After visiting Oscars of Cardiff in Pontcanna last month (Restaurant review: Oscars of Cardiff), I’ve been looking forward to trying out its sister restaurant in Cowbridge. Situated on the High Street, Oscars of Cowbridge offers just the sort of fancy dining experience you’d expect from a restaurant in this affluent market town.
The main focal point of the restaurant is a trio of elaborate chandeliers looming above the centre of the room, like flying saucers hovering in the sky.
The lime green walls are decorated with contemporary abstract paintings, several of which feature a plump lady with a big bottom. The atmosphere is warm and cosy, the tables lit by candlelight.
Oscars of Cowbridge put their own innovative twist into traditional, well-loved dishes, resulting in a menu that appeals to those who like to try something different when they dine out, as well as those who prefer to play it safe.
The restaurant boasts an extensive wine list featuring no less than 56 different wines and champagnes, with every dish on the menu accompanied by a wine recommendation.
To start I order the green coconut chicken (£5.75), a bowl of crispy, Thai-spiced chicken, garnished with shredded cucumber and coriander and served with fresh mango chutney. The chicken is deliciously tender and the coconut isn’t too overpowering;I can just detect a pleasant hint of it.
My friend Sian orders the shredded duck (£6.95), sea salt chilli duck with BBQ honey glaze and toasted sesame seeds. This looks great and when my friend asks if I’d like to try some, I simply cannot resist. The duck is cooked to perfection, mouth-wateringly crispy with a unique, rich flavour unlike any duck I have tasted before.
When it comes to the main course, it’s an easy choice for me – steak! The Glamorganshire rib eye (£19.95) is dry aged for 28 days and is topped with a juicy Portobello mushroom filled with homemade 6 hour beef bourguignon and thickly cut, twice-fried chips. The steak has a moreish, chargrill flavour and is cooked medium-rare, just as I requested. I can definitely taste the wine in the bourguignon, which is very tasty indeed, but I feel like I’m heading for meat overload and I can’t finish it all off.
After much deliberation, Sian eventually settles upon the lamb (£13.50), a roast T-bone with vine tomato, feta and red onion salad and apple mint jelly. The jelly is clear and you can see pieces of fresh mint in it – just looking at it makes me drool! Sian comments that the lamb is lean and of a high quality, whilst the tomatoes, cheese and red onions serve to inject a range of different flavours into the dish.
To accompany her steak Sian orders the roasted new potatoes (£3.00), served in a bowl and seasoned with rosemary and sea salt.
For dessert, I order the strawberry mess (£6.25). Oscars’ take on the classic Eton mess contains strawberry macaroons and – wait for it – candyfloss (!), folded into strawberry and vanilla cream. The dessert is presented beautifully and I can see the vanilla beans dotted throughout the cream. It has a fresh, fruity taste and it’s not too sugary or sickly, as I worried it may have been.
Sian opts for the Belgian chocolate torte (£6.00), a thick, velvety slab of 70% Belgian chocolate and orange, topped with a scoop of plain organic ice cream. This is a rich dish (and so it should be), but the ice cream really helps to balance it out. The plate is decorated with a swirl of raspberry sauce and a fresh raspberry; a pretty finishing touch.
We leave Oscars of Cowbridge with fat (yet very happy) tummies, feeling a bit like that plump lady we saw in the painting earlier. What I love most about this restaurant is the way that it transforms age-old favourite dishes into modern day culinary creations, so tasty that they too could go on to become just as famous as their ancestors.
The friendly staff are on hand to cater to your every need and really make you feel special, leaving you wanting to return to Oscars again and again. The prices are about on par with most other quality independent restaurants and given the excellent experience that I’ve had, I’d say that’s value for money. I’d definitely visit Oscars of Cowbridge again and I recommend that you give it a go, too!
Oscars of Cowbridge
65 High Street
Vale of Glamorgan
(01446) 771 984
I was invited to Oscars of Cowbridge as a guest and our food and drinks were complimentary.