After a cold early morning start, we are excited after successfully finding some elusive Hawfinches, and now we are in need of Sunday lunch comfort food. We have crossed the border into Wales to arrive at the Inn at Penallt. This is a 17th century country inn in the Wye Valley with great views over the Forest of Dean.
I am delighted to find local ales on tap and start with a pint of HPA from the Wye Valley Brewery. This is a very pale, pale ale with vibrant citrus notes – refreshing and smooth. We decide to share the Italian ham, pea & basil arancini served with a spiced tomato sauce. The arancini is crisp, full of flavour and works beautifully with the home-made tomato relish.
We are not huge fans of a traditional Sunday roast unless we are at home or at a place where the chef can match or surpass the quality that Rock produces in our own kitchen. Is the Inn at Penallt up to the challenge? I choose the roast rib of rare breed Gloucester beef, served pink with Yorkshire pudding & roast potatoes. Rock goes for the slow roast version of the same dish but her cut is a top rib slow roasted for 8 hours. I move on to a pint of Wye Valley Bitter – a darker ale with more malt than the HPA.
Overall, the Inn meets the challenge – good selection of vegetables and Yorkshire pudding – though maybe not quite as good as at home. My beef is very good but Rock’s slow roasted top rib is fantastic – absolutely packed with flavour. Plus, great gravy, and plenty of it.
After that, for dessert, I want more hot comfort food but there are no hot puddings on the menu! Instead, I pick the lime & ginger panna cotta with a lemon tuile. The panna cotta is beautiful, the lemon tuile is fascinating – a crisp, sharp slice of lemon and there is a smear of berry compote with tiny chunks of fresh lemon and a trail of crumb to decorate the plate. Not hot but delightful.
Plus we have had great, friendly service from Wendy, Becky and others. It has been a good day – we found the elusive Hawfinch and we found another elusive creature – a decent place for Sunday lunch!