Stephen Terry, owner and chef of Abergavenny’s The Hardwick, and proud adopted Welshman, has worked with the greats – including Michel Roux Jr, Alain Passard and a young Marco Pierre White – and pocketed Michelin stars, but there’s not a shred of show-off in him or his cooking. He and his brigade work with outstanding produce from Wales and the Marches, and turn out highly elevated pub food that never feels pretentious.
What to eat As well as hearty platefuls like Middle White pork belly and black pudding with capers, apple and mustard sauce, or ribeye steak with wild garlic, portobello rarebit and chips, there are vegetable-loving dishes, such as salt-roast beetroot with goat’s curd, cauliflower soup with Welsh cheddar, and seasonal treats of asparagus or puntarelle.
Star suppliers Smoked salmon is from Severn & Wye Smokery, and the beef is from TV legend Johnny Morris’s farm, aka HJ Edwards, near Hay-on-Wye. Look out for Welsh charcuterie from Trealy Farm, and lean, organic Black Welsh Mountain lamb raised near Abergavenny. The Greek-style yogurt at brekky is from Neal’s Yard creamery in Dorstone and the sourdough from Hay baker Alex Gooch.
The booze It’s got to be a pint of Ty Gwyn cider, Butty Bach or Hereford Pale Ale.
The bed Stephen and his wife Joanna converted The Hardwick from an old boozer into a smart but cosy place to eat and stay. The eight rooms look neat and modern, with walk-in showers and tables commissioned from a local joinery, and warm touches such as Melin Tregwynt textiles, and furniture and art from the Terrys’ own home.
The breakfast The strapping cooked breakfast features smoked bacon, black pudding and bread fried in Middle White pork fat. Alternatives include fried eggy bread, bacon and maple syrup, sausage sandwich, and eggs benedict or royale.
The bill Doubles from £155 b&b, mains from £16. (thehardwick.co.uk)
Written October 2015
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