The quirky Jocelyn dudes were in full swing as I entered the room. Diners were tapping their toes, with one corpulent gent just about keeping the beat with his spoon.
I soon discovered why this was called the banqueting suite – it really was a feast to remember. I went a bit retro to begin with but luckily this wasn’t one of those pink and gooey horror stories from days of yore. No, this was a delicate prawn cocktail with the added touch of rolled brown bread and smoked salmon.
Other starters on my table included garlic mushrooms, cream of onion and thyme soup and duck rillettes, so I spent a couple of minutes resembling Stressed Eric, wondering whether I’d made the right choice.
By now the Jocelyn Trio had really got going. Lily, James and Oliver were reeling off one tune after another, adding a lovely swing to the meal. So much so that I got a bit carried away and accidentally catapaulted a prawn off the table. Nobody noticed, I hope.
As the music veered from the melodic to the ecstatic, and back again, the main course was served. I went for roast Pembrokeshire chicken with sage and onion stuffing, which was a triumph. Unfortunately, it’s not always easy to find Pembrokeshire chicken when you eat out around here, so thumbs up to the chefs for sourcing locally.
This delicious bird was perfectly cooked and succulent, served with a delightfully balanced stuffing, intensely flavoured homemade gravy, and the best roasted tatties this side of my ma’s kitchen.
Then a gaggle of waiters and waitresses took to the floor, whirling about to the music as they dished out additional veggie delights, from “Molly Parkin parsnips” to boiled carrots, which were unexpected yet very welcome additions.
Other main courses included everything from herb crusted salmon to slow-braised Welsh brisket, and all of them looked lip-smackingly delicious.
At this stage the conversation was getting so good, and the food proving so faultless, that I was almost tempted to get on the stage and reel out an ode to the chefs and hosts. Thankfully the musicmeisters weren’t knocked of balance by yours truly and pudding was promptly served.
And here’s my first and only complaint! How on earth is a sober diner supposed to choose between warm chocolate brownie, cherry frangipane tart and profiteroles? I shut my eyes and struck out with my pen – a cherry frangipane tart it was, and this masterpiece of puddingry couldn’t have been better.
The pastry was perfect – as was the general texture and flavour balance, and the crème anglaise.
Well done the Wolfscastle!