The lovely 17th century thatched Welsh country inn, The Bush Inn at St. Hilary, has long been a favourite destination for a quiet lunch for Mathew and I.
|The Bush Inn, St. Hilary (photo from website)|
Some months ago, we were surprised to be watching the wonderful Sherlock: Hound of the Baskervilles with Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman, only to spot The Bush Inn as the location for one of Conan Doyles most cunning who (or in this case what) dunnit.
|Source; The Bush Inn Website: The owners with Benedict Cumberbatch & Martin Freeman|
The last we had heard of the Inn prior to this was that the place had been unfortunately destroyed by fire and so, hoping that the place had been lovingly restored (as would seem to be the case from Sherlock on TV), we bribed the grandparents to have the kids and sneaked off for a leisurely lunch.
|Outside The Bush Inn, St. Hilary|
Coincidentally, we chose the same afternoon as the local Rolls Royce Enthusiasts Club and the car park was lined with the most regal of vintage vehicles.
I have added some photos later on and the husband refused to let me see if I could trade in our car for something closer to automobile royalty.
I am happy to report that the Bush Inn is indeed fully restored to its former splendour and offers a quiet haven somewhere towards the popular market town of Cowbridge.
Although sunny, the church at St. Hilary was shaded and dark, almost as if the Hound were lurking somewhere about.
|The Church at St. Hilary|
The Inn is not really the place for noisy, rumbustious children and it would not be our first choice as a destination for a family meal with young children in tow.
No, the Bush Inn suits escapees from daily drudgery and those who want a break from the endless chain restaurants which seem to be taking over our city centres.
|Entrance to The Bush Inn – a warm welcome awaits|
Inside can be found the roaring fire, and the cosy nooks we remembered from years ago.
The lunch menu is quite simple.
The Inn now specialises in pies and Wellingtons, with a varied and more inspired vegetarian (and gluten free) menu than is usually the case.
There are also the usual burgers and sandwiches on the menu.
Never able to resist a pie with a puff pastry crust, I chose the Fisherman’s Pie with cod, prawns and leeks and the husband chose the Steak Pie with Guinness and Stilton.
Both arrived piping hot with a lovely crisp puff pastry ‘lid’ and a generous portion of chips and vegetables (cabbage, carrots, broccoli and courgettes).
The vegetables were nicely al dente.
Not necessarily the perfect combination with a fish pie but my glass of Malbec Los Haroldos (Mendoza, Argentina) was smooth and aromatic.
It is immensely cheering to see how many local pubs now offer decent red wine!
|An aromatic Malbec|
|Give a man a pie and he’s happy|
For dessert I chose a rosewater creme brulee with homemade shortbread biscuit and the husband had a salted caramel chocolate pot.
Both were excellent with the rosewater adding a fragrant sweetness to the brulee.
I’m afraid the chocolate pot was emptied before I could get my spoon anywhere near it.
|Rosewater Creme Brulee|
|Salted Caramel Chocolate Pot|
Decent coffees followed and a chance to relax and watch the crackling logs of the real wood fire burning happily away.
There is nothing like a real fire – not something we’d be comfortable having at home until the kids are much older.
The bill was around the £50 for both of us which compares very favourably to eating out in the centre of Cardiff or in Cardiff Bay.
Then it was out into the sunshine to admire the beautiful vintage rollers and to remember times when we would have been able to linger a little longer before heading back to Dinas.
Perhaps next time we may be lucky enough to bump into the Sherlock film crew.
Rather them than the Hound of the Baskervilles, that’s for sure.
And while I’m waiting patiently for the promised Christmas Sherlock special, I have contented myself by writing my own homage to the great detective here.
If you are looking for a place to eat that combines tranquillity, an atmospheric pub and good food, the Bush Inn at St. Hilary is heartily recommended.
Further information can be found at the website – www.bushinn-sthilary.com and on Twitter @bushinnsthilary. This is a completely independent review.