Compared to the frenetic pace of life in London, everything seems just a little bit slower in Wales. Even so, sometimes you need to get out of the office and into a pleasant environment to fuel your creative thinking. The Raglan Arms in Llandenny provides just this.
The wonderful thing about it is that the owners understand what you want from a restaurant as a businessperson. The layout of the pub is perfect for a private conversation, but you can also book a big table at the back or in one of the side areas to host a lunch or supper for 10 or 12 managers.
The food is just what you want from pub food. On the one hand, they have excellent sausage and mash with onion gravy, but they also do a delicious goat's cheese salad and tasty vegetarian meals - which I normally opt for. My favourite is Imam Bayildi, a middle-eastern aubergine dish. Their range of wine is reasonably priced and surprisingly good for a pub. I used to think you should never drink wine in a pub because it gives you a splitting headache. But my experiences at the Raglan Arms have taught me otherwise.
The service is just superb, and Charlott, who is front-of-house, has an extraordinary memory. Just the second time I ever went in there, she remembered which wine I'd chosen the time before and what meal I'd eaten. That attention to detail and customer service is endearing.
Llandenny, Usk, Gwent, NP15 1DL, 01291 690 800, www.raglanarms.co.uk
Imam Bayildi with creme fraiche: £5.50
Goat's cheese fondue with falafel and portobello mushrooms: £12.00
- Laura Tenison is founder/MD of JoJo Maman Bebe.