Saturday, 27 May 2017

Hare and Hounds, Vale of Glamorgan restaurant review 2017

I had no intention of blogging about my most recent visit to the Hare & Hounds.

I’ve already been as gushing I can be about this Vale of Glamorgan country pub here and here.

But, I can’t resist sharing some more love for their ingredient led, seasonal cooking.

There are no foams, smears, spherifications or other gimmicks; just flavour packed, technically accomplished, simply presented food that’s served by a knowledgeable and friendly front of house team.

This time we visited for the Spring tasting menu evening where seven courses, a glass of fizz and extras cost £55 a head. But, you can have the tasting menu anytime if you pre-order.

A glass of prosecco was fragranced with a light strawberry syrup.

Snacks comprised of a light and fresh asparagus soup with ricotta, airy Hafod cheddar gougeres and super short and rich cheese biscuits. 

Oysters are a mainstay at the Hare and Hounds but this is the first time I’ve ever eaten them cooked. The pairing of briney beer-battered molluscs and smoky romesco sauce was a big success.

Bread was as good as ever - a burnished complex wholemeal sourdough and cheese-twanged focaccia were served with creamy home-cultured butter. 

Next up came one of the standouts of the night. The shortest of pasty cases cradled silky bechamel sauce studded with Wye Valley asparagus and turbo-charged with savoury Hafod cheddar. 

A runny confit egg yolk dialled up the indulgence of the plate even further. 

A copper-coloured lobster and crab bisque, heady with the earthy intensity of brown meat and liquorice twang of tarragon, nestled a dainty raviolo filled with sweet lobster and crab meat and chive. 

I’m not the biggest bresaola fan as it lacks the fatty richness of other cured meats. But, this was the best example I’ve had. Cured in the pub’s cellar for four months, the tender beef was spiced with juniper and pepper. It was elevated by slow-cooked sweet tomatoes, a smoked tomato puree and peppery rocket leaves. 

My favourite dish of the evening comprised of a flaky hake fillet and soft leeks blanketed in a buttery and delicately lemony hollandaise laced with pieces of meaty mussel and fragrant laverbread.

A rack of sweet and tender milk fed Torgelly lamb was joined by a disk of lamb shoulder, a chargrilled asparagus spear, intense wild garlic puree, roasting juices and a richness-balancing sharp mint sauce. 

A fragrant rhubarb granita cleansed the palette before dessert. 

Souffle is another fixture on the menu at Hare and Hounds and with reason; they’re always frigging amazing. The perfectly risen cloud-light pud was fragranced with fresh strawberries. A scoop of uber-creamy vanilla ice cream was plonked into the middle. Oofh.

Petit fours maintained the stonking standard to the last mouthful. A homemade jammy dodger combined the shortest and butteriest of biscuits with tangy jam. A rich chocolate mousse was balanced by a boozy as heck cherry and a crisp biscuit base. 

As you can tell, I love the Hare and Hounds. If you haven't visited yet then I highly recommend pre-ordering the tasting menu.

The details:

Address - Hare & Hounds, Aberthin, Cowbridge CF71 7LG
Web -

Telephone - 01446 774892

Saturday, 20 May 2017

Cocorico Patisserie, Cardiff afternoon tea review

At the time of writing, Laurian's team from Cocorico Patisserie are tearing it up on Bake Off Creme de La Creme. Their semi-final will be broadcast this coming Wednesday 24 May.

I’m already a big fan of Cocorico’s macarons and pastries but seeing their impressive creations on the TV reminded me that I was yet to try their afternoon tea.

Available for pre-order at £15 a head, it’s the ideal showcase for their precise technique and penchant for interesting flavours.

My drink of choice was a lovely pot of loose leaf English breakfast tea. Mrs G and her mum both had very good flat whites. 

We kicked off with a savoury layer that was far more exciting than the usual finger sandwiches.

A beautifully warm, flaky and buttery mini croissant was stuffed with an enjoyably savoury combination of goat’s cheese and olive. A textbook crisp and soft white roll was filled with smoked salmon, cucumber and cream cheese whilst a dinky pie contained a comforting combo of chicken, leek and potato. 

Onto the sweet stuff and a mini Mont Blanc saw a short-crusted blueberry tart topped with airy whipped cream and sweet chestnut puree vermicelli.

A light choux bun was filled with praline cream, a caramelised hazelnut and whipped cream. The glossiest of glazes coated an intense blackcurrant mousse that sat atop another mini blueberry tart. 

You get to choose a macaron as part of the tea. All were crisp, soft, a tiny bit chewy and packed with flavour. I tried the raspberry and chocolate and delicately boozy Bailey's varieties. Mrs G’s raspberry and violet flavour was as pretty as a Jackson Pollock painting. 

Finally, on the top layer was a finger of waffle topped with jam, whipped cream and slices of strawberries. It was a lovely flavour combination but the crisp and slightly chewy waffle was my least favourite part of the tea. 

Afternoon tea at Cocorico was a real treat.

This isn’t the place to come if you want to stuff your face with bought in cupcakes and brownies. But, if you want to try the most technically accomplished patisserie in Cardiff then this is the right place.

The Details:

Address - Cocorico Patisserie, 35 Whitchurch Road, Cardiff CF14 3JP
Web -
Telephone - 02921 328 177