First-class fine dining in Wales
Dining out at a new restaurant is something I always look forward to, however dining at the award winning Owens is not dining out as I had previously known, it’s a dining experience and an education in flavours and fine wine.
We were greeted at the door and offered a drink in the lounge beforehand, and a perfect Martini with a twist, and a tall G&T promptly arrived. The restaurant manager and sommelier Laurentiu Florea recommended we have the tasting menu – a mere eight courses, each with a glass of specially selected wine to fully compliment the flavours of the food, we happily agreed – although we felt maybe eight glasses of wine each, although small, may not be the best plan!
As each dish was consumed, I swore I had never tasted anything so good – until the next one arrived. Between each course we were briefed on what we were about to eat and how it had been prepared and cooked.
The Gloucester pork belly with celeriac remoulade, pickled pearl onions, honey and mustard dressing was served with a Gavi di Gavi Late Harvest 2003 from Tuscany, its pineapple, peach and pear flavours creating the most amazing taste sensation. This dish was my favourite… I think!
The main course was a canon of Welsh lamb with nicoise potatoes, caper and raisin puree, and basil-infused lamb jus, which was simply divine.
With our vanilla espuma dessert (a rich vanilla mousse) we had a glass of Concha Y Torro, 2004 private reserve Sauvignon Blanc dessert wine, which delicately cut through the smooth rich vanilla cream.
The cheese course was an event in itself. A selection of artisan cheeses, crackers, homemade chutneys and grapes were brought to our table and after an informed description of each cheese, we chose a few to have with a 10-year Tawny Port. Delicious.
I was surprised that after our meal, I felt thoroughly satisfied but not uncomfortably full, and was amazed that four hours had passed since we sat down. The food was unquestionably good, and the little culinary extras we were offered throughout added the personal touch. The presentation and attention to detail was second to none and the service simply the best I have ever received.
A meal at Owens is a real treat and doesn’t come cheap, but if you apreciate excellent food and superior wine, you will certainly love this fine dining experience.
Owens fine dining restaurant at The Celtic Manor Resort, Coldra Woods, The Usk Valley, South Wales. NP18 1HQ. 01633 413000. www.celtic-manor.com