A bargain lunch in a classic old-fashioned chintzy country house hotel (now owned by the National Trust). £22.50 gets you three courses from a short menu, of about 5 items per course. Costs start to ratchet up, of course, once you’ve decided to have a drink. We had an aperitif in the lounge which came with a good selection of “bar nibbles”.
As to food, minted pea soup, with crème fraiche, was bang-on as a summer starter. Similarly successful was a small fillet of red mullet which sat on a few leaves and a scattering of orange and grapefruit. The citrusy effect was heightened by a coriander dressing. It could easily have overpowered the fish. It didn’t.
A main of just cooked through cod fillet came with a quenelle of smoked bacon brandade, a few local Conwy mussels, some wilted spinach and a mild mustard sauce. Good well balanced dish.
Impossible for me not to choose the lamb, or should that be llamb as we’re in Wales. Rump in this case. And very delicious and tender, even if cooked a tad past pink. It came with tarragon mash (which, I have to say, wouldn’t have been my first choice for flavouring the spuds), a couple of sautéed morels, asparagus and creamed cabbage. Nothing fancy here – just good lunchtime cooking.
Desserts, however, were a disappointment. Yoghurt panna cotta was bland and boring. Advertised as coming with roasted peach, the plate was adorned with four of the thinnest discs of flavourless nothingness that could be imagined. A small baked Alaska came with a blackberry compote. It read well on the menu but just wasn’t very nice.