Thanks to my boyfriend, I spend a lot of time in the South Wales Valleys, in particular, in a little town called Treorchy which is around 40 minutes away from the centre of Cardiff. But out of habit and usually out a lack of options, when my boyfriend and I head out for food, we will usually venture to our capital city despite the long drive. Yet, in the past year, a restaurant has opened in Treorchy called High Street Social, an independent restaurant which prioritises the use of local produce and promotes a social atmosphere where customers can go to enjoy themselves. After many weeks of promising ourselves that we would pay this little independent a visit, last weekend we finally had the chance to.
Based on the High Street in Treorchy, the exterior of the building is very unassuming and it would be all too easy to walk past and not realise what it actually is. But despite this, when we visited the 40-seater restaurant it was packed with only one small table for two left spare. Thankfully, we were seated right next to the window, which meant impeccable lighting for the pictures that I knew I was going to take.
When we visited, we were coming to the end of the season for its ‘Social Evening Menu’. But before we decided on our food, we decided that no evening is complete without a bottle of wine, so we ordered a bottle of house white wine to go alongside our meal. Served in a plastic bag with water and ice, this was a very different approach to other restaurants who would usually serve their wine in a bucket with ice. Yet, it was a nice touch to see their originality so soon into our visit. Then it was time to ponder over the menu, and there was such a variation in the type of meals you could order, despite the menu only being one page in length, which I thought was very impressive.
For starters, I ordered Saffron Chicken Skewers with Pomegranate yoghurt. Initially, I had my reservations about the sweet pomegranate sauce being served with the chicken but it turns out that the flavours really complimented each other and the sauce was one of my favourite parts of the whole meal. The chicken was tender, cooked to perfection and worked very well paired with the bed of rocket and vegetables on the skewers including mushrooms and peppers. I would love to try this again and I think it was a favourite for my boyfriend and his family too.
For our mains, we ordered steak. I’m always very sceptical of steak in restaurants which aren’t particularly focused on cooking this meat as it’s too easy for it to end up chewy and overdone. I will usually order my steak to be cooked medium but on some rare occasions, I will opt for medium rare. On this visit, I ordered my steak medium, but when it arrived on the table, it was clear that it was slightly more done than this and the other people in my group found this to be the case with theirs. This was a little disappointing but I wanted to try the food before making a comment to our waiter. Despite being cooked more than I would have liked, the meat was still packed full of flavour and was tender, staying very far away from the dry and overcooked image you would associate with well-done steak.
The steak was paired with dauphinoise potatoes, broccoli and I chose parsley butter for my sauce. I had absolutely no complaints with any of the sides – the potatoes were delicious, soft and flavoursome while the sauce added a lovely extra touch to the meal. Overall, it was really enjoyable.
Let me assure you that these two courses were a lot of food and most people would be absolutely stuffed after eating them. But I was so determined to try a dessert as I had my eye on the rhubarb and strawberry tart with homemade custard. Custard is my favourite and I always love when people pair rhubarb and strawberry together. I expected the outer layer of the tart to be quite slim with a light texture but when it arrived, it was quite thick and was almost a cake-like. I was really unsure of this in the beginning, especially when I had tried the corner of the tart where the outer layer was much thicker. But as I got through more of the dessert, I did find it quite enjoyable although I would have preferred for the crust to be slightly lighter. However, that may just be a personal preference!
My boyfriend and his sister both ordered the summer berry cheesecake pot for their dessert. Although I didn’t try it myself, it was too beautiful not to showcase on this blog.
There were so many positive things about our visit. The staff were really friendly and there was no rush to hurry you out once you’d finished food, making it very clear that they wanted you to sit, relax and enjoy your company. I also thought that the food was good value for money and there really were so many different flavours to choose from which made it even more appealing.
There were also live performers at the restaurant during our visit and although they were incredibly talented and picked a great selection of songs, I thought it was slightly too loud for the venue, as it was a little bit hard to hear other people talking to you from across the table.
Yet, I think the positives by far outweighed the negatives and it’s so refreshing to have restaurants like this in the towns like Treorchy. I don’t want to have to drive 40 minutes or so every time I want to have dinner with my boyfriend, so I absolutely adore and welcome businesses like this establishing themselves in the Valleys. I’m looking forward to trying more of their dishes, especially after all the good things I’ve heard about their brunch!
You can find out a little more about High Street Social from their website – http://www.highstreet.social/