Driving down a pitch black, winding country road on a Tuesday night in mid winter, we’d begun to think that the sat nav was having the last laugh again, when suddenly we saw a light shining beacon-like up ahead.
We slowed to check it out and sure enough, discovered it was The Stonemill @ Rockfield. Hurrah, food at last – we were famished, after a day of hiking in the nearby Forest of Dean.
Being a Tuesday night at this time of year, we weren’t surprised to find the place a bit on the quiet side, but the waiter cum barman soon got into the swing of service and led us to a comfortable sofa in the bar area, so that we could enjoy a drink whilst perusing the menu. The Stonemill restaurant has been created in a beautifully converted 16th Century barn, so it has stunning old oak beams cutting across a cavernous high ceiling and by adding a few farming artefacts and some modern art, the owners have created an ultra stylish and comfortable dining area.
The good news about coming on a mid week night, was that if we wished, we could take advantage of The Stonemill’s great value set menu, which at the time of our visit, was available between Tuesday and Friday from 6.00 – 9.00pm with two courses for £16.95 or three courses for £18.95. This menu offered a choice of four starters, mains and puddings and had me hooked straight away – it’s rare that a set menu has on offer exactly what I would like to eat for each course, but this one fit the bill perfectly for me. The a la carte though, was the one to catch my husband’s attention, so both of us were happy and promptly ordered.
Before ordered food could reach the table, we were offered delightful little canapes, including a dinky shot of soup, courtesy of the chef and this set the standard for the evening. Both starters were superb and we knew we were in for a gourmet treat as the evening progressed. A main course of sea bass was cooked to perfection, whilst the other main course of a trio of calzone with various fillings such as wild mushroom and basil pesto and spinach and nutmeg looked so good on the plate it was a shame to disturb it. Both were delicious though and we polished them off completely. Neither of us had a sweet craving on the night, so we skipped the mainstream puddings and opted for a Welsh cheese board, made up of Perl Wen, Perl Las, Finn and Montgomery. It came with sizable chunks of cheese and an irresistible sweet fruit chutney and oat cakes (which appeared to be home baked). It was a cheese board fit for a prince and it put the sorry offerings of some major restaurants to shame.
Driving limited us to a modest glass of wine and a soft drink each, so the bill for two came to just under £50. Definitely one to try when you’re in and around Monmouth on the Welsh borders.