A new restaurant’s just opened in Abergavenny and it’s an absolute cracker! Housed in a newly refurbished space that’s light, bright and modern, The Gaff offers a sensational à la carte menu, set menu and Sunday lunch five days a week.
No surprise that it’s winning oohs and aahs from customers straight off; The Gaff is run by owners Dan Saunders and Danielle Phillips, formerly head chef and front of house manager at the much-lauded and michelin-starred Walnut Tree Inn. They definitely know what they’re doing and it shows.
After finding three derelict sheds in the heart of Abergavenny, the pair negotiated and agreed an architectural refurbishment with the landlord and were ready to welcome guests just a few months later. As for the name, it’s based on the Irish slang term for home and reflects the couple’s desire to make people feel at home during their visits.
Evening visitors can order the set menu (a tasting menu offering two snacks, a vegetable dish, a fish dish and a meat dish, a cheese course and a dessert for £50 per person) or à la carte. We decide to order à la carte, to try a greater variety of The Gaff’s offering.
We start with three choices from the Snacks section. If you think you might spend as long dithering over the menu as we did, order Toasted focaccia, roast tomato jam (£2.50) with your drinks. This is simple but good – fresh bread lightly toasted with a rich jammy tomato spread.
The intensity of mushroom flavour in the Mushroom arancini, parmesan, garlic mayonnaise (£3) stays the course against the punchy aioli; these three morcels disappear in very quick order.
There’s always a moment of tension as you cut into a freshly fried scotch egg, but we needn’t have worried – the yolk inside the Sage and onion scotch egg (£4) is beautifully soft; sousvide I’d guess, though I’m too engrossed in eating to care very much. The meat is beautifully seasoned too.
After this, we select from the small plates menu, which is presented in fish, meat and vegetable sections. First, Cod, romesco, braised onion (£10), another simple dish in which each element is perfectly cooked. The fish flakes seperate at the merest touch of the fork, soft and tender but still with the firmness of deftly cooked cod. The braised onion has the wondrous flavour of bitter char against sweet onion, and is as soft and succulent as you could wish for. A hearty romesco and crispy fried parsley leaves bring the dish together.
It’s rare I can look past duck when I see it on the menu, so no surprise that we order the Duck breast, sticky leg, smoked sausage, spring onion (£10). It’s another excellent dish, the duck full of flavour, beautifully tender and complimented so well by the soft and charred spring onions, sticky bits of leg meat and smoked sausage, and that thick, glossy sauce.
This one is Pete’s pick; the simple menu listing of Spiced lamb flatbread (£12) not really drawing my eye. But it’s one of the best dishes of the meal, even though it doesn’t appear to fit the fine dining presentation of the rest of the menu. The flatbread is pillowy soft, and generously filled with plenty of lamb (braised lamb shoulder and roasted barbeque rump, both cuts marinated and cooked in Middle Eastern spices) plus lots of crispy onions, roasted red peppers, rocket leaves and a wonderful mint and tahini dressing.
It’s so hard to narrow down the choice of vegetable dishes to just two, I want nearly all of them. We choose BBQ Hispi cabbage, roast cashew butter (£5) and Clotted cream and bacon mash potato (£5), both of which are excellent. The cabbage in particular is amazing, something I want to try and emulate at home on the barbeque, if it ever stops raining for long enough!
Already planning future visits after everything we’ve eaten so far, as soon as we taste dessert we know we’re done for – utterly helpless to resist the lure of coming back to eat it again and again. We order the Sticky banana pudding, banana and honeycomb chantilly, custard, toffee sauce (for 2 to share, £15) and it’s truly phenomenal.
The banana variation of sticky toffee pudding is rich, soft, indulgent and very grown up with a dark toffee sauce that perfectly balances super sweet with the bitterness of caramel, and there’s hot, silky custard too! The banana and honeycomb chantilly would satisfy me on its own, like a dream fantasy version of school dinner afters. It pairs amazingly well with the pudding.
Service is both friendly and professional – it stands to reason that front of house under Danielle’s care is as meticulous as the kitchen’s output under Dan’s charge. Staff are enthusiastic and knowledgeable about the food and drinks menu, and happy to check if there’s a question they don’t know.
Ordering à la carte is great value – our feast came to £65.50 for food (with drinks and service on top).
The Gaff sits inside The Courtyard, a tucked-away space along Lion Street. The entrance is between Bean & Bread cafe and K & J Crafts. It’s well-located for nearby bus stops, plus parking at the Brewery Yard Car Park, free after 5 pm and on Sundays.
If you’ve read this far, you’ll surely already have decided to make your way as quickly as you can to The Gaff. Run, don’t walk… but do make sure to reserve your table in advance. The restaurant’s been busy from the moment Dan and Danielle opened the doors.
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Please leave a comment - I love hearing from you!27 Comments to "Run, Don’t Walk… to Abergavenny’s newest restaurant, The Gaff"
I love seeing all your lovely photos of the food. It looks amazing.
Thanks Ruth! Don’t forget to ping me to arrange a visit to our neck of the woods!
Looks really, really enticing. It sounds whingey but it’s hard to work out which of their dishes are suitable for us vegetarians, it means we have to engage in a dialogue before we can decide to book.
From a comment I’ve seen on a Facebook conversation, they are happy to adapt many of the dishes to be vegetarian / vegan. For sure, it’s always worth checking first if you have a restricted diet that’s not the main theme of the restaurant, but I get the impression these guys would absolutely be able and happy to cater for veggies.
That’s good to know. Haven’t been eating around the Abergavenny area for ages, looks like we’ll be returning to it!
Come visit us! ❤️👍
Well thank you for getting us there, up there with the best meals we’ve had recently and lately we’ve had a load. Great value too and, like you we need no excuse to visit but first we need to find you something as good in Cardiff.
Our pleasure! 💜
The Gaff offers lots of choices for those who love food. The set menu is decently priced but I think you had the right idea ordering a la carte. Everything looked so good! The Scotch eggs look amazing (I often find them dry). But the winner for me was that delicious looking banana dessert. Yum!
Yes, it’s not that the set menu isn’t fairly priced but that you can really go to town from the a la carte menu, and try more dishes between you for a lower price than having the set.
As a foodie, I’m drooling over these delectable choices… each looks to be a perfect balance between creative innovation and delicious pairings. (They are beautifully plated, to boot!) The Gaff would fast-become one of my favorite haunts, judging from the photos, for no other reason than each dish looks amazing and cooked to perfection. And banana sticky toffee pudding? Yum, yum! I’m definitely adding The Gaff to my culinary bucket list.
I suspect we’ll be regulars! That said, we now have this place, the Black Bear Inn and The Hardwick’s small plate menu (see recent reviews), so lots of fantastic modern dining options on our doorstep.
Looks very promising I must say. the duck item is so mouth-watering. I love the setting of the restaurant. Looks so sunny and perfect for a weekend lunch outing.
Yes, it’s a lovely setting, both inside and out. All the dishes were so good!
First of all, I’m a sucker for any restaurant with outdoor seating! Love this!
The set menu sounds impressive and offers a good variety!
The dessert definitely looks phenomenal! Its actually making me drool now!
Haa, yes it’s lovely in many respects! Glad it appeals, hope you get to visit yourself.
The Gaff looks and sounds incredible! The mushroom arancini especially looks incredible (our entire family loves mushrooms). I think we would also love to try the bacon mashed potatoes. I am adding this restaurant to our must-visit list.
It’s a lovely place, so much to try!
I am already drooling at those pictures. What an amazing spread. I love arancinis and that mushroom one looks lush. And that onion scotch egg – yummy. This is a real good find. Hoping to try it out soon.
Everything so good, from snacks through to desserts!
I am getting hungry while reading your post as there are so many food varieties and also it is great that owners of this restaurant were former chefs at Michelin starred cafe. Toasted focaccia, roast tomato jam are the perfect start of the meal and the bread looks perfectly baked too. Sticky banana pudding, banana and honeycomb chantilly, custard, toffee sauce are tempting.
Yes, the head chef here was head chef at the michelin-starred restaurant, his partner was front of house manager there.
I love how restaurants are getting more creative every day! The bread looks amazing (I LOVE freshly baked bread and usually eat it when its still warm). I’m also a big mushroom fan. And we better not start with the desserts, they all look delicious!
Crazy delicious! And creative too, yes!
The Gaff sounds like a foodie’s delight. With its brightly lit lovely décor, yummy food and decent pricing, this place is a perfect option for lunch outings. So many mouth-watering meaty dishes and delectable desserts to satiate my sweet tooth. My picks from their à la carte menu would be scotch egg, braised onion dish, fresh bread with tomato spread and almost all the desserts they offer.
Shaily, we’ve been back and tried the other desserts and yeah, they’re utterly amazing too!
The food looks really great, loved reading the review.