Restaurant Review @ The Orchard (Newport)

The Orchard is a brand new restaurant located in the heart of historic Newport. The charming old school house building has been sympathetically renovated with smart signage, topiary and lights adorning the frontage.

Inside the décor is classy and tasteful; candlelit tables are well spaced with fine linen tablecloths and napkins giving an upmarket feel. Inside the entrance is a small seating area and a hatch through to the kitchen, allowing a brief glimpse behind the scenes and a warm welcome from the chef himself as you arrive.

Head Chef Peter Roberts and his wife Sarah opened The Orchard six months ago, Peter has over 25 years experience in the industry and together the husband and wife team also run a successful catering business. Their aim with The Orchard is to offer a fresh and vibrant fine dining experience with friendly service and relaxed atmosphere.

On arrival were greeted by owner Sarah Roberts and shown to a lovely bay window table where we were given chance to peruse the menus. The wine list is ample with plenty of choice to suit all tastes and budgets; we both ordered a glass of the house Merlot and iced water for the table.

After our drinks were served we were presented with complimentary appetisers, which comprised a delicate cherry tomato stuffed with mozzarella and basil finished with a drizzle of balsamic dressing, this was a lovely unexpected touch and set the tone for an enjoyable meal ahead.

For starters I opted for asparagus wrapped in Parma ham and my friend Sara chose the king prawns with chilli ice cream. While we waited for our starters we were served fresh rustic bread with butter and tapenade.

The starters arrived artistically presented on long slim plates, the portion sizes were just right for starters. My asparagus was perfectly tender and the Parma ham wrapped around the stems added a moreish savoury taste, it was topped with a softly poached egg and a drizzle of balsamic dressing, the flavours worked together beautifully and I enjoyed every bite.

Sara commented that her prawns were juicy and well cooked with a hint of lime, the chilli ice-cream worked exceptionally well with the prawns, the slight sweetness and coolness of the ice cream coming through first then a moment later the warmth of the chilli hit the palate, this dish really is a taste sensation.

After our plates were cleared we were presented with fresh lemon sorbets to cleanse the palate, this was another nice touch and it’s this sort of attention to detail that makes dining at The Orchard truly special.

For main course Sara chose the roast duck with cherry sauce and I couldn’t resist the slow roasted lamb with apricot and honey. Once again the presentation of the mains was top notch and the portion sizes were ideal. Sara’s duck breast was cooked to perfection, with crispy skin yet moist and tender meat, it was served with a decadent cherry sauce with whole poached cherries, a selection of fresh steamed greens and battered broccoli.

My lamb was also delicious, served on a bed of sweet pumpkin mash, with battered broccoli, steamed asparagus, sugar snap peas and green beans, it was well-cooked and very flavoursome, the pumpkin mash complimented the sweetness of the lamb perfectly.

The dessert menu is basically a compilation of deliciousness. The Orchards Junior chef Charlotte has a penchant for patisserie and desserts and was recently awarded 3rd place in The Taste of Staffordshire awards. After a long deliberation I opted for the orange and apricot bread and butter pudding and Sara went for the Ferrero Roche cheesecake. The bread and butter pudding was wonderful, very light and fluffy and so moreish, it was served with a warm crème anglaise and was the perfect ending to a fabulous meal.

Sara’s dessert was also beautifully presented and comprised a duo of chocolate cheesecakes, served with mascarpone cream and a tiny chocolate spoon. The cheesecake was rich and chocolaty, with a chunky crumbly biscuit base, topped with Ferrero Roche chocolates, what’s not to love!

We both thoroughly enjoyed dining at The Orchard, the delicious food, relaxed ambience and attention to detail from start to finish made this a meal to remember. The Orchard is the ideal venue for a special meal with family and friends or a romantic dinner with that special someone, so if you appreciate fine food and wine then The Orchard is definitely a must visit destination.

Reviewed by Charlie Scott & Sara Phillips

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