SURROUNDED by the beautiful Monmouthshire countryside on the B4598 old Abergavenny to Raglan road, The Hardwick, run by the highly-regarded chef Stephen Terry, is seriously good.

Dining there on one of the flew glorious Saturday afternoons we've enjoyed this summer, the restaurant was packed.

It seems a very popular place so it's probably just as well you book.

We had thought of going there the previous Thursday evening and rang to make a reservation, but they were full.

The menu is one of the best I've ever seen, not just in terms of choice but, certainly from my experience, also from excellence of the food.

To start we both chose the pan fried Scottish diver-caught scallops and black pudding with apple sauce, pea shoots and bacon (£10.95), the biggest entrée I have ever seen ­as big as many mains - and probably the best I've tasted.

Beautifully served with the freshest of ingredients, each one seems to form a perfect combination.

For main I had the superb grilled ribeye of Herefordshire beef with a cracking bearnaise sauce, slow roast Italian plum tomatoes, Portobello mushroom and tripled cooked chips (£19.95).

My partner had the mouth-watering roast line-caught Gower Peninsula sea bass, Spanish button beans, black pudding and chorizo sausage with flat parsley, sherry vinegar and pea shoots (£18.75).

The sea bass was of the highest quality and the sauce was wonderfully rich.

To finish we had the delicious panetonne crème brulee (£5.95) to cap it all off in style.

The service is great, the atmosphere warm and the food out of this world.

The Hardwick truly has got it all.