A few weeks ago we were invited to A Garden To Plate cookery demonstration and lunch at The Newbridge On Usk. I’d never visited the hotel before although I have stayed at The Celtic Manor which is part of the same resort.
As much as we loved The Celtic Manor and would visit again in a flash The Newbridge On Usk is a totally different experience. They are both luxurious and the quality of the food and surroundings are the same but Newbridge On Usk is a quiet gem tucked away in the countryside next to the river Usk and it’s beauty took my breath away a little. I spent most of the day oohing and ahhing at the scenery and the beautiful family of swans gliding proudly along the river and that’s before we even got to the food.
The Garden To Plate day is part of a new feature at the hotel of live cookery demonstrations and is a day of foodie heaven. On arrival we were greeted with tea and coffee and a brief introduction to the day from general manager Ronan Hunter before heading outside and down to the gardens for a look around. Head gardener Anthony Maw obviously takes great pride in his job which you can see in the selection of produce in abundance in the gardens as well as the pretty area created that you can sit in to watch the world go by. As a food lover I loved peeking around the gardens and nosing at the various herbs.
We then headed up to the new patio area for the demonstration which was presented by head chef Adam Whittle and his sous chef Rob Maw, they showed us how to prepare and cook scallops with an incredible aubergine purée followed by two different types of meringue which were used to make a disorganised mess :-).
It was really interesting listening to Adam Whittle talk us through the process of making the dishes and the best part of course was getting to sample them afterwards. Adam is keen to always use the best local produce and they also forage locally for ingredients. I love this shop/use local ethos which you tend to find in higher quality restaurants in Wales. I’d never actually tasted scallops as I’m not that keen on seafood but they were incredible and I think I’m going to have to give them a whirl – the burnt aubergine purée will definitely be making it’s way onto my menu soon.
After the demonstration we got to enjoy an incredible blackberry and apple mojito created using blackberry sirop from local producer Angharad from The Preservation Society. I’m a bit of a fan of these sirops, having bottles of the strawberry and raspberry in my cupboards most of the time and I need to get my hands on a bottle of the blackberry one!
We headed inside for lunch next created by Adam and his team. It was delectable. Unfortunately we had to leave early so we only got to sample the first two courses and I was most disappointed to miss out on the dessert and the petit fours but the first two courses were delicious.
Whilst we waited for our starter we had fresh bread along with a Pinot Grigio.. Lunchtime drinking is something I rarely do so I had a happily hazy head by this point. Our starter of sea trout was beautifully presented and part of the dish was a cucumber sorbet which was really unusual and refreshing.
The main course was the highlight for me, the trio of lamb was so tasty and I loved the different ways of serving one of my favourite meats. I somehow managed to not get a photo of the main but I assure you it that it was spectacular. This was served with a glass of red wine. The restaurant is rustic and comfortable with all the additional touches you would expect of a restaurant of this calibre. I felt really relaxed and comfortable there.. although I guess that could have been the lunchtime wine 😉
There are a few more cookery demos coming up this summer at The Celtic Manor with the next one being an afternoon tea priced at £40 which includes a live demo, gin and tonics and a full afternoon tea – if it’s anything like the event above this is a great price and would make a fabulous gift. I’m also fancying the Christmas preserves one..a girl can dream yes?
This post is part of series of reviews and articles about Wales, you can find more in The Wonders Of Wales.
* Myself and my partner were invited to this event for the purpose of a review.