Situated on the far south west coast of Wales, the spectacular, and rather quaint city of St. David’s hosts an impressive number of family run coffee shops and art galleries. It is in essence a seaside bohemia with hairy Harley Davidson men and flat cap wearing fisherman, their wives are school teachers or successful local artists, sculpting at the weekend from rock or washed up pieces of wreckage.
The dominant presence is the cathedral, set in a plush green valley, a destination for pilgrimage since the early 12th century. Pilgrimages to this little hideaway over the years have thrown up tourist supply-and-demand places of deplorable quality in the B&Bs, gastropubs and those guided heritage nature walks along crumbling cliff tops.
A gratifying find and pleasurable visit is that of Cwtch. Rachael Knott and Head Chef, Matt Cox’s, restaurant, founded in 2005, earnt them a place in the 2009 Michelin Red Guide. A high honour for the small city entry, being recognized and famed in the region and beyond.
Holidays with my father typically involve the American ‘Great Outdoor’ activities. Not deer hunting or squirrel catching, navigating my way through a rough-riding rapid, but hill-side walks and Withnail & I style wine binges (often dining out) in a truly English father/son bonding fashion. So on a cold, windy, and rather troublous winter’s evening it was a godsend to find Cwtch, promoting and selling local ingredients in an adorable setting within the St. David’s square.
Cox really praises the seasons and changes the menu quarterly, expressing the most out of local produce and his talent as a chef.
Cwtch salad with caramelized walnuts and pantsgawn goats cheese was surprisingly light, and although the taste of walnuts still has that hint of battery acid sharpness, something that is difficult to escape from such a nut, the caramilization warmed the taste buds, and the creamy goats cheese leveled the playing field.
My main of confit duck leg with smoked bacon puy lentils and spiced plum sauce was lovely. I’m a sucker for duck. Not for lentils. The relationship between the two and the plum sauce was delightful, with the duck soft and perfectly cooked.
Chianti Leonardo 2006, fine (Tuscany -£19.00)). A rich bodied red is good with me. Some people’s nightmares are the educated ramblings of Sir Anthony Hopkins describing human liver with fava beans and a nice glass of Chianti. I have always found it a powerful substance of dark-tongue-tingled wonder.
Chocolate and orange torte with vanilla ice cream followed, out of greed, and was sweet and tasty.
There’s not really much to complain about here, and three courses for £28, in times such as these when purse strings are being pulled tighter and tighter, is exemplary.