As you can imagine, it’s been a while since we visited Hilary & Iain’s Kitchen By The Sea in Ogmore. The lockdown has affected many restaurants, cafes, pubs and bistros across the Vale. In fact, I think the last Sunday lunch we enjoyed there was back in early March so we were champing at the bit to get back and today was the much anticipated day after booking ahead on Friday.
Booking is important here because, due to government rules, Hilary & Iain’s covers have more than than halved so space inside is limited. If it was quirky, compact and bijou before, it’s even more so now. One caveat, if you’re looking for a slick, cad-designed bistro, this isn’t it. My way of summing it up for friends is ‘imagine you’re abroad and you want to know the good places – where the locals eat, this would be one of them’. It’s quirky, and with the new screens in place (2m rule) has more of a DIY look about it with wood frames and curtains. We still love it. It’s always been one of our favourite places to eat in the Vale but, after five months away, is the food still as good?
The answer is a resounding yes. Nothing has changed. In fact, it was all the better for the enforced abstinence. Iain and Hilary were their usual cheery selves but, you could tell, the pressure of conforming to so many rules and regulations was weighing heavily. Nevertheless, they delivered a faultless Sunday lunch. Lamb, unbelievably good. Vegetables, perfect. Roasties, superb. Gravy… oh my God- the gravy is off the chart. I have to add at this point that portion size is excellent. Even the biggest rugby player’s appetite would be satiated. We rarely rate anyone’s food 10/10 but today, Hilary & Iain’s definitely hit the mark.
This cool little bistro is, refreshingly, substance over style. Their cooking is like the best home-cooked meal you’ve ever had and, more importantly, it’s consistent. Something that many restaurants across Cardiff and the Vale simply cannot deliver. We must have eaten here over a dozen times in a year and every time we leave saying the same thing: “That was amazing!”
A few words to close…
The hospitality and food industry has been hit incredibly hard by Covid. Small business owners like Hilary and Iain are under tremendous pressure so cut them some slack. They’re all doing their best and, if today’s experience is anything to go by, their best is pretty good indeed. We’ve all clapped for the NHS over the last several months – we’d argue the hospitality industry needs a round of applause too. Clap away… we are.
Hilary and Iain’s Kitchen by the Sea
87 Main Road, Ogmore-by-Sea CF32 0PW
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