I took a visit to sample the new menu at The Verve Grill at The Village Hotel in Coryton this week just off the roundabout and just opposite Asda. Working in Newport, I more or less pass the hotel on a daily basis but never even thought of going for food there as hotel food tends to be overpriced garbage at the best of times. I know a few people who are or who’ve been members at the gym and they all had good things to say but until this week it’s the first time i’ve stepped over the doors to the place so didn’t really know what to expect.
The hotel has a choice of two restaurants with the bar offering your standard pub grub of burgers, wraps and the like and was told it had just had a makeover and have to say I did like the look and feel going on there as it had a much more relaxed feel on first inspection compared to some hotels i’ve stayed at in the past but only poked my head in for a nosey round so didn’t stay to sample what was on the taps.
The 2nd restaurant was the Grill Restaurant serving as the name might suggest more meatier options focussing on your steaks, lamb, chicken and fish and a bit more fancier stuff than in the bar restaurant.
As I was driving I didn’t get to make a dent in the list of beers on tap and in the fridge so I gently sipped my vino tinto as I gazed over the menu.
- Pea and mint soup
- Chicken lollipops
- Hot sticky Bourbon bbq ribs
- Tuna capriccio
- Stuffed Mushrooms
- Prawn Cocktail
- Antipasta platter
- Hummus, red pesto and roasted red pepper dip and grilled flatbread
I do love a good rib, but it’s not often I have fresh tuna and I was a bit confused with the wording of the dish as I thought they had spelt carpaccio wrong although I think it might of been some dish they named themselves but after asking my best mate Googley he told me capriccio is Italian and means
a painting or other work of art representing a fantasy or a mixture of real and imaginary features.
The actual dish claimed to include herb and citrus marinated sliced tuna with avocado, mango and a chilli salsa. Seeing as though the accompanyments ticked all the right boxes I bit the bullet not knowing what the tuna would end up turning up like whether it was cooked or ceviche esque and slowly cured and cooked gently with the citrus juices. I had happy memories of sampling my first prawn ceviche for my first bit of nurishment after 3 days stomping in a field in Miama at Ultra music festival a few years back so thought what the heck.
The dish came and was nothing like I imagined, well sort of what I was hoping for but presentation wise I was quite impressed as it was like no tuna dish i’d ever seen with the large round disks of soft, raw tuna as if the fish had been put into a mandalin and sliced into tracing paper like sheets of ruby red flesh.
Without any hesitation I dug in tearing gently at the disks of fresh tuna sheets, topped with a bit of the salsa and let it melt in my mouth and analysing the outcome before a gently nod of agreement to myself. The tuna was good and I liked the refreshing touch of salsa to go with it but if I were to offer any feedback I couldn’t quite get the citrus flavour coming through so a fresh wedge of lime on the side to juice to your required depth of limyness would of been a good addition and a generous scattering of fresh corriander because…well corriander just takes freshness in salsa or any citrus dish to the next lever instantly with no fuss.
First course out of the way and onto the mains on the board.
There seemed to be two options for mains and as this was a hotel with quite a large leisure facilities they would be silly not to tap into the healthy options for those looking not to over induldge in terms of calories and had a 500 club offering main courses with a good chunk of protein bit a bit more forgiving in terms of carbs and fats and all coming in at less than 500 calories.
Well there would be none of that nonsense for me (tonight anyway) and had a quick glance over but wasn’t even kidding myself because if I’m out for food and going the full hog i’m not leaving until my buttons on my shirt feel like their about to pop off, which they pretty much were by the end of the evening.
But if you have overindulged this week already or picking up something after a tough workout downstairs and don’t feel like cooking options the 500 club options are below
500 club mains
- Tiger prawns in wholemeal pasta, spinach in lemon and dill cream
- Black pepper crusted fillet steak in asian broth and green veg
- Teriyaki salmon and black rice salad
- Herb marinated chicken breast in warm salad and salsa
- Chicken, avo and feta salad
- Seasonal salad with asparagus, ricotta cheese, nuts and ranch dressing
- Seared tuna steak
- Beef fillet stroganoff
- Minute or sirloin steak and chips
- Lamb rump and all the trimmings
- Rack of Bourbon ribs
- Mussels and fries
- Mushroom Risotto
- Pan Seared Cod
- Chicken Kiev
- House Burger
- Chickpea, spinach and sweet potato curry
- Grilled thyme chicken breast
To my dissapointment there wasn’t any game on the menu as that’s usually my go to option as I don’t tend to cook it much at home but went for my next fav lamb and this one came with with garlic and rosemary roast rump of lamb, mented pea puree, baby veg and port jus.
I was tempted to have the mussels as I love drowning half a loaf of bread in the broth at the bottom of my seafood couldrom but not sure that would of filled me as I usually have them as a starter and my fellow dinners including myself would of died of boredom waiting for me to salvage every last morsel of muscle meat from their shells.
For an added bit of stodge and because I’m a greedy mofo I kindly agreed to do halfies on two sides of jalapeno mac n cheese and chilli mushrooms. After my recent purchase of mac n cheese on the food market on the hayes in cardiff a few weeks back I’ve been having dreams about it since!
The lamb appeared along with the rest of the mains not long after starters and I was battle ready, knife in hand. Mwsh opted for the same main as me but being a farmers daughter I think she’s got lamb’s bloody running through her veins as she’d have lamb as part of every meal if she could. I was slightly jealous at her opting for hers medium rare as I’d only ever dared go medium on lamb in the past and hers was a develishly red in the middle compared to mine only slight pink but she admitted hers wasn’t very crispy on the fat and mine was just perfectly crisp and caramelised.
The veg wasn’t overly mounted on the plate underneath but it was ample with the addition of the sides of creamy, blistered and cheesy mac n cheese along with the nicely spiced mushrooms which I was pleasantly suprised with the nice kick of chilli.
There’s nothing worse than ordering something with chilli or thinking it’s going to be spicy like most indian’s I’ve ordered lately and you wouldn’t have trouble feeding it to an infant as there hasn’t been a single bead of scovile induced sweat to grace my forehead. This wasn’t overly hot and wasn’t expecting it to be but there heat was just about right that it didn’t overpower the flavour of the rest of my plate.
I promised myself i’d take it easy tonight as I’d missed crossfit for the past week because of the bloody traffic and being too retarded to read my rota and turned up on the wrong late shift but that lasted about 23 seconds and jabbed at the sticky toffee pudding on the menu to the waiter with eagerness in my eye as I was needed a sugar fix to get me out of this sleep deprived half conciousness I’d been in all day.
- Ice Cream & Sorbet Selection
- Chocolate Mousse
- Baked Vanilla Cheesecake
- Creme Brulee
- Sticky Toffee Pudding
- Chocolate Brownie
- Apple & Strawberry Crumble
- Verve Hot Chocolate Sundae
- Ice Cream & Sorbet Selection
The dessert arrived in a huge delicious pool of golden toffee sauce just waiting to be lapped up in comparrison to the shot glass sized bowl of ice cream to accompany it although that was probably to stop it melting from the sugar magma covering the pudding but could of been a bit bigger. You can’t really go wrong with sugar laden stoge covered in yet more molten sugar and didn’t last long after it arrived although I did politely offer a taste to my fellow dinners with a look of dream in my eyes.
I was pleasantly suprised by the menu as it’s probably the first time i’ve dined at a hotel without staying there as it’s usually out of necessity when i’ve traveled with business and too late to venture out into the locality to find something to curb my hunger pans.
I usually tend to find hotel restaurants to be overly expensive for what they are but on reflection they have a lot more overheads compared to a street food stall at a food festival considering the amount of staff they need to keep the complex ticking over but the prices here weren’t as bad as I was expecting.
Starters around the £7 mark, mains £17 and desserts £6 but after a summer of hitting the street food scene hard I’ve found the prices have risen and portions shrinking and based on that the prices were a good reflection with me needing about 3 dishes to fill me up priced around £7 each and desserts around the £5 mark.
As I’d never stayed at a village hotel previously I wasnt’ sure what to expect and was half expecting the plastic meat from the likes of TGI’s but it was good quality and a nice change of the tuna for my main. Everyone on the table seemed to be in good spirits after the meals and didn’t hear any negative feedback on the mountain we had consumed between us.
Location wise it wouldn’t be somewhere I would probably end up going regularly as it’s in between home and my more local eateries and a bit further out of town from Cardiff if I caught a train down to the city centre for food and a bit added expense catching a taxi there and back. I would recommend the place though saying that and would have no qualms in going back and ticking off a few of the likely suspects on the menu I was torn between this time. Hopefully next time I won’t be driving and can get to see what hopped based beverages they’ve got behind the bar too.