It’s been just over twelve months since our last visit to Parva Farmhouse in the Monmouthshire village of Tintern.
It’s a meal which lived long in the memory thanks to the hearty dishes of technically accomplished food we ate and the warm and homely welcome we received.
With husband and wife team Roger and Marta Brook’s years of experience as head chef and restaurant manager at the brilliant Walnut Tree, it’s unsurprising we had such a great experience.
This time around Mrs G and I booked into Parva Farmhouse for the night. Having settled into our swish room (£120 bed & breakfast) with beautiful views over the River Wye, we set to work on a jar of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies and biscotti before heading downstairs for aperitifs.
Whilst I knocked back an Aperol spritz and Mrs G guzzled a glass of fizz we enjoyed uber-cheesy parmesan biscuits topped with the tang of cream cheese.
Parva Farmhouse’s daily changing evening menu (2 courses £36 / 3 courses £45) consists of a reassuringly concise two options per course. Despite the menu’s brevity there wasn’t a single dud sounding dish. Of course, we ordered everything and divided the spoils.
A textbook warm, soft and crusty mini white loaf was delicious slathered with soft golden butter.
A perfectly flaky fillet of John Dory was bathed in a broth of perfect poise, deftly balancing salt, chilli, savoury, sesame and sourness. Added texture and interest was brought to this South East Asian influenced dish in the form of pickled mustard greens, and salted radish.
A pretty terrine of beautifully soft and sweet leeks was daubed with a zingy vinaigrette and elevated by Middle Eastern inspired accompaniments of delicately charred, crisp and soft sesame bread, creamy and tangy labneh and a mix of crunchy hazelnuts and fragrant parsley.
Mains smashed it out of the park and then some.
In fact, the first dish was the best ‘barbecue’ I've had in Wales save for the legendary Hang Fire. Ridiculously tender and flavoursome fillet steak and spoonably soft beef cheek were coated in the stickiest of bbq sauces.
A thumpingly mustardy and parsley-fragranced slaw provided balance whilst uber crisp roasties dialled the filth back up another notch. Finally, a scattering of funky chanterelles reminded us that we were in a fact in a high end restaurant and not eating the ultimate comfort food on our sofa back at home.
Across the table a sweet and crisp skinned fillet of sea trout was joined by a clever velvety chickpea sauce studded with more of the soft beans. Crisp and smooth textured chickpea fritters, baby courgettes and earthy roast beetroots all added extra interest to the delicious proceedings.
Desserts were both lovely but didn't quite hit the same levels as the other two courses.
A black forest ice cream was so much more than its billing. Light chocolate mousse, gooey brownie, juicy tart cherries, smooth vanilla ice cream and intense cherry sorbet were sat on a chocolate brownie base which was just a touch too firm to make easy work with a spoon.
A deceptively light blackberry and nectarine trifle saw fragrant juicy fruit, light vanilla custard and whipped cream sat on soft and sweet soaked sponge which could have taken a slightly larger whallop of sherry.
Breakfast the next day was just as good as the night before.
Plump syrup-bathed Agen prunes and apricots fragrant with honey, cinnamon and vanilla were delicious topped with pecan and fig granola.
A fry up was a cornucopia of delights including soft black pudding, plump sausages and a fried slice. Team #NoBeans would be pleased by the absence of any soggifying bean juice.
Crumpets were soaked in butter and beefy bovril and topped with golden yolked poached eggs. It’s the first time I’ve come across this killer combination but it most certainly won’t be the last.
We had an awesome stay, dinner and breakfast at Parva Farmhouse; hearty and homely but with bags of technique, this my kind of place.
Address - Parva Farmhouse, Tintern, Chepstow, Monmouthshire, Wales NP16 6SQ
Web - http://www.parvafarmhouse.co.uk/
Telephone - 01291 689411