I have written on this blog quite a few times about the Cooks – serial innovators on the food front, who have seized the potential economic woes bestowed on the hospitality sector by Covid by the neck and given them a jolly good seeing to, with the likes of the wildly (and rightly so) successful Kapow Ribs and now (their newest venture) Rocket & Rye in Cowbridge.
Few things in life are certain – taxes and death (plus politicians fxcking things up, my computer crashing at least 30,000 times a day and a typo in my blog posts) – and on top of these you can add the chances of getting top notch food when the Cooks are involved.
Not many people would invest time, energy and money on a new restaurant in the teeth of a pandemic that has closed the hospitality sector for large swathes of the last 11 months (still amazes me that my last full week in the office was the first week of March 2020), but the Cooks have done just that with Rocket & Rye.
Formal opening stymied by the latest raft of restrictions (with numbers seemingly suggesting that hospitality was not the main driver for transmission of the disease as previous restrictions would have had us believe, but we are where we are), the Cooks have pivoted to a “cook at home” offering with their Rocket Boxes.
A really enticing offering, which got me ordering immediately.It it was all delivered to the door beautifully boxed up (they kindly offered to deliver which meant I didn’t have to put the Volvo in steath mode to get over to Cowbridge),with easy to follow instructions.First up was a lovely antipasti style starter.A really punchy black olive forcaccia, with that lovely earthiness black olives bring to the equation really coming through,was the perfect vehicle for getting the sweet, yet sour and smokey, burnt tomato salsainto the gob.
Some cracking charcuterie/salumi (Palma ham, at a guess, and some lovely fatty, cut thick, napoli style salami)added nicely to a very generously proportioned starter for two. A fine start to proceeding.
Next up was the main event chicken dish, with roasties and assorted veggies. An easy to deal with roast in the bag number (I double checked this as the implications of being wrong would have been pretty horrific), with veggies, tarragon and copious amounts of butter in the bag.
Out of the oven it smelt amazing, with lovely wafts of tarragon as I cut into the bag.
All in all an impressive looking beast.As the chicken rested, the spuds where finished off to a nice level of crispiness and the chicken butter sauce warmed through.I also got to work on the Caesar saladwhich turned out rather well (well I thought so).Regrettably my plating up skills aren’t up to much and I really didn’t do justice to the main event
Beautifully succulent chicken, infused with a pleasing hit of aniseed from the tarragon, was complemented nicely by veggies (fennel, carrot, leek and swede – nice to see the very underrated and thus under used swede in the mix) which had bathed in herby chicken and butter infused juices in the bag with the chicken.
All in all a very satisfying plate of food and a big portion.
The Caesar salad had nicely crisp romaine leaves, a very good sharp dressing, complimented by the saltiness of the parmesan and some bang on, just runny, eggs and good croutons.Everything a Caesar salad should be, although with the benefit of hindsight I would probably have had this as a intermediate course between the starter and the chicken dish. It was quite rich (in a good way) and the chicken dish was a very big portion (again in a good way), so together it was maybe just a bit too much.
We had quite a hiatus between the chicken and the pudding (as both Mrs. SF and I were stuffed) and it was well worth the wait.Chocolate to the max in the form of the Rocket Rose, with a rich (yet light) velvety mousse encasing a lovely gooey tonka bean caramel centre, all sitting on a crisp biscuity base, which I really enjoyed. My only slight quibble was the vanilla cream it came with was just a tad light on the vanilla front.
Good food deserves good wine and vice versa and the below godello from the master, Rafael Palacios, is an affordable example of just how good godello (which often, unfairly to my mind, plays second fiddle to Albarino amongst Spanish whites) can be.Beautifully expressive nose of fresh apple with more complex citrus (dried lime zest) and a touch of perfumed quince as it developed in the glass. On the palate it had a lovely freshness, with orchard and stone fruit, a touch of creamy nuttiness and a briney mineral finish. Just lovely with the chicken dish.
With the Rocket Rose, I think this Tintilla de Rota (picked up from Mercado 44)would work very well.
I was very impressed with my Rocket Box which was excellent value for money at £55 for 2 (a for one person option is available at £27.50 for the oft forgotten solo diners). It offered big portions and even bigger flavours.
I knew it would be good (it is by the Cooks after all), but expectations were well and truly surpassed.
Their Valentines Day boxes look rather fine, have to say, and can be ordered (along with the Rocket Boxes) via their online shop.
Makes me wonder just how good Rocket & Rye is going to be when it is finally able to open (hopefully soon, but the omens are not good at the moment). The “By Day” and “By Night” menus on the website currently sound just lovely.
Could well be the opening of 2021 (fingers and toes firmly crossed) here in South Wales.
Address: 30 High Street, Cowbridge, Vale of Glamorgan, CF71 7AG
Tel: 01446 775884