Faces Featured On The Walls

On The Hardwick Website Stephen says the following about a menu:

It should be easy to read and understand. Descriptions should be concise and informative. A customer will generally take a few words or seconds to decide whether they like a dish or not and move onto the next. So it is important to keep it to the point and not go off on some mad creative writing exercise as is often the case with too many menus.

It was easy to read, I’m not sure if it was available in other formats (Braille, large print etc) but the service staff were so helpful I’m sure they would read the menu to someone should it be required. Price wise, it was reasonable, not cheap but overly expensive. People who know me through my work know I love the word relative. It was relatively priced when you consider a) the service and b) the quality of food you get.

At the end of the night after my meal at The Hardwick, Abergavenny

At the end of the night after my meal at The Hardwick, Abergavenny

I know I’m late posting this and I am sorry for that, we went there September last year, I’d like to thank Stephen and his team for his hospitality; we will most certainly be back. Where will we be reviewing next…. all shall be revealed soon. This review is a work in progress as Greg’s thoughts have to be added, but as you’ll know from Tuesday’s post he’s been tied up with rehearsals so I haven’t had chance to quiz him. See you on the weekend for a quick and easy recipe…. now we’re back in the swing of things.

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Birthday Celebrations in Demiro’s, Cardiff

I know it’s not strictly in the theme of the blog but I thought I’d share my experiences at Demiro’s in Cardiff recently.  My mother’s birthday is on th 14th and my birthday is the 15th of May – so we usually celebrate together.  This year we thought we’d do something different and went for a meal to Demiro’s which is on Cardiff Bay.

My mother and I were quite looking forward to it as we’ve not been out for a meal in a while. The evening itself was a lovely sunny evening and the bay looked fantastic, I was unsure what to expect as, if I’m honest the thought of a choice of Spanish, Italian or Welsh menus confused me a little.

Collage Of Photographs From Demiro's

Collage Of Photographs From Demiro’s

On arrival we were greeted by very attentive staff, who looked after all our needs, topping up our drinks and taking photographs when requested.  From a disability point of view the access was good, I didn’t use the accessible toilet although there was one available. There was a lot of furniture but members of staff were more than happy to create room for someone with specific access needs.  I didn’t ask about menus in other formats but if someone had difficulty reading the menus they are available on the internet via their website, I also have no doubt the waiting staff would be happy to read the menu to those who were unable to – I got the impression that they’d do anything to accommodate their guests.

Moving onto the food, because let’s be honest that’s important in a food blog! We opted for the Spanish menu, my mother’s starter was Gambas y Aguacote (prawns and avacado) and I had Crab Cakes for myself with Tartare Sauce. They were excellent and very enjoyable, I enjoy crab cakes and make my own on a regular basis, these were as good as mine (maybe slightly better, just maybe)! Our mains arrived, my mother ordered El Pollo en el Champinon y Wine (Breast of chicken with mushroom and wine sauce) and I had the Monkfish “Demiros” (pan fried Monkfish served with ratatouille and new potatoes). Both starters and main were excellent and thoroughly enjoyed by the two of us. I had never eaten Monkfish but as it was a special occasion I thought I’d go for it – I’m glad I did!

Now for the desserts, is this your favourite part of the meal? I’m more of a starter person myself but when you’re out for a meal you’ve got to indulge a bit, and boy we indulged! I had a fantastic Baileys Cheesecake, it was very rich but not too over the top it didn’t leave me with a sinking feeling after it. My mother had a Trio of Chocolate, we tried each other’s deserts and while, we liked each other’s we preferred our own dessert.

Collage Of Photographs Of The Food From Demiro's

Collage Of Photographs Of The Food From Demiro’s

After a rendition of Happy Birthday from the singing waiters and blowing out the candle on a cake we were given we ended the night with fantastic entertainment and two cheeky Irish Coffees – bliss!

It was an experience I will definitely be repeating, although next time I will be visiting the VIP Piano lounge upstairs. Thanks to all the staff for their hospitality, especially Deano who was very entertaining and very interesting to talk to. Special thanks goes to Chris my mate as always for driving my mother and I down there, and my mother for paying for it!

I’d recommend Demiro’s to anybody, as long as you like entertainment – if you don’t then I’m not sure it would be your cup of tea but – the food certainly would! The entertainment took the form of two signing waiters who belted out show tunes.  Don’t be fooled, they were not in the faces of the guests and were trained performers.  With an excellent sound system the songs filled the room without the intrusion of the Waiters.  Then there was Deano an excellent entertainer who performed rat pack songs and classics from that era – that was just up our street.  The waiters (well they were singers more than waiters) were excellent and Deano well, what can I say from Al Jolson to Ol’ Blue Eyes himself a fantastic entertainer and a great man.

You can visit Demiro’s online here for more information. If you have any questions you’d like to ask about either myself or the Wheelie Good Meals concept please feel free to drop us a line on enquiries@wheeliegoodmeals.co.uk. Don’t forget you can find us on Instagram, Twitter, Youtube, Google+ and Pintrest as we make Wheelie Good Meals!

Hope you enjoy your visit, visit our Instagram page for more photographs of our time at Demiro’s

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