So, when I heard that the new Chef Patron of The Fox & Hounds in the pretty village of Llancarfan (10 minutes from Cardiff Airport) had worked at The Felin Fach Griffin and done stages at Le Champignon Sauvage and the Kingham Plough, I was sold.
With work experience like that you’d expect the Fox & Hounds to serve pub grub with a few fine dining flourishes. That’s exactly what you get.
Homebaked soda bread was crisp of crust and light of crumb. The accompanying butter could have been a little softer.
Delightfully sweet and clean tasting dressed white crab meat (£9) was dotted with capers, samphire, lightly pickled cucumber and served with a delicate parsley sauce.
Sweetbreads (£7.90) coated in a golden crumb were served with a silky and deeply meat sauce and fresh summer greens. This was a hearty starter and Mrs G commented that it would have been just as tasty without the breadcrumbs.
The mains both blew our socks off.
Mrs G described her Rosedew farm lamb cannon (£19) as one of the best pieces of sheep she’d ever eaten. The tender and flavour-packed meat was served with a wonderfully offaly homemade faggot, a golden and light potato cake, fresh asparagus, peas and broad beans, sweet braised little gem, pea puree and a meaty sauce.
My steak was so much more than just a fantastic slab of meat (£19). Here steak and chips were elevated far above the perennial restaurant “safe option”. The delightfully pink rib-eye was joined by sweet onion puree, a golden onion ring, a baby onion and another superb sauce.
On the side, triple-cooked chips were of the very highest order. But a dinky pot of cottage pie was the star of the show - golden-crusted fluffy potato sat atop belting beef mince in gravy heady with rosemary. A confession, I wiped the pot clean with my fingers.
Desserts maintained the exceptional standard of the mains.
A sticky toffee pudding souffle (£6.50) was super light and and twanged with caramel sweetness. A pool of toffee sauce at the bottom of the dish was a pleasant surprise whilst a scoop of creamy banana ice cream deftly avoided tasting artificial.
A smooth, sharp and not too sweet set lemon cream (£6.50) was adorned with first-rate fragrant strawberry sorbet, pieces and coulis, and crumbled honeycomb.
The Fox and Hounds is another cracking addition to the Vale of Glamorgan.
With Hang Fire Southern Kitchen, the Hare and Hounds, Bar 44, Restaurant James Sommerin, The Gallery and now the Fox and Hounds all calling the Vale home, it’s a very exciting time for food in the county.
Address - The Fox & Hounds, Llancarfan, Vale of Glamorgan CF62 3AD
Telephone - 01446 781287