Sunday was Tom's birthday so on Saturday night we went out for dinner to a nearby country house hotel, Gliffaes, run by James and Susie Suter. It's lovely - a large and beautiful house overlooking the Usk, with a series of comfortable rooms to lounge in and a good restaurant. We know James and Susie through family, so spent the first half an hour or so discussing chickens with them at the bar. I know. Chickens. Everyone round here has them and I'm discovering that it's not just me that has odd egg counting and tallying habits. I keep a record of our daily takings (see bar at the side). Susie lines them up by type/appearance to check how many each chicken is laying. We're clearly both a bit bats.
Dinner was in the restaurant: terrine, delicious tender calves livers and a creme brulee, with a very good bottle of Spanish red, followed by coffee in the sitting room by the fire. I think most other people were guests so there's no formal dress code, the surroundings are elegant and comfortable and you don't feel bad coming in in an anorak. In fact as the hotel is known for its fishing, it seems almost de rigueur.
We had a lovely evening and not too costly, given the comfort and quality. I think hotels are often overlooked as places to pop into for food - afternoon tea at Gliffaes is also lovely. It's a bit like playing house for part of the day.