I have wanted to try the Hare and Hounds in Aberthin, the village just next to Cowbridge, for some time. We’ve had a drink in the cosy pub before when passing through, but somehow we’ve never managed to get there for a meal. So, as we had the luxury of a babysitter one Friday evening, we decided to try it out.
We arrived early for our table, so had a drink in the cosy pub, which was packed with friendly locals. With no tables free we were lucky to grab some bar stools, and perched our selves by the bar. After an aperitif we were told that our table was ready and were shown into the restaurant.
When we first walked in, we were a bit taken aback, it’s nothing like the old fashioned pub area next door, it’s all a lot more like an old farmhouse, with big old rustic oak tables and chairs, and white painted brick walls.
There was a lovely open log fire and open kitchen at the back where you could see the chefs hard at work. The atmosphere was great, it was full of bustle. (As we were one of the last to leave I managed to take the picture above when most diners had left).
We were lucky enough to be sat next to the kitchen, which we thought was a great spot, it was like being at the chefs table. There were as many as five chefs working in the kitchen, and they did not stop. It was a pleasure to watch them, especially when they were plating up as they were meticulous.
When it came to ordering our food, as I was dithering between two starters, I sought the advice of the waitress. She was very thorough in her knowledge of the menu and helped me decide on what to choose.
The wine list was extensive, with a good selection of reasonably priced wines. We opted for the Cote de Rhone, which was medium bodied but bold enough to stand up to the richness of the dishes.
While we waited for our meals, we were served with some home made butter and breads. The caramelised onion bread was absolutely gorgeous, I could have eaten a whole loaf of it!
For starter, I opted for the celeriac soup, with confit egg yolk and chestnuts (£5.50). It came with egg at the bottom of the bowl, with some chopped chestnuts on top, with the soup served in a small jug ready to pour yourself.
I wasn’t really sure of what to expect, but I certainly did not expect it to be as good as it was. The soup itself was smooth, rich and creamy and full of flavour and I would have happily eaten it as it was, but the added crunch and flavour from the chestnuts was inspiring. It completely elevated the dish and it’s something I’m going to try out on guests over the festive season.
My husband chose the crispy pigs cheek, with chicory, mustard and pickled apple (£6.50).
This was also gorgeous. The pigs cheek was really crispy, and the apple and chicory and mustard all went so well together. I’m actually salivating as I write this as I remember the flavour and just how good it was.
For mains I chose the goose, which was served with a confit leg and roasted breast, with goose fat potatoes and braised red cabbage and apple sauce (£25). There was also rich gravy on served on the side.
The breast meat was served pink, and melted in the mouth and the confit had gorgeously crispy skin and tender brown meat. The potatoes were spot on, crispy on the outside and soft in the centre and the rich gravy oozed with flavour. To top it off the red cabbage brought the whole dish together adding a bit of sweetness to balance the dish perfectly.
My husband had chosen the venison (£19). This was served rare, with game faggot, wild mushrooms and confit potatoes.
It was all devoured, with lots of mmm’s, so was clearly very good.
After such a rich two courses, there was no way that I could fit in a desert, which was a shame, as the deserts coming out of the kitchen looked amazing. We watched the chef make the soufflés for another table and they all came out perfectly risen.
Amazingly my husband managed to squeeze in room for the cheese board, which had a selection of welsh cheeses, homemade pickle and homemade bread (£8).
The whole meal at the Hare and Hounds was faultless, it was a culinary feast of flavours in an informal and unpretentious setting. I felt so satisfied after my food I just wanted to roll over at the end of the meal, have my belly rubbed and go to sleep!
The menu at the Hare and Hounds changes daily and offers a seasonal menu, using locally sourced sustainable produce. They have their own kitchen garden and cook everything from scratch on the premises, so every time you go you’ll get to try something different.
Whilst on this occasion we went without the little ones, I am pleased to say that it is a completely family friendly restaurant. Children are welcomed, and can order smaller portions of the main menu.
If you haven’t been to the Hare and Hounds yet, you simply must!
Family Friendly Rating: ****
High Chairs – Yes
Baby Changing –Yes
Childrens Menu – No
Smaller Portions Available – Yes
Other Info: N/A
Address: Hare & Hounds, Aberthin, Cowbridge CF71 7LG
Tel: 01446 774892