In a nutshell
This award-winning restaurant in the Vale of Glamorgan serves an ethically sourced menu of seasonal British produce in inventive ways. The creative, weekly changing menu has just earned it the title of Welsh Sustainable Restaurant of the Year for the third time in a row, and the team’s work to reduce food waste even extends to encouraging their customers to take home leftovers in foil-origami ‘doggy bags’.
Owner and head chef Barnaby Hibbert’s vision was to create a neighbourhood restaurant serving quality produce sourced as locally as possible. Since opening, he has picked up awards from The Good Food Guide, The South Wales Echo and The Sustainable Restaurant Association, but has also cemented The Gallery as a firm favourite among local foodies too.
With such a strong focus on eco-friendliness and traceability, it comes as no surprise that most of the produce on the menu at The Gallery comes from within a 50-mile radius. All of the fish is sustainably caught; more often than not, the staff even know the captain of the local boat that landed it. For non meat-eaters, vegetarian options like perl las Glamorgan sausages with shallot jam are just as mouthwatering as the meaty mains.
From the pavement, The Gallery looks like no more than a casual local wine bar. Head upstairs to the first floor, and guests are greeted with a modestly sized dining room with polished wooden floors, chandeliers and high-backed leather chairs adding a touch of luxury. The tall ceilings and bay-fronted windows give the room a light and airy feel by day, and are transformed to a cosy, candlelit atmosphere by night.
A complimentary bread basket to begin with included a variety of styles baked in-house – from foraged nettle pesto bread to stout sourdough, served with oil, vinegar and aioli.
For fish lovers, there was a stand-out starter of almond-crusted cured trout with crunchy glazed bacon, fresh orange segments, and more of that fragrant, foraged nettle pesto. My main, a meaty portion of pan-roasted hake with olive oil mash, mussels, and buerre blanc arrived topped with a striking black, paper-thin, squid ink wafer; whilst my guest’s duo of rabbit arrived on a dramatic clear-glass plate and was served with crispy pancetta, glazed apples and earthy, braised puy lentils.
All of the mains were served with a selection of seasonal vegetables, including garlicky, buttered carrots, cauliflower in creamy white sauce, and a generous portion of honey-glazed parsnips. It’s easy to see why they decided to offer those origami doggy bags!
For dessert, guests with bigger appetites than ours can choose from luxurious dishes like bitter chocolate tart with Seville orange marmalade ice cream; or a savoury cheeseboard packed with local Welsh cheeses and homemade chutneys.
On our arrival, the friendly and knowledgeable waiter was quick to spot that my guest and I were feeling a little worse for wear after a busy bank holiday weekend. They recommended a refreshingly sweet iced coffee and a strong bloody mary with plenty of Worcestershire sauce and black pepper – both hit the spot.
For the wine drinkers, the house white is an organic French sauvignon blanc, bought in casks and dangerously drinkable. Meanwhile, all of the beers on tap are sourced within Wales and most of the wine list is biodynamic.
On the date of our visit to The Gallery, an Easter Sunday menu offered two courses for £15.50 or three for £19. At this price, the skillful and creative cooking coupled with great service and a passionate commitment to sustainability mean that The Gallery offers almost unbeatable value for money.
The Gallery, 2 Broad St, Barry, South Glamorgan CF62 7AA
Words by Jane Cook (www.hungrycityhippy.co.uk)
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