Last weekend, in honour of my birthday and last year in my twenties, we decided to go somewhere outside of Cardiff for a lunchtime treat and make a day of it. The Charthouse in Monmouthshire appealed to me and had been recommended by fellow food blogger GomezAdams so we decided to give it a try.
The Charthouse is about 40 minutes from Cardiff Centre and is in a lovely country location in easy distance from Usk and Abergavenny. Owned and run by Head Chef Wesley Harris, the Charthouse menu is traditional with a twist. Produce is seasonal and much of it is locally sourced.
The Charthouse has a very friendly and welcoming feel to it. The bar area where you are seated until your meal is ready to be served is very homely with rocking chairs, cushions and comfy sofas. With an open fire-place that allows you to see right into the dining area, it is very much like waiting in someone’s living room. This is heightened by the friendly, laid back staff. While we were there, there was only one lady welcoming and serving and it made it feel like we had gone to her house for dinner!
When our starters were ready we were shown to the dining room. With its lamenate floor, veneer wooden tables and high-backed chairs, it was quite modern but still felt homely. There were renovations going on when we were there so the dining area was quite small but there will be more space once it’s finished.
We tucked into our starters and they were the best part of the meal. My Locally shot pigeon, caramelised almond & polenta crouton salad was delicious! The leaves were quite unusual and gave the impression that they might have been foraged because they tasted so wild and fresh. The dressing was really good and the croutons added another dimension which I really enjoyed.
Ben chose Pan fried red mullet, spiced treally farm boudin noir & duck liver parfait, chilli and parsley oil and it was beautiful! He got a generous helping of mullet (which he dutifully shared!) and it was cooked to perfection. It really complimented the duck parfait. I could have eaten it for all three courses!
For the main, we both picked Roe deer & dark chocolate mustard Wellington, potato rosti, braised red cabbage with a port jus. We generally make a habit of picking something different when we go out to eat but on this occasion we both wanted the venison and our second choice, just didn’t come close as we both love a good wellington!
The wellington did not disappoint. It was cooked perfectly, pink in the middle, surrounded with soft pastry and a layer of chocolate and horseradish between them. For me the flavours worked well together but for Ben, the chocolate and venison were an awkward combination and he would have prefered it without the chocolate. He very much enjoyed the sweet red cabbage and potato rosti though which accompanied it. The rosti was soft in the middle and crispy on the outside and with just the right amount of gravy, it was exactly to my liking.
Very full, we decided that it just wouldn’t do not to have a desert and finish the meal properly so we battled on and ordered chocolate orange cheesecake and apple pie. Both were very nice but for both of us, the stars of the show were the savoury dishes.
All in all, we had a very nice meal. The starters were amongst the best I’ve had in a long time and they were priced reasonably for what they included. You could tell the ingredients were of a high standard. The main we chose was on the expensive side (£18.25) and I think if had it been slightly cheaper, it would have seemed fairer but it was very tasty all the same.
I will definitely go back to the Charthouse and I recommend you make the trip out of Cardiff to see what they have to offer.
My Last Mouthful was: Pan fried red mullet, spiced treally farm boudin noir & duck liver parfait, chilli and parsley oil
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