The Hardwick, Abergavenny – review

The fact that I have a slight crush on Stephen Terry has had absolutely no influence over what I thought of the meal I ate at The Hardwick last weekend. I promise.

Jokes and crushes aside, the menu at The Hardwick is unapologetic and clearly food that the chef likes. And I love that. From the outset you have faith in what you have ordered and you have good reason to.

It began with an absolute stunner of a starter – duck hash made of succulent pulled duck meat and diced bits of crispy duck fat, topped with a perfect fried duck egg. And to cut through all of that rich duck was bittersweet, charred chicory and burnt orange dressing.

Followed by a hunk of lamb shoulder peppered with crispy olive crumbs and a drizzle of mint for my main course. Served with a segment of deep fried polenta with a fluffy centre, braised greens, slow-baked cherry tomatoes, chargrilled spring onions and barba di fratti.

More desserts should be like this. Doughnuts with salted chocolate caramel dipping sauce and vanilla ice cream – I couldn’t wait to take a photo before trying it! See what I mean by unapologetic?

Ranked 23 out of the UK’s 100 top restaurants in the National Restaurant Awards 2014, The Hardwick is one of those all-rounders that caters for fellow chefs and food lovers as well as those who are intimidated by obscure ingredients and fluff and fancy.

My eat of the week

  • Confit duck hash, fried local duck egg, chicory and burnt orange dressing – £9
  • Shoulder of local Brecon lamb with braised greens, barba di fratti, chargrilled spring onions, deep fried polenta, slow-baked cherry tomatoes and black olive – £20
  • Doughnuts with salted chocolate caramel sauce and vanilla ice cream – £8
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