After paying my first visit to Chapel 1877, Cardiff just a couple of months ago, I jumped at the opportunity to return to sample the seven-course tasting menu along with fellow food blogger, The Plate Licked Clean last week.
Set in a 19th century Gothic chapel complete with colossal chandeliers, intricate brickwork and stunning stained glass windows, Chapel 1877 is, without doubt, one of Cardiff’s classiest restaurants.
In line with the elegant decor, the fine dining menu places an emphasis on locally sourced food, done well and elegantly presented.
Served from 5.30-8pm from Monday to Thursday, Chapel 1877’s seven-course taster menu ( £59 per head, +£19 for wine pairing) is a sophisticated affair with amuse bouche to start, followed by three small plates, a main course, a palate cleanser and a dessert.
To start (for our amuse bouche) we tucked into a smooth tomato and basil soup, finished with a swirl of crème fraîche. This was made using fresh tomatoes from the Wye Valley and the taste was perfectly balanced; only too often tomato soup can be tangy and over-powering, but this was just right.
After finishing our soup, we got stuck into the Black Dragon cider braised pig’s cheek with celeriac, apple and wholegrain mustard slaw. The pork, sourced from Monmouthshire, was coated in a rich, well-seasoned jus and was so tender, my knife simply slid through it. The creamy, mildly spiced slaw was the perfect match.
Our next course consisted of roasted butternut squash risotto, finished with crispy sage and amaretto crumbs. Although it wasn’t the most appealing of dishes to look at, this risotto was full of depth and flavour, and the crunchy amaretto crumb gave the dish a unique texture and after-taste.
Our fourth course was a seared loin of tuna on a heap of vegetable noodles in a soy and sesame dressing. I’m ashamed to say I rarely ever eat tuna unless it comes out of a tin, and I’ve only ever eaten seared tuna a couple of times before. Having the privilege to indulge in this succulent cut of just-cooked, pink tuna at Chapel 1877 reminded me of exactly why I need to change this habit.
Five courses in, it was time for the main attraction. Tender, pink roast loin of venison (sourced from Andrew Morgan’s Welsh Venison Centre in the Brecon Beacons) wrapped in crispy, slightly salty Parma ham, served atop pearl barley, Jerusalem artichokes and wild mushrooms, finished with a moreish meaty sauce. The ingredients and flavours of this dish make it ideal for Autumn dining, and it was definitely one of the highlights of the tasting menu for me.
After devouring our mains, we enjoyed a refreshing champagne sorbet palate cleanser, topped with a raspberry so fresh and ripe, you’d swear it’d only just been picked from the plant.
The palate cleanser paved the way for our last course; dark chocolate and girotine torte, served with cherry and yoghurt ice cream. This was, by far, the best dessert I’ve had the pleasure of consuming at any restaurant in the past few months. The chocolate torte was dense and moist, interspersed with cherries and smothered in a thick layer of chocolate ganache, while the cherry and yoghurt ice cream had a bittersweet taste that offset the sweetness of the torte.
I was a fan of Chapel 1877 after my first visit, but after sampling the 7-course tasting menu, I have pretty much fallen in love with the restaurant. Taster menus rarely ever come cheap, but this one is worth every penny. I genuinely enjoyed every single course and it was pleasantly inspiring to discover that the dessert was just as impressive, as a half-hearted dessert can let down even the most accomplished of tasting menus. Thankfully, Chapel 1877’s tasting menu was excellent from start to finish.
Chapel 1877 Bar & Restaurant
(029) 2022 2020
I was invited to Chapel 1877 as a guest and our food and drink was provided complimentary; however, I was not obliged to write a positive review.
Do you like fine dining? Where is the classiest restaurant you’ve ever dined at?