Sunday, 27 December 2015

Caerphilly Mountain, Wales

The view of Caerphilly from the summit of the eponymous "mountain", which is a modest 271 metres high. Still, the climb to the top can be both energetic and exhilarating. 

Saturday, 26 December 2015

Caerphilly Castle, Caerphilly, Wales

Sitting on the largest site of any fortress in Wales, Caerphilly Castle is an immense, brooding citadel dating from the 13th Century. It was built by the English to defend south Wales from Llywelyn the Last.

Friday, 25 December 2015

Roath Park, Cardiff, Wales

Opened in 1894, Roath Park contains a 30 acre man-made lake, featuring the Scott Memorial Lighthouse, the Wild Garden, the Llandennis Oval, the Botanic Garden with a large conservatory and the Roath Pleasure Gardens with bowls, tennis and basketball facilities.

Sunday, 6 December 2015

The Portland, Great Portland Street, Central London

A small, but smart, modern European restaurant, The Portland is popular with discerning diners and it can be hard to get a table. The decor is modern and minimalist, as is the menu. There is a choice of three dishes per course, supplemented by a handful of specials, but they may sell out quickly. As an alternative to a starter, the snacks are imaginative and full of novel flavours. They may include white truffle and gruyere macarons (£3), crispy chicken skins with liver parfait, candied walnuts and grapes (£3), wild rice crackers, crab, lime and sorrel (£6) and warm pumpkin cakes, chestnut, truffle and aged Mimolette (£7). The latter conjures up a particularly rich and sophisticated mix of flavours. Among the three main courses, there will probably be a meat dish, a fish dish and a vegetarian dish. The Gressingham duck (£24), served with onions and kale, is earthy and nourishing, but reviews of the turbot (£27), served with carrots and lemon verbena, aren't quite as good. The sides are expensive - five pounds for some new potatoes or an autumn salad - but there is generally enough for two. On the whole, the food is both beautifully presented and precisely cooked: this is posh nosh. The very cosmopolitan wine list starts at about £20 a bottle, rising to over a £100. Fortunately, it features very helpful descriptive notes. The Bisceglia, 'Terre di Vuloano' Falanghina, Campania 2014 is crisp and drinkable, but not quite worth £27 a bottle. The service can be impeccable, while the ambiance is pleasant. Your fellow diners are likely to be middle-aged and middle class, rather than hip young things. 8/10