Saturday, 14 April 2018

The Fox and Hounds Llancarfan, Vale of Glamorgan pub review 2018

Fox and Hounds Llancarfan

It’s been a couple of years since my last visit to the Fox and Hounds in Llancarfan.

In the interim, this pretty little village pub in the Vale of Glamorgan has been taken over by husband and wife team, Jim Dobson (head chef) and Rhiannon Dobson (front of house) and given a bit of a facelift. Impressively, they also picked up a Cardiff Life Award a couple of weeks ago for best gastropub.

Fox and Hounds Llancarfan
Their menu is a real doozy - packed with the kind of things that I like to eat, including confit rabbit and ham hock terrine and specials like pork, black pudding and sage scotch egg. 

Thankfully, the mother-in-law was dining with us so were able to give more of the menu a run for its money.

Great hunks of soft white bread were served with creamy Netherend Farm butter (£2.50).

Fox and Hounds Llancarfan

A generous pile of sweet white Brixham crab meat (£7) was enrobed in light and creamy herb creme fraiche and heaped on toasted sourdough. A couple of swirls brown crab mayonnaise provided a welcome shellfish whallop. 

Fox and Hounds Llancarfan
A golden crumbed fishcake (£7) wasn’t too dense and its headline ingredients of salt cod and spring onion balanced well. A shaved radish and asparagus salad with a punchy lemon and caper dressing was so much more than the usual half arsed scattering of undressed rocket leaves. 

Fox and Hounds Llancarfan
Finally, a salad of sweet and earthy baked heritage carrots (£6) were joined by creamy homemade ricotta, quinoa and a herby hazelnut pesto. 

Fox and Hounds Llancarfan

For mains, Mrs G and I both went for pub classics that were elevated with aplomb. 

Proper ham (£12) - I do like my slices a bit thicker - was served with a golden oozy fried duck egg and stonkingly good triple cooked chips with oodles of crunch and fluff. A sweet and mustardy pineapple pickle was a clever riff on the much maligned accompaniment to ham #TeamHamAndPineapple. 

Fox and Hounds Llancarfan
Beer battered haddock (£14) was a fine example - the golden battered flaky fish was served with more of those lovely chips. Mrs G and I both thought the pea puree was meaty tasting (a bonus in our books) whilst tartare sauce was packed with herbs and capers. 

Fox and Hounds Llancarfan
The mother-in-law loved her main. Rosy pink rump of lamb (£18) was served with smooth broccoli and potato purees, broccoli pieces and a vivid salsa verde. A finger of crispy shredded lamb breast was packed with flavour but sadly a little on the dry side. 

Fox and Hounds Llancarfan
Desserts were both crackers.

A crisp-crusted slice of tart (£6) was filled with a tangy and aromatic passion fruit custard with a bruleed sugar top. A scoop of chocolate ice cream and caramelised hazelnut crumb completed the plate. 

Fox and Hounds Llancarfan
Warm and moist pistachio sponge (£6) was accompanied by soft and sweet poached rhubarb, fragrant and not too sweet rhubarb sorbet and a pool of super-smooth vanilla-flecked custard. 

Fox and Hounds Llancarfan
We had a delicious meal at The Fox and Hounds in Llancarfan. It’s great to see that this lovely pub with its accomplished cooking is in very safe new hands.

The Details:

Address - The Fox & Hounds, Llancarfan, Vale of Glamorgan CF62 3AD
Web -
Telephone - 01446 781287

Tuesday, 10 April 2018

Pi Shop, Bristol pizza restaurant review

Pi Shop is the sister establishment to the bloody brilliant Michelin-starred restaurants Paco Tapas and Casamia.

Located in Bristol’s General Hospital redevelopment, this wood-fired pizza restaurant has a bright and minimalist interior.

All of the wow-factor comes from a handsome copper pizza oven that dominates the kitchen.

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The menu is brief, including just a handful of starters, 10 pizzas, two sides and one dessert. Whilst most pizzas cost around £14, the margherita (£8.50) and marinara (£6.50) provide cheaper options. 

There’s a good selection of local beers with Lost + Grounded, Arbor and Left Handed Giant all putting in an appearance. I drank a delightfully hoppy and easy drinking Left Handed Giant Pale (£6.50). 

Both the wood-fired pizzas we ate were enjoyably thin-based with a good crunch and chew. The crust was nicely raised but I thought it was a bit dense and doughy compared to the finest I’ve had.

My tuscan sausage pizza (£14) was a belter - it was topped with a luxurious combination of uber-porky fennel-twanged sausage meat, tender potato slices, oozy mozzarella, savoury parmesan shavings, sweet onion pieces and a golden runny egg yolk. 

Mrs G’s ’nduja pizza (£16) was equally lovely. The spreadable spicy sausage and generous dollops of cold and creamy burrata balanced beautifully. The supporting cast comprised of the crunch of pine nuts, peppery rocket, sweet peppers and a light tomato sauce. 

A side salad of fresh local leaves (£3) was coated in a dressing that lacked a bit of oomph. 

If you’ve only got one dessert on your menu then it better be good. Pi Shop’s soft serve sundae (£3.50) is ace. A swirl of light and milky ice cream combined with a berry-packed, slightly tart forest fruit compote and sprinkles of dark chocolate and crisp almonds. 

We really enjoyed Pi Shop. It’s cool, the service is slick and the pizzas are really tasty.

*Update - 10 April 2018* - I've just spotted that my review is already antiquated before I've even posted it. Today, Pi Shop introduced a new cooking style for their pizzas - they now bake their marinara, margherita and white base pizzas before adding the toppings when they come out of the oven. They've also introduced a new pricier menu with the marinara costing £10 and margherita £12.

The Details:

Address - Pi Shop, The General, Lower Guinea Street, Bristol BS1 6FU
Web -
Telephone - 0117 925 6872