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“Sheer perfection”
Review of Carpenters Arms

Carpenters Arms
Ranked #4 of 49 Restaurants in Pontypool
Certificate of Excellence
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Dining options: Late Night, Breakfast, Delivery, Reservations
Description: Privately owned and run for the last 9 years. We buy all our ingredients as locally as possible. We make all of our dishes in house, including desserts!As well as great pub food, we also have a huge selection of fresh meats and fish.We can cater for parties up to 100 in our function room,(200 if you would like to book the whole pub)We have a civil marriage licence and have a great deal of wedding experience, and can help plan your perfect day. We tailor make each day to suit your needs and budget.We also cater and host all family functions such as birthdays, christenings and wakes.We'll always do our very best to help so please drop in or give us a call.
1 review
“Sheer perfection”
Reviewed April 9, 2013

After being constantly recommended, our trip to the Carpenters definitely didn't disappoint!

Fantastic service with a warm friendly and inviting atmosphere.

We arrived fairly late in the evening but were greeted with open arms and our orders were taken with impeccable manners from the waitress and bar staff.

When the food arrived, with a full compliment of fresh veg, I was amazed at tr amount set in front of us.

The quality of the food was out of this world - the opinion of the whole table and not just myself. We each ordered a different dish from the wide choice available to us on the menu at very very reasonable prices.

Thank you Matt, Mark and the team for a wonderful evening will see you soon!

  • Visited April 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank Peewee90
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
matt h, Owner at Carpenters Arms, responded to this review, April 11, 2013
Hiya Peewee!

It's sooooo great that you enjoyed your meal the other evening :D We always do our best to have something for everyone (not easy I can assure you!) and it's with delight that I see you've loved it!

The guys have just been trying out a whole load of new dishes and we are changing our specials as of tomorrow, so you might find something else yummy to tempt your taste buds.

I'm so full from trying it all day I can hardly move!

Thanks again,

Matt
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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242 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
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Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Italian first
  • Any
English first
newport
Level 3 Contributor
13 reviews
7 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
“Excellent lovely tasty food”
Reviewed April 8, 2013 via mobile

Visited here for Sunday lunch as it was the only place I could find that offered both Sunday lunches and food from the regular menu. Food was delicious, service excellent, the whole place had character and was very clean.

I will be going back!

  • Visited April 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank pandaspot
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
matt h, Owner at Carpenters Arms, responded to this review, April 11, 2013
Hi Pandaspot,

Thanks for your great feed back :D

I remember speaking to you and you asking the Sunday questions on the phone!. Great that you came and enjoyed yourselves, even when I was out serving food myself having had a break from cooking.

(My waitering skills sometimes aren't quite as smooth as the girls and guys doing it all the time, but I do my best,and enjoy seeing everyone!!!)

Look forward to looking after you again soon,

Matt
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 3 Contributor
12 reviews
10 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
“Brilliant hidden gem!”
Reviewed April 7, 2013

Visited with friends for a late dinner. As always the service was great, the food even better! Always a great atmosphere and the team do an excellent job making you feel as welcome as the regulars. Wi deffo go back again...and again!!

  • Visited April 2013
    • Value
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank oomyekim
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
matt h, Owner at Carpenters Arms, responded to this review, April 11, 2013
Hello Oomekim,

Great to see you've enjoyed yourselves :D It as always brings a huge smile to my face :D Please excuse my short reply, I am in the middle of tediously slow tax legislation for all of my staff this evening (RTI....) and have just popped onto TA for a quick break in the monotony!

Many thanks again for your time to visit us and to review us here,

Kindest regards,

Matt
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London
Level 6 Contributor
109 reviews
71 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 81 helpful votes
“Great meal”
Reviewed April 2, 2013

My wife and I ate here while staying in the area on a short break.

After seeing some of the eateries in the area it was with some trepidation that we arrived at the Carpenters Arms pub. However, we received a warm welcome and were promptly shown to our table by people at the bar and things looked pretty good.

The menu is extensive, which often worries me as how can you offer that much choice and do it all well, however I needn't have worried as everything we had was excellent. Highlights were the kings prawns in butter garlic, Lamb Shank "persian" style (even though the pomegranate seeds were substituted with red currents, which ultimately was a better combination anyway) and a side of garlic fried Mushrooms (chef is a master with garlic and butter :) ).

As with everywhere we went in Wales, the portion sizes were massive. The food was presented well though and the quality of the produce and cooking made it was incredibly good value.

Service was friendly and very good. Although we did appear to be in a bit of a dead spot in the corner of the room and at the end of the meal found it hard to get anyone's attention to get the bill.

For us, the room we ate in was a bit of a let down and made for a poor atmosphere for such quality food. The room was a large rectangle with plain tables running along each side and the glaringly bright lights coming through the two serving door windows to the kitchen. Would be nice if they got rid of the windows to the kitchen (not really required if you have two doors - surely one in one out) or partitioned that area off a bit, made the table less orderly to break things up a bit, had some quality furniture and maybe adorned the walls with something to break up the feeling of eating in a large function room.

I think there were other "dining" rooms, but I didn't see them, so can't comment. But if they were as pleasant as the entrance, then there are nicer areas than where we were sat.

In summary, if you doubled the prices and cut the portion sizes to a third of their size, then the food here wouldn't be out of place in a good London fine dining establishment - it's just a shame that the main dining room is a bit soulless.

  • Visited March 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank Chunkylover53__x
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
matt h, Owner at Carpenters Arms, responded to this review, April 3, 2013
Hey Chunky lover, (Love the name by the way!)

It was with pleasure that we looked after you on Sat evening.

I was, as usual, in the kitchen with my whites on helping the guys cook that night. I remember very well the girls coming in at the time mentioning that you'd noticed the absence of pomegranate (our supplier couldn't get any that morning, he'd even apologised on my receipt!) But am also very glad you enjoyed our fresh red currants instead. Of course the glaze is still a reduction of the cooking juices and pomegranate as you noted.

We strive to provide the very best of local fresh cooking, and as avid foodies ourselves, appreciate the difference between fresh local meats (as we use in everything we serve, with out exception) and lesser quality frozen imports. It plays havoc with my margins as we can only charge so much. But I assure you that is is with true delight that I see you have noticed and appreciated the difference!

Your comments about the restaurant are of course noted and appreciated also. I have been at this pub for 9 years now. It was shut when I first came here and had been for over 6 months.

At that time the entrance area / bar and the smaller lower restaurant were all the "Carpenters" consisted of. However my slowly growing team and I took a gamble and started renting it anyway. Albeit after I had spent a month here with my Dad painting, tiling, cleaning, fixing (you probably get the picture!).

We opened for business 5th March 2005.

After a few years I was able to buy the freehold of the gentleman (and he truly was a decent old gent) who then owned it.

I then set about plans to expand, and building started in Jan 2010. It has been very, very hard to fund and involved me selling my house!. Even since the new part of the building has been open (the room where you were is part of the extension) I have been slowly ploughing in every penny of profit we make into upgrading everything bit by bit to the standard we hope to achieve .

I sometimes look and dream at solid oak refractory tables and the like, and 100% agree that they would be a fabulous addition to our rooms. As well as more wall art and trinkets to boot.

If you ask anyone who has been visiting us here over the last 9 years , I'm confident that they would assure you that I am a busy beaver and always looking at what I can do to improve. Even if it means landscaping / painting / building decking, you name it. If I have a spare penny it's invested!

It may seem like a long winded reply, but as you were kind enough to take your time to give me some quality feed back I thought I'd spare a moment to share a bit of my personal pub history with you. Hopefully not boring!

Incidentally, if you are interested, you can follow the Facebook link from my main pub web page (the link to this is on my TripAdvisor main page) You'll be able to find, in the photos section, a few of the build pictures from 2010, and some of the old building before work started. It really was a fairly big change!

If you're ever back in the area it would be great to look after you again, and although spare cash for me to invest is somewhat thin on the ground at the moment (Thank the local council for putting my rates up by 400% last year and back taxing me two years worth to boot....) I will still endeavour to to put my philosophy of continual improvement to the test. Basically because I enjoy a challenge!

Once again many thanks for visiting, and also for taking the time to share on here.

Kindest regards for now,

Matt
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cardiff, United Kingdom
Level 3 Contributor
18 reviews
16 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“Fantastic Mother's Day”
Reviewed March 15, 2013

I had a fabulous Mother's Day Sunday Lunch at the Carpenters Arms. This was my second visit and certainly won't be my last. The whole family loved it, my son & daughter-in-law treated my mum & I which was fantastic. I had the roast pork which was melt in the mouth gorgeous. Definitely one to try if you've never been there before. Very friendly staff & full of atmosphere with a cosy log fire & beautifully decorated.

  • Visited March 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank ritamanita
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
matt h, Owner at Carpenters Arms, responded to this review, March 16, 2013
Hello Ritamanita!

Thank you thank you thank you! What A lovely review :D I always have a look to see if we've had any feedback and it literally give's me such joy to see the team and I giving our visitors such a nice time!

We work our socks off trying to get everything perfect and I'm completely delighted you've enjoyed it!

Thanks so much for taking the time to let us know on here too, it means the world to me and I'm very very grateful. (We've been flat out all day with a wedding today, so this will give my guys and girls a great boost of energy and pride when I pop down and tell them too)

Hope you enjoy the rest of your weekend :D

Thanks again,

Matt
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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