Venturing only slightly outside of Cardiff for a review, Mr V and I were invited to the prestigious Celtic Manor Resort in Newport to try the Sunday Lunch menu at Terry M Restaurant. When I was at University, travelling back to Cardiff after holidays, I always used to get excited to almost be back when I saw the Celtic Manor looming over the motorway in all it’s finery. Despite living in Cardiff for 12 years now, I’m afraid I have never paid it a visit until this January.
The approach to The Celtic Manor is quite grand with long uphill windy roads before reaching the entrance laced with cars that cost upwards of a years salary for me. I started to panic that I might be under-dressed but as soon as we entered the restaurant I felt more relaxed. We were immediately greeted, coats were taken and we were offered a seat in the waiting lounge area. The service was very full on but it didn’t feel at all over the top. Sometimes I am put off by staff being so attentive and I prefer to be left alone to enjoy my meal but throughout our visit, the service was just right and in keeping with the tone of the restaurant which I would describe as relaxed fine dining.
After some appetizers and a drink, we were shown to our table. There were four other parties dining which resulting in a good atmosphere and a comfortable level of chatter which was nicely muffled by the sound of some soft, relaxing music.
Whilst waiting for our starters we were brought small rolls still warm from the oven which were delicious. These were accompanied by some butter topped with rock salt which I really enjoyed. To start, we both wanted the same thing from the menu as usual and on this occasion Mr V won the prize; The Salmon Mi-cult, salted cucumber and orange gel. It really was an excellent quality piece of salmon and a good size. The texture was soft, smooth and delicate. Melt in your mouth is a cliché but it really did. However I didn’t feel that the orange gel added much. It was a nice flavour but we were expecting something a little more exciting given the description.
My starter was in fact the one we both prefered in the end. The salad of warm baby beetroots, Suffolk ewe’s milk cheese with apple and horseradish. The different varieties of beetroot were very tasty and added interesting textures which were a lovely contrast with the soft creamy ewes cheese. It also looked very appetising as did all the dishes we saw appearing from the kitchen.
For our mains, Mr V opted for the traditional Cefn Mawr Farm beef Sunday dinner as it was the Sunday lunch menu we were reviewing. The beef was served medium rare which was perfect and was carved at the table which was a nice touch. The beef was excellent and the accompaniments were also nice. It was a very good Sunday Roast but we felt that it was missing the wow factor. Mr V also had a slight niggle with the gravy because it was poured onto the plate by the waiter at the table but he would have prefered a small gravy boat so that he could decide the amount and where it went. I have to agree.
I chose the Free range pork fillet, fondant potato, salted cabbage and apple which was the star of the show. The pork was fantastic. It was cooked perfectly with crispy fat around the outside of the medallions. The dish was decorated with little balls of apple which seemed to pop in my mouth. I very much enjoyed this course and although we would happily eat both dishes again, the pork was our favourite.
Moving onto dessert, I chose the Snowball parfait, citrus salad and candied grapefruit and Mr V chose the chocolate fondant with tonka bean ice cream. The parfait was lovely. It tasted exactly like a snowball with a good hit of Advocaat. It went very well with the citrus flavours and the candied grapefruit added some bite to the dish.
Mr V’s fondant looked the part. Chocolate oozed out as the spoon made contact and the flavours were very good but it was ever so slightly undercooked. It still hit the mark though and no plates were left uncleared.
To finish a satisfying meal we were served coffee and homemade petit fours.
Overall, we had a very nice afternoon. It was a relaxing atmosphere whilst still being quite formal which worked well. Staff were attentive and still human, not too serious like they can be in a fine dining restaurant. I think the prices were very reasonable too at £22.50 for 2 course and £28.50 for three. I appreciate that this isn’t cheap and may not be what everyone would be willing to pay for a Sunday lunch but I think the quality and overall experience matched the price.
My last mouthful was: The Free Range Pork Fillet
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