Sunday, 6 February 2011

Bunch of Grapes

Bunch of Grapes is not just a bunch of grapes. This restaurant is located quietly amongst a row of houses up a hill in Pontypridd. The building does not stand out to the good-food seeker, but it surely offers an outstanding dining experience.

This restaurant offers fresh food sourced locally hence the menu changes from time to time.

Menu - A4 papers on a clipboard

Starter - Soup of the day - Chicken with mushroom soup
 The chicken and mushroom soup was not your regular creamy western-style thick soup. The soup was homemade with fresh chicken pieces, mushrooms and lots of sliced onions. It tastes almost like a Chinese homemade soup we normally have at home! Not only the soup was delicious and filled with flavours, even the accompanying homemade bread was excellent. The bread was really soft with a slightly crunchy crust and goes really well with the soup.

Starter - Carppacio of seared fillet of beef
 I had the Carpaccio of seared fillet of Breconshire Beef, watercress and girolle mushrooms. The seared fillet of beef was pink and tastes really sweet and tender as it was seared to perfection. The watercress and girolle mushrooms with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar accentuates the taste of the beef really well. An amazing start to the evening meal!

Fresh live oysters served on crushed ice with homemade chilli jam
 The £1.75 each oysters were really mouth watering! The oysters were one of the freshest I ever had, with minimal 'fishy' taste to it! A squeeze of lemon and a touch of the homemade chilli jam just brings out all the flavours of the sea from the oysters - yummy!

Great main courses follow the fantastic starters:

12 Hour Confit of Welsh Pork
We had the 12hrs confit belly of Welsh pork with caramelised Cox apple sauce, crackling, braised red cabbage and creamy grain mustard mash potato. The pork belly part is always my all time favourite as the combination of fatty layers and lean meat layers offer different textures to a pork dish. The crackling made from the fat layer of the pork belly also adds another dimension of texture to the entire dish. As the confit belly of Welsh pork was cooked for 12 hours, the meat was very tender and melts in your mouth! The sweet and sour taste from the braised red cabbage and the caramelised Cox apples compliments the pork very well. 10 out of 10 for a main course dish!

Creamy grain mustard mash potato
 Mash potato is also one of my favourite side dish. The mash potato served was really creamy and soft, but for me, it lacked a bit of seasoning.

Black bream
 Pan-fried whole black bream from Poole Harbour with caper, anchovies and almond butter, baked potato and charred lemon. The fish dish was good but not great, it was not the best amongst seafood dishes that I have tried before in many restaurants in Barcelona and in Asia. The fish was pan-fried really well with a crunchy skin and soft meat but it tasted too 'fishy' as we found that the belly were not cleaned properly. Hence, we are still in search of a great seafood/fish dish in the UK (apart from fish and chips).

To end the evening sweetly, we decided to indulge ourselves in 3 nice desserts:
 The blood orange and chocolate flakes cheesecake served with clotted cream was really refreshing and delicious. The orange and chocolate compliments each other really well and made the cheesecake 'something different' just like my friend said:"it is almost like eating a Terry's Chocolate Orange"!

Poached comice pear
 Poached comice pear served with brown sugar ice cream and biscotti. The pear was sweet and tasty with a touch of alcohol to it. Not a bad dish at all!

The beautiful looking Bunch of Grapes Homemade Trifle. Trifles come and many different shapes, forms and tastes. This one made by the restaurant is something different from what we normally see in the supermarket or even other restaurants. It was made of fresh homemade flavoured-cream, some custard, jelly and a homemade biscuit (I do not remember the exact ingredients) and topped with promegranate and toasted pistachio nuts. Yummylicious!

Overall, a very fun evening with great foods and great friends!

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