Tucked away in the heart of the Brecon Beacons National Park, near Crickhowell, Gliffaes Country House Hotel is widely regarded as one of the finest luxury hotels in Wales. It gains its name from its setting between the River Usk and the Myarth Hill, known as Gwlydd Faes or ‘the dewy field’, and when you gaze upon this grand Victorian country house hotel, surrounded by breath-taking gardens and overlooking the River Usk, you can see why.
Run by the same family for over 60 years, the hotel has a warm, country house feel, from the stag’s head hanging above the door and the diagrams of fish adorning the walls, to the old fireplace in the lounge and the framed painting of a bison above the bar.
Earlier this year, The Times picked 50 hotels from across the United Kingdom to book for the summer holidays and Gliffaes Country House Hotel was one of only two hotels in Wales chosen.
The à la carte dinner menu focuses on local, seasonal produce, with starters priced from £7.50 to £11 and mains ranging from £17-22. With seven options per course, there are a good variety of dishes available, including a couple of vegetarian dishes (food allergies and intolerances can also be catered for).
Visiting the hotel restaurant on a Sunday evening a few weeks back, we perused the menu while nibbling on pillow-soft garlic and rosemary focaccia, dunked in extra virgin olive oil and tangy balsamic.
My starter of smoked pork rillette (£9.50) consisted of rhubarb and sage-stuffed handmade ravioli on a bed of smoky, fall-apart pork, topped with a bay leaf.
Meanwhile, my partner ventured out of his comfort zone slightly with the lobster and trotter (£11.50); succulent lobster paired with a crispy pig’s trotter, accompanied by water cress, cauliflower and velvety bisque, and finished with fresh caviar. He let me try a morsel of trotter and I was surprised at how tasty it was; with a crunchy coating and slightly chewy centre, it was similar to a pork scratching. I didn’t get to try the lobster, so it must’ve been delicious!
My main course made my mouth water just to look at. A luscious pink medium-rare rump of local beef (£21) served with gnocchi in an onion, mushroom and thyme sauce with fresh greens, carrots and potato. A hearty, comforting dish, this was a classy take on a roast dinner and the beef was cooked to perfection.
When my guest saw the size of his main in comparison to mine, he thought he’d pulled the short straw – until he took a mouthful of the beautifully tender lamb, that was! Best end of new season lamb cutlets (£22) were teamed with a rectangular wedge of rosemary and lemon polenta, pickled mushrooms, chiogga (candy cane beetroot) and fresh veg. The fat on the lamb was golden brown and crispy, and as we bit into it (I actually got to taste some!) we could taste the rich, silky juices ooze out.
With just enough room left for dessert, I indulged in the Welsh cheese board (£9); a tantalising trio of soft, blue Perl Las, brie-like Perl Wen and strong yet creamy Snowdonia Black Bomber paired with homemade chutney, bread and crackers; I especially liked the pink ones, which tasted like prawns.
My guest opted for the more decadent choice of the chocolate and Baileys tart (£7.25), served with slightly sweet vanilla ice cram and juicy sliced strawberries. This had a rich, thick texture and a pleasant hint of Baileys, although it would’ve been too sickly for me to polish off by myself.
We drew our meal to a close with a cappuccino made with Reads Freshly Ground Single Estate and a petit fours selection consisting of two handmade gourmet chocolates each (£3 per person). We loved the vintage country house-style crockery!
Gliffaes Country House Hotel is a magnificent place to visit, whether you’re stopping for dinner or a longer stay. Admire the idyllic gardens, soak up the cosy, homely vibes and treat yourself to a bit of luxury!
Gliffaes Country House Hotel
01874 730 463
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