Well not a lot really. You can get a vague impression of a restaurant from its name, from the insufferable Scoff and Banter to the classy Noble Rot. But places with shocking names can be brilliant and those that sound great can be a crushing disappointment.
The Humble Onion in Dinas Powys has a great name. It’s understated and gives the impression that its owners appreciate the most basic ingredients can be the most flavoursome. But, does the restaurant live up to its billing?
Run by a former chef from Pontcanna’s acclaimed Bully’s, the restaurant is hidden away behind The Star pub. If we didn’t know where we were going in advance then we’d have been looking for it for ages.
The Humble Onion’s concise menu reads well with its classic bistro dishes, some using understated ingredients like smoked mackerel and pig’s cheek.
Soft sourdough with treacly balsamic reduction and rapeseed oil (£4) was good but looked a bit ridiculous with its giant bowl for the oil and vinegar.
The humble soup (£6.50) was a must order as the restaurant’s namesake dish. A stonkingly good onion soup was thick, meaty, sweet, savoury and packed with tender onion. A slice of melted comte was delicious but a bit awkward to eat as it slipped off in one go.
Goat curd salad (£7.50) was a simple but tasty plate combining tangy and creamy curd, dressed leaves, crunchy walnuts, sweet sunblushed tomatoes and a runny boiled egg.
A fillet steak (£27) was an absolute belter of a dish. The super tender, well-flavoured piece of beef was joined by an addictive Gentleman’s relish (i.e. a turbo-charged spiced anchovy butter), soft carrots and spinach, carrot puree and caramelised onions.
Accompanying chips were as good as I’ve had in a very long time. Hyper crisp and fluffy there must have been some triple cooking involved.
My main was very good too. A burnished pork chop (£17.50) sat atop buttery potato puree was accompanied by sweet and delicately sour pickled red cabbage, a punchy green herb sauce and spring onions.
For dessert, a passion fruit coulis elevated a lovely Eton mess (£6.50) made with crisp meringue and fluffy cream.
A beautifully wobbly panna cotta (£7) was indulgently creamy and delicately fragranced with lemon. Accompanying lemon curd, raspberries and blackberry puree were bang on but a scattering of granola could have been a touch crisper.
I really like the Humble Onion. The hearty food cooked with skill and the friendly service were both lovely. This is another good addition to the Vale’s dining scene.
Address - The Humble Onion, Station Rd, Dinas Powys CF64 4DE
Telephone - 02920 514 900