Built in 1829, this traditional meets contemporary hotel is a 1-minute walk from Abergavenny Castle. The Angel Hotel was established as a posting inn on the road to Milford Haven in 1829, some time after that, in 1963, Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor stopped there for a steak and kidney pie on their way to Merthyr.
In the shadow of sugar loaf mountain, the family run Angel Hotel displays an inspiring collection of original art, that is complimented perfectly with a combination of rich hues and neutrals in the interior, with is dining in the Foxhunter Bar and Oak Room restaurant – or the Michelin-starred sister restaurant, The Walnut Tree.
We arrived at the hotel in the evening as it was getting dark, parking our car at the back of the hotel we walked through the courtyard under strands of twinkly fairy lights (should you arrive by train however, the hotel has a little electric vehicle called a ‘Twizy’ which guests can use during their stay). Checking in was with a warm welcome and fuss free affair in the beautiful panelled reception area, with glimpses of both the bar and the restaurant from this perspective in the building.
We opened the door to room 25 to the loveliest setup, the deluxe room, which came with a sofa and armchair at the end of the bed; with an oversized coffee table bearing the loveliest snacks and chilled drinks. The wall mounted large tv, meant it was rather tempting to order room service and take advantage of said massive king-sized bed, piled high with fluffy pillows and crisp bedding wrapped in the robes we found in the bathroom.
After quick freshen up in the well-stocked bathroom we made our way to the restaurant with a quick stop in the Foxhunter Bar, named after the champion show jumping horse ‘Foxhunter’ who was ridden by jockey Sir Harry Llewellyn. The pair won Britain’s only gold medal at the 1952 summer olympics and were part of the show jumping team at the 1948 olympics. Foxhunter and Llewellyn won the King George V Gold Cup three times (in 1948, 1950, and 1953) and they also won 78 international competitions during their joint career. Chris had an Angel Ale named ‘Sir Harry’ (in honour of the pair) and I had a Blood Orange Soda to start, this refreshing Chase Blood Orange Spritz made from the relatively local Chase distillery’s Grapefruit gin.
We were fortunate to have the full dining experience ahead of us in The Oak Room. Chefs Paul Brown and Wesley Hammond lead The Angel Hotel talented culinary team to provide guests with good quality food made of the freshest and finest ingredients. As a rule, I tend to avoid the bread basket for fear of leaving less space for the main event and this time I wish I had ordered it, the Hotel’s bakery and its wares have the loveliest reputation, meaning they have their own standalone store opposite the Angel Hotel that supplies a loyal clientele.
It’s not often we choose the same starter but we both ironically chose Scallops, grilled in the shell; oriental dressing for me and garlic butter for Chris (I’m usually plant-based as I’m a little picky about the origins of what I eat, but this was definitely something that had caught my eye on the menu). They arrived plump and perfectly cooked with the right amount of flavour (we obviously swapped a scallop each to try), nestled in their shells ticking not only the box taste wise but aesthetically too.
Main course was a different story, Chris chose a dry-aged Welsh ribeye with Bearnaise sauce and I chose the vegetarian and gluten free option; Roast cauliflower steak, tarka dahl, golden raisins and caper berries. This is can be a risky choice sometimes as I usually find the veggie option is either a plate of bloating carbs or saturated in garlic of some description to make up for lack of other things, however my meal was beautifully cooked, well presented and with the perfect balance of colours, texture and taste. This was paired with a 2018 Cave De L’Ormarine L’Tang De Sol Picpoul de Pinet. Chosen to pair with the scallop dish and it matched my main course also, the dryness balancing the sweetness of the golden raisins and warm spices.
The finale arrived after a short break, we wanted to take in our beautiful surroundings and the lovely Ana helped us with our choices, suggesting lovely places to visit should we have decided to stay longer. We (well, I) chose the Chocolate bomb, filled with hazelnut ice cream and marshmallow; caramel sauce, raspberries; this was the gluten free vegetarian option, and there’s no way you would have known, it tasted incredible. The entrance and introduction to said dessert at the dinner table was all part of the theatre. Chris had his favourite, Tiramisu. This arrived in what one could only describe as small vase! The portions were not shy to say the least and the taste was incredible.
Post dinner drinks were a peppermint tea for myself and a glass of wine for Chris, content as a description would be an understatement after the incredible meal and service. We returned to our room and immediately changed into our robes and dozed whilst watching a film. Sadly, breakfast was not on the cards; as we had an early start… but it’s the perfect excuses to return again, even to sample the Angel Hotel’s legendary afternoon tea!
The Angel Hotel
15 Cross Street