We were able to enjoy the village of Portmeirion as a guest this weekend just past, and in the deal (in association with KGB) included dinner on our first night stay. I can only say that the food was absolutely incredible. I have not eaten in many top restaurants (ok, none) but this was how I imagine fine dining to be.
Firstly, the restaurant. Obviously, as it is inside the Hotel in the village it is an art-deco delight. The dining room is beautifully lit with and understated style and a relaxed atmosphere, despite the sense of "high-end" to everything.
I notice there are a couple of earlier reviews on this site with regards to staff. I can say that, from my experience, the staff were excellent - attentive without being to pushy, efficient on a busy evening, and exceptionally friendly whilst keeping an air of high-class service. They really do seem to know their business and the food that was being provided. I may be wrong, but I think I overheard a conversation with regards to a recent change of either chef or management, so that may the reason why the restaurant received a couple of less complimentary reviews at the back-end of 2012.
Now, the food. I've used the word incredible already, but I am struggling for superlatives to describe the meal we were served on Friday night. There was a table d'hote menu for the "dinner included" guests like ourselves, but with individually priced supplements you could upgrade a starter or main to the a la carte menu. The menu itself did not contain a whole range of dishes, but we soon learned that this was because the kitchen needs time to do what its doing well, and more than a handful of catering options would, no doubt, have been detrimental to the food provided. Therefore, if you are a little fussy, I would consider eating somewhere else, as you need to enjoy all types of food to truly enjoy what's on offer.
Before our starters arrived, we were treated to an amuse-bouche of Welsh Rarebit with roasted hazelnuts, accompanied by the most wonderful warm pea soup "shot". I was still grinning like an idiot (no-one has ever amused my bouche before) when our starters of spinach, goats cheese and pesto profiteroles, and lambs liver with mango and chorizo arrived. They were delicately served on Welsh slate flat-plates (as were all the courses) and created with a sytle and finesse that screamed "class" very loudly indeed.
Our main courses where loin of venison on a bed of red cabbage, with venison and potato pudding and roasted vegetables, and sole and king scallops on a lemon-pomme mash with fennel.
"By 'eck, it's like one of those posh food progammes like Masterchef", I nearly remarked whilst removing my flat-cap in astonishment.
For pudding, we had pear souffle with vanilla ice cream and rhubarb and custard compote with candy-floss and a mini doughnut. I cannot believe I didn't take any pictures of the food, as they really do need to be seen to be believed. The design of each dish, and the presentation alone made each course a joy, but the flavours were absolutely exquisite. I could eat the venison and potato pudding over and over again, if given the chance.
This is a real eating experience, and we were at our table for around 90 minutes, but each moment was a joy, and the anticipation of each course was worth it every time. This is not an establishment where you get food by the foot. It is quality ingredients blended together perfectly. I am a comically big eater (fast, as well) but I made sure I savoured every mouthful, and it was worth it, but don't expect large portions - it's not that place. I even felt like I had eaten my fill by the end of the evening, which doesn't happen to me that often to be honest.
The only thing to do then was to adjourn to the log fire for post meal drinks and then later, shuffle off into the night back to our delightful apartment at the top-end of the village.
If they could just do something about that hill on the way home, that would be ace.
Anyone still reading this? If you are, treat yourselves and go there as soon as you possibly can. If you aren't, I don't blame you - I don't half go one sometimes,
PS. Breakfast is wonderful as well, but no-one is surely reading by now....
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