The Lodge Brasserie
The Celtic Manor Resort, Coldra Woods, The Usk Valley, Newport, NP18 1HQ
The Celtic Manor's sterling reputation was not earned through complacency, so it's no surprise that The Lodge Brasserie was refurbished and re-launched to splendid effect last year. It now features a menu of some of the finest locally sourced produce, as well as a selection of dishes with a distinctly Welsh flavour. Overlooking both the 18th hole and the main hotel, The Lodge Brasserie offers stunning panoramic views. The dining room is comfortable, relaxed and stylishly decked out, with its own bar, an impressive vaulted ceiling and two open fires, both roaring away to stave off frosty weather. You can enjoy breakfast from 7am until 11.30am, lunch from midday until 6.30pm (including an excellent Sunday menu) and dinner from 7pm - everything is reasonably priced, considering the calibre of the cuisine. Part of me was pining for a 'Welsh Full Monty' breakfast, but as it was a little late in the day for that, I pondered the selection of appetite-stimulating suggestions. To start I devoured the Penclawdd laverbread, bacon and shallot parcels with tomato chutney, while my companion chose melt-in-the-mouth oven-baked Perl Wen wrapped in Carmarthen ham. Both were delicious and as substantial as the chunky wooden table at which we sat. Incidentally, it's well worth sampling the bread, especially the sun-dried tomato and onion varieties - both of which were not long from the oven. Our mains were swiftly delivered by the attentive and efficient waiting staff, and were as delicious as the starters. The assiette of free-range woodland pork, with confit belly, medallions and black pudding, was served with creamy mashed potato, beans delicately wrapped in bacon, apple compote and cider sauce. My dining companion was delighted with her succulent roast rump of Welsh lamb served with roasted root vegetables, cannellini beans and cawl jus. We would also recommend trying the house wine - my pinot grigio was palatable enough to turn the head of a staunch red wine drinker. Deserving of and upholding The Celtic Manor's unrivalled reputation for fabulous dining, The Lodge Brasserie has all the hallmarks of fine dining without the fuss and frills.