The Gower Hotel - We tried it for you.

The Gower hotel is a hidden gem, you'll find it tucked away on Church lane in Bishopston. It's a boutique hotel with an exceptional menu and was recently taken over by a charming couple who'd been running a restaurant in Crickhowell, the Usk Valley's loss is now Bishopston Valley's gain, the standard of food on offer is truly excellent.

After enjoying a drink in the bar and selecting a Malbec from their extensive wine menu, I decided to try the natural smoked haddock on a curry risotto with a poached hen's egg as my starter.

It was really delicious, I've poached many an egg in my time but it wasn't until I tried this little beauty that I realised that my poaching abilities were sadly lacking, the haddock was divine and the risotto extremely tasty. Matt went for the Cornish crab on toast with fresh white crab meat and a brown meat mayo, I admit to swiping a bit when he was chatting to a friend, it was lovely, very fresh tasting with a hint of chilli and cucumber. For main I had pan fried gurnard with crushed Jerusalem artichoke, mussels and a white wine sauce. I'd never tried gurnard before, but the very polite waitress told me that the fillet would be similar in thickness to cod and that it was an extremely tasty fish, she was right, it was lush, the sauce was also perfect. Matt had the Sirloin of beef with a glazed Ox cheek, mashed potato, curly Kale with a confit of shallot and red wine sauce. It looked super impressive and given that he made a whole lot of noises much like Meg Ryan in When Harry Met Sally, I'm guessing that it was pretty damned good.  

There was no room left for pudding, if I could have losened my skirt any more, I would have gone for the chocolate cheesecake with a blood orange sorbet, it looked amazing, I consoled myself by admiring the one on a fellow diner's plate, we had a chat, she told me that her and her husband were there for a romantic getaway and had travelled from England, they were blown away by how lovely the food was, she was also very complimentary about her room overlooking the pretty churchyard and the excellent service that they'd experienced throughout the duration of their weekend stay, she then asked me to recite some Dylan Thomas, thankfully her cheesecake arrived at that precise moment to save the day! There was a lovely looking coconut and pineapple rice pudding on offer too on the dessert menu which caught my eye, and if you're a cheese fiend, they had a vast selection on offer with quince jam.

Here's the lady who asked me to recite some Dylan Thomas, I told her that her husband looked like Eric Clapton, he said he was better on a guitar, I couldn't see one to hand to disprove that theory, that said there's plenty of interesting things to catch your eye, the walls of the restaurant are dotted with vintage mirrors, there's an impressive desk on reception which is crafted from the wing of an airliner, Theo Paphitis from Dragon's Den also has one, but the real surprise is the artwork on the wall in the gent's cloakroom, very cheeky and I don't want to spoil the surprise so get your man to take his camera phone in so that he can share it with you, it's a bit of a talking point and has everyone chuckling. A fab venue and a super impressive menu. Excellent service, Jan was manning the fort on the night in question and was super friendly, ask her about her time working in St.Kitts, she's many a story to tell. I visited over Christmas for a family Sunday lunch, it was also excellent with a reduced price child's menu, we'll be back again soon, can't praise it enough, next time I will find room for that chocolate cheesecake!