Fine dining is a phrase that is apt to make me a little nervous. I have never quite mastered the art of being seated gracefully by a waiter moving a chair ever closer to me in the expectation that I will gently float down on to it. I usually become flustered, attempt to manhandle the chair myself and usually entrap one of my feet in my handbag straps that snake wildly around the base of the table.
I am also a dab hand at hitting things over on the table when reaching down to pick up the over sized starched bedsheets that pass as napkins in these types of establishments.
This was happily not the case at the Wheatsheaf in Combe Hay
I was reliably informed by my daughter that its owners Ian and Adele were keen to provide a more relaxed and informal ambiance whilst still offering an eating experience unrivaled in the area.
It is set in a stunning backdrop of a village reminiscent of Beatrix Potter, and commands pleasant views while you sip your pre – dinner aperitif on the terrace.
Inside. the restaurant has a country tavern feel, with contemporary furnishings around the central fireplace that provide a point of difference in a traditional building such as this.
The waiting staff are polite and relaxed and guided us through the menu with their recommendations.We helpfully obliged the staff by tucking into the array of home made breads served with local rapeseed oil whilst deciding on our order.
I was keen to try scallops for the first time and they came served on a slate with a ratatouille and aubergine puree. They were perfectly cooked and were an instant “must have again” for me.
To follow I had the loin of Spring lamb served with seasonal vegetables and found the meat to be sweet, pink and totally to my liking. Praise indeed from a Welsh Girl.
Dinner was rounded off by a vanilla cheesecake, wild strawberries and a Champagne foam. A light but intensely flavoured end to a memorable meal.
My overriding memory of the evening was a feeling that I had been entertained in someone’s home, cared after and most definitely spoiled.
I don’t know how Ian and Adele have achieved this eating experience, but it is one often sought but rarely found in British eating today.
Hats off to the both of them.