I'd never been here before. I'm not in the catering business nor I have any other reason to "tell it as it was". We'd actually managed to get a table here, umpteenth time of trying...hooray. A couple of days before I walked past the front gates and carefully read the menu, it looked promising.
The service was attentive and the waiting staff were on the ball.
The wine list was different, Italian wines. I chose one of the house wines, that I'd never had before, a Falanghina. It was inexpensive. Good value for money, and a good match for fish.
The chocolate fondant with pistachio ice cream and caramelised nuts was superb.
The place is like a barn, especially the reception area, for pre dinner drinks. Bare floors, uncomfortable chairs/stools of varying sizes, most of which were barely big enough for a 10 year old. The only comfortable place to sit was in the window. The bar area had a few high, white bar stools but the rest was empty. The art on the wall of the reception area was basically photos of the beach, fine.
The restaurant: bare floors, noisy, bizarre art on the walls. A few modern expressionist type painting BUT OMG - 4 plain black canvasses. The first time I came across plain black canvasses was at the Guggenheim in Bilbao. I stood there listening to the audiotape telling me how one could stand there and stare into ones soul. Hmmm, only if I were contemplating suicide! The saying.."one eats with ones eyes", not only applies to what is on the plate but also to the ambience of the room. I hated the art on the wall. The ceiling was broken up by a series of white canvasses on a white ceiling. Quite a good idea but would have been more artistic if the ceiling had been pale blue with square white canvass clouds. My appetite wasn't enhanced by the decor.
Oh well, perhaps the food was going to be the star.
My scallops were perfectly cooked and presented beautifully. But...the proscutio, Parmesan shavings and rocket were far too salty. The balsamic was non existent. Pity because more balsamic would have helped. The dish was too salty and very dry, the scallops were perfect. Shame.
My partners calamari, she told me, were fine.
I had turbot for main. Three small fillets were delivered on kale with a thin rather tasteless jus with shrimps. Balanced on top was a pyramid of cheese crisp (OMG) and a square crab parcel, which didn't taste of crab! Well presented for the eye but tasteless, cheese with turbot? Then...Oh deary me... A bowl of vegetables. Roast potatoes, mashed carrots, peas and red cabbage was plonked down by the side. I have never experienced the like before. A beautifully presented plate of food which the chef had undeniably given a "fine dinning" look (even though it failed the taste test), with a bowl of"pub/cafe vegetables.
My partner had the bream with tomato and red pepper, basil, basil oil and Parmesan crisp, with......a bowl of pub veg! She rated it 5/10
The fondant tempted us both and we have had worse fondants than that in Michelin starred restaurants, excellent.
The cost ..... £45 per head.
I was really disappointed with Venetia. The chef has clear aspirations to present food that looked fine dinning but two of my dishes were unbalanced, and failed the taste test. The restaurant was only half full when we arrived but the noise echoed around and made me feel as though I was eating in a barn. I tried to keep my eyes off the walls!
Would I recommend this place? Well I'll let you guess that one. If I'm tempted to try again, I hope that they won't have a table. Unless, of course, I can nip in just for the fondant and a glass of wine.
Abersoch has very few really good eateries and this isn't one of them.
A huge disappointment.
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