Where do you go on a Friday night for a reasonable meal if you don't want to spend a fortune and your dining companion has a list of don't eat ingredients longer than a decent food encyclopedia? Well you could certainly do worse than pay a visit to The Village Kitchen and Bar in Whitchurch.
This wasn't the first time I've visited VKB, as it likes to style itself, and I thought a quick review was overdue. We are a bit short of photos I'm afraid as MrsA had gone of with my camera and the phone wasn't really up to the job. No matter just consider this short review an aperitif as opposed to the main meal.
Entering VKB from Merthyr Road brings you into a small but welcoming bar area with views of the open kitchen. Having booked I gave my name and we were shown to our table at the rear. If you do find your self seated at the rear I should warn you that there is also an entrance here from the car park and despite the heavy curtain cordoning off the toilets and this entrance, there is a very cold draught every time someone opens the door and comes in this way.
We were given the A La Carte menu together with a smaller list of specials. The menu breaks down into starters, meats, grills, fish, vegetarian, pasta and a children's section.
I ordered the "Warm Peppered Goats Cheese Salad With a refreshing mango salsa". The Goats Cheese had a nice bite, but wasn't very 'Peppered', and the mango salsa was quite sweet and offset the goats cheese nicely. All in all a very pleasant dish. My dining companion, Tim, had the "Blue Cheese Mousse" from the specials menu. This dish didn't really deliver. I don't know what cheese had been used but it was the mildest blue I have ever encountered. The dish was served with a minted sauce that completely overpowered the cheese. For the dish to have worked it needed to have a been made with a much stronger blue.
For mains we both opted for the "Homemade 100% Sirloin Beef Burger. In ciabatta with bacon, lettuce, melted mature Cheddar, red onion marmalade and seasoned crispy chips". Despite the fact I couldn't convince them to cook the burger medium rare, this was a really good example of a patty. It was juicy and succulent with a really nice flavour and served in a decent bun. Both Tim and I were impressed. We also quite liked the seasoned crispy chips, Tim likening them to a poor man's version of Heston's famous Tripled Cooked Chips.
Instead of a dessert menu the waitress brought a dessert plate with a slice of everything for us to check out. I didn't get the impression that the desserts were made in house, but I didn't ask so they might be. I plumped for a slice of apricot tart with some pouring cream, whilst Tim chose an individual strawberry cheesecake. No matter where they came from they were both good examples of type. We finished off with a cappuccino and an espresso.
The bill for three courses, 2 soft drinks, the coffees and a bottle of Malbec was a little over £63 for the two of us, which we both felt was excellent value for money. I have no hesitation in recommending VKB to anyone and will certainly be visiting again. If you're looking for a relaxed atmosphere where you'll find fresh ingredients simply but carefully cooked then you should pay a visit too.
The Village Kitchen & Bar
25 Merthyr Road
t. (029) 2062 4000
Mon – Sat 9am – 11.30pm
Sun 9am – 4pm