Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Number Twenty One Bistro

A few weekends ago over the first May bank holiday the Clonc family made their way up to Machynlleth (bless you) to attend the brilliant Machynlleth Comedy Festival. This has become a bit of a tradition for the Clonc family and we look forward to it every year. It is one of the highlights of our year visiting this lovely and historic town while watching some very fine comedy indeed. The air of informality and friendliness that surround the festival is quite unique and urge you to visit one year (www.machcomedyfest.co.uk). We have been to the festival three times but on our last visit the above mentioned bistro took my fancy. Sadly they were fully booked for pretty much the whole weekend, which I was disappointed about but also knew there had to be a reason for their popularity other than the sparse offerings in the town. Roll on to this year and I booked way in advance.
This intimate restaurant on the high street of Machynlleth is run by  Laura who heads up the front of house and Sam who takes charge of the kitchen. The place is decked out in crisp whites and subtle greens creating an uncluttered and serene dining space. We were warmly greeted by Laura who showed us to our table. Now first impressions mean a lot to me and the sight of Baby Clonc's place setting i.e colour coordinated high chair and cutlery told me we were onto a winner here. 



Drinks orders were taken after a few minutes in which time a jug of water was delivered and Baby Clonc's order was put in so he could eat as soon as possible. While we perused the menu and considered the specials we chomped on delicious bread and olives. Our orders were then expertly taken and Baby Clonc's food promptly arrived.




The home made fish fingers, fries and peas were so far away from your usual 'kids menu' meal its was unreal, everything from the presentation of the fries in a mini fryer basket to the deliciously crisp fish finger and soft fish within it. I can vouch that the fries were very good (all in the name of research you see). Baby Clonc seemed pleased and quite taken with the fish fingers, that and scattering the peas on the floor then pointing at them.
On to the 'grown up' food. Mrs Clonc's sister who joined us had the trout from the main menu. The trout was poached in butter and served with wild garlic mash and green beans. To quote her ' this is so delicious I don't want it to end'. Praise indeed!  



Mrs Clonc went for her favourite, duck. The duck breast in question was cooked perfectly pink with crispy skin, a good slice of dauphinoise, shredded cabbage dotted with peas and mint and a port sauce. Well Mrs Clonc was in heaven. From what I was allowed to try of hers the duck was excellent, as mentioned well cooked and seasoned, the dauphinoise was delicious and rich and the veg were expertly handled. The sauce a little thin was delicious all the same. 




I decided to plump for the beef short rib from the specials board. What arrived was a substantial plate of 'man food'. A large portion of short rib with bone protruding sat on top of kale, mash and sauce. The meat fell away from the bone with minimal effort, the meat deep and rich with beefy flavour. The kale was well seasoned and cooked perfectly and the mash was spot on. The sauce was complex in flavour but the pea purée which looked pretty swiped on the plate was a little bland. 



At this point Baby Clonc was getting restless in his perch but one look at the dessert menu and I was willing to take the risk of a baby melt down. Baby Clonc did however partake in dessert and had his first taste of ice cream. Beautifully served up in an espresso cup the cold sensation was initially too much for the young fellow but then Boom! He could not get enough of it. 



In the mean time while Baby Clonc was distracted Mrs Clonc, her sister and myself inhaled our desserts. Mrs Clonc's sister ordered her favourite creme brulee. What arrived was a generous portion of one of the most unctuous and creamy crème brulees I have tried. Heavily flavoured with vanilla and the obligatory sugar crust made a very fine and indulgent end to her meal. 



Mrs Clonc went for the chocolate brownie dessert, served with home made marshmallow and peanut butter ice cream. The dessert was beautifully presented, the chocolate brownie unfortunately was quite dry but this was made up for by the astonishingly good peanut butter ice cream and gooey and velvety marshmallow. Some honeycomb present provided texture. 



My dessert was the polar opposite from my warm and comforting main. A lemon tart served with a raspberry sorbet and clotted cream. The lemon tart pastry was thin and crisp, the filling well balanced and not so sharp your salivary glands go into spasm. The raspberry sorbet was nothing short of excellent. A fantastic end to a fantastic meal.



The attention to detail, the quality of food and level of service was brilliant. The service was especially professional and friendly and a fine example of people who actually enjoy what they do. The entire meal with drinks (a bottle of sauvignon blanc, very good home made ginger ale and an americano) came to £89.59 without tip. It is fair to say we were all very happy diners and I was very impressed by this place having known very little about it. So if you find yourself this way or going to Machynlleth Comedy Festival next year then I can highly recommend this place. I personally have already booked us in for dinner next year.

Number Twenty One Bistro
Address: 21 Heol Maengwyn, Machynlleth, Powys, SY20 8EB
Tel: 01654 703 382
Web: www.numbertwentyone.co.uk
Facebook: www.facebook.com/numbertwentyonemachynlleth

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