Sunday, 13 January 2013

I Feel Fine - Terry M restaurant review

What does the term 'fine dining' mean to you? Is it ambience, formal service, table cloths and a dress code?

Terry M at The Celtic Manor wears its fine dining credentials proudly on its sleeve, and this is 'classic' fine dining. Crisp white linens? Yep. Private dining room? Of course. Encyclopaedic wine list? Naturellement.

The restaurant boast 3 AA rosettes (more than any restaurant in Cardiff) and was last year taken back in-house by the hotel following a stint under the management of the Crown group of restaurants (succeeding where other hotels failed).
Terry M at The Celtic Manor
Terry M at The Celtic Manor
The dining room is exactly what you might expect, a subtle swish of cream and dark wood, twinkly crystal chandeliers, polished place settings and sparkling white crockery.

We were booked in for Sunday lunch at £28.50 for 3 courses.

A deliciously sweet and surprisingly light, beer and onion bread was delivered and to start I had the Guinea Fowl Rillettes, Parsley Coulis, Pickled Vegetables. The guinea fowl had a distinctive yet subtle game flavour, was very moist, the pickles efficiently dispersing the coating of fattiness left by the meat.

Guinea Fowl Rillettes
Guinea Fowl Rillettes

For the main we both had the Cefn Mawr Farm Beef from the Carving Trolley with Traditional Accompaniments. The cut was sirloin and was delivered with a marvellous bit of restaurant theatricality  reminiscent of the scene in Hello Dolly when all the characters descend on Harmonia Gardens.

Carving the beef at the table
Carving the beef at the table
 Everything on this plate was spot on. The beef medium rare, vegetables beautifully turned and cooked perfectly, the parsnip so sweet it almost tasted of coconut and some super-charged horseradish which brought a tear to my eye.

Roast sirloin of Cefn Mawr Beef
Roast sirloin of Cefn Mawr Beef
 We decided in the face of such good cooking, that it would be foolish not to press ahead to the dessert and so I tested the kitchen with the bĂȘte noire of Masterchef contestants, Chocolate Fondant with Coconut Ice Cream and I wasn't disappointed. Ultra rich with the thinnest layer of firm pudding holding back a flood of gooey chocolate, this was decadent and satisfying.

Chocolate fondant with coconut ice cream
Chocolate fondant with coconut ice cream
Finishing off with espresso and petits fours, I hit the only duff note of the meal with the honey madeleine which were a touch dry, but a surprisingly intense apricot jelly did manage to convince me that not all jelly should be restricted to children's birthday parties.

Petits fours
Petits fours 
We enjoyed our lunch at Terry M very much. To be sure, the set menu Sunday lunch is unlikely to deliver anything particularly challenging, but if we didn't get to see the best of the kitchen in terms if creativity, we certainly got to experience some very accurate and accomplished cooking. I came away feeling that I had been very well fed indeed.

Disclosure: I was invited by The Celtic Manor to try the new Sunday menu and the meal was complimentary

Terry M at The Celtic Manor
01633 410 262


Terry M, on Urbanspoon
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