Sunday, 10 February 2013

Terry M, Celtic Manor, Newport, Fine dining restaurant review

The last time Mrs G and I visited the fine dining restaurant at the Celtic Manor, just over a year ago, it was named Crown at the Celtic Manor. In the interim period, the end of a tie-up between Celtic Manor and Crown at Whitebrook has resulted in a name change to Terry M (after the hotel’s billionaire owner).

Still in place since our previous visit are head chef Tim McDougall and a familiar front of house team. As such, little has changed; service was warm yet not overbearing and the classically prepared food was mostly very good.

Mrs G and I ordered from the tasting menu (6 courses for £70). Also available was the a la carte (3 courses for £49.50).

Whilst Mrs G savoured a pre-dinner champagne cocktail and I begrudgingly sipped on a designated driver’s ginger ale, we were brought a selection of canapés. Mushroom en croute, confit salmon with beetroot, ham hock terrine and a chicken consommé were all tasty but none delivered bags of flavour.

Having migrated to the dining room, I devoured a handful of textbook white and walnut & date rolls served with salted butter.

A good amuse bouche combined airy lentil espuma with sweetly spiced curry oil.

A kaleidoscopic salad of warm earthy beetroot, creamy Ewe’s milk curd and refreshing apple was a light start to the meal. I think, however, it could have done with a bigger kick of the advertised horseradish.

Next up was an excellent double-decker pate served with toasted brioche. Smooth, rich duck liver pate surrounded coarse, meaty ham hock. A smear of zingy parsley puree sliced through the richness of the dish.

The top-notch fish course delivered an absolute gem of a scallop served with 50 shades of cauliflower – puree, pieces of romesco and a moreish deep fried cauliflower filled beignet. A subtle hint of truffle added extra opulence to the plate.

What should have been a superb main was simply good due to a couple of elements. Whilst all the flavours were precisely balanced – sirloin of beef, velvety truffled mash, fennel compote, burly bone marrow jus and earthy wild mushrooms, the meat’s lack of tenderness and the thinness of the sauce let the side down.

First up on the dessert front was chocolate bavarois. A refreshing blood orange salad and sharp grapefruit mousse complemented the richness of the chocolate well.

A proud plum soufflé was one of the stand-out moments of the night. The fluffy soufflé, Winter-spiced pain d’epices ice cream and palette warming crystallised ginger were all superb.

Lastly, a belt-loosening proportioned selection of petit-fours rounded off the meal. Highlights included a wafer-thin cinnamon biscuit, a wobbly strawberry jelly and a rhubarb macaron.

Like my previous 2 visits, we had a cracking meal at Terry M. It is a little pricey but the express lunch menu, which offers 3 courses for £31.95 including half a bottle of wine, looks like a bit of a bargain. 

I was invited to Terry M as a guest of Celtic Manor. All food and drink was complimentary. 

The details:
Address - The Celtic Manor Resort, Coldra Woods, The Usk Valley, Newport, NP18 1HQ
Telephone - 01633 413 000

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