This is a special evening that is always popular as it introduces us to a celebrity chef based in Wales – this evening we sampled 10 dishes from chef Gareth Ward from Ynyshir, near the magnificent waterfalls at Furnace.
It certainly sounds a lot, but these are tiny taster portions not full courses, as you can see from the photographs. Gareth came out to tell us about his work, and even served us the first course, his Not French Onion Soup – intriguing! It was very tasty, and we were instructed to stir it to bring the flavors together which we dutifully did.
The other feature of this evening is the choice of wine to bring out the best in each course. Unusually, we had 2 glasses at a time so that we could compare them both with the food, so this made it much more of a discussion with friends than just drinking what they gave us. We started with two white wines, a German Riesling and an Austrian Grüner Veltliner, and our group agreed the second one was better, quite perfumed and not as acid as the Riesling. Even better, our preferred choice was topped up if we wanted.
Next was a tiny piece of lamb rib to eat with our fingers, a hint of burnt outside which was interesting. Bread, butter and Wagyu dripping was next, then a really good mackerel sweet & sour that went surprisingly well with the Riesling.
Onto two red wines now, a Pinot Noir and a Grenache which were both a lovely rich colour and flavor – personally I prefer the Grenache as the other was a bit too intense, although clearly that’s a personal choice! Very unusual Welsh Wagu rib and shitake, cooked for 3 days so a deep, velvety flavor perfect with our red wines. A tiny piece of fudge followed – not too sweet – then a white chocolate and black bean dessert, quite salty but two different white wines now, a Muscat and a Semillion, so a great combination.
The final desserts were apple with buttermilk and sorrel and a deconstructed Tiramisu – still tastes good however it is served! So, this was an introduction to the different dishes offered by Gareth, and although it might appear a bit pricey at £75 per person for the amount of food you get (and we are not big eaters), the quality wines are also part of the whole tasting experience, so it is worth it. It is a great atmosphere at the Harbourmaster for these events, staff are always welcoming and overall it is a very enjoyable evening to spend with friends.