Henry VIII was a man who famously liked his food, and though the stylish informality of the Tudor Farmhouse might not provide quite enough pomp and circumstance for a king, the cooking is certainly fit for one.
Local boy and head chef Blaine Reed’s behind the ambitious menu, elegant cooking and extensive use of local produce. The menu contains an entire section on the restaurant’s suppliers, and guests at the hotel can even book trips with the restaurant’s forager, who will take them out into the Forest of Dean to see what delights can be plucked from the ground and brought back for lunch.
Reed pairs unusual flavours and ingredients to create new twists on old favourites. Pork belly is accompanied by chorizo beignets and peppered pineapple, roast salmon arrives with almonds, cucumber and orange dressing and a starter of goat’s cheese pannacotta, hazelnut crumble, tapenade and oven-dried strawberries is a riot of contrasting flavours and textures, pitting sweet strawberries against tart olive tapenade and cool creamy cheese against gravelly nut crumble.
Desserts include a phenomenally generous board of six local cheeses. Passion fruit posset and lychee and banana sorbets are clearly not made from local produce, but are delicious nonetheless. The wine list, unsurprisingly, is also from farther afield, offering glasses, half and whole bottles at a remarkably restrained mark up.
The Wye Valley and Abergavenny are already top foodie destinations, with a Michelin starred restaurant apiece: it’s surely only a matter of time before The Tudor Farmhouse adds the neighbouring Forest of Dean to the hit-list.