The Hardwick is Stephen Terry's pub/restaurant just across the border in Wales. Terry is a highly rated chef who started with Marco Pierre White and has had a interesting and varied career and is representing Wales in the "Great British Menu" on TV. Our current strategy to try new restaurants is to sample the ones close to us that are featured on the GBM - a good way of getting some variety.
The restaurant spreads over the pub, taking up all three rooms. Food is very good. A cross between good, up-market pub classics and hearty, rustic Italian food. It doesn't seem to be trying to be any more than a really good pub restaurant - no artistic presentation or garnishes of flowers - just simple good food.
We started with Carpaccio of beef, over rocket with pesto and Parmesan, which looked slightly too well cooked (we love raw/very rare Carpaccio), but nevertheless had a superb flavour. The other entrée was a smoked duck breast salad with blood oranges and a tapenade; again really good flavours, and a well-balanced dressing on the salad.
Mains were a lightly oak-smoked haddock, poached egg, green vegetable (kale?) with new potatoes; and a stuffed pork shoulder, soft white beans, and a salad with crisp pancetta. Again all the flavours balanced well and both plates were wiped clean. We also had a side order of thrice cooked (Fat Duck) chips which where great.
Deserts are based around a broad variety of interesting ice creams (peanut butter and jelly for example), but we chose some traditional alternatives, a sticky toffee/date pudding and a rice pudding with apple - both good if a little pedestrian.
Total bill for two was £81.30 - three courses each, with four glasses of wine and a coffee.
If you are heading for South Wales or hill walking in the Brecon Beacons this is a great place to head to for a really satisfying meal. We would return time and time again if a bit closer.