Saturday, 19 August 2017

A guide to Wales's Michelin-starred restaurants

Pogs. Panini Stickers. Trolls. Stamps. Pokemon.

Gotta catch 'em all.

Humans have a natural tendency to collect things and I’m no different.

Earlier this year I finally visited all seven of Wales’s Michelin starred restaurants. Whilst this "achievement" has hammered my bank balance over the last few years, I’ve eaten some really memorable meals from Wales’s very top chefs.

So, here’s my guide to Wales’s Michelin stars. Follow the links for my full reviews:

Sosban and The Old Butchers, Menai Bridge, Anglesey

Wales’s smallest Michelin-starred restaurant has just sixteen covers and gets booked up months in advance. The menu incorporates foraged ingredients and modern interpretations of classic flavour combinations in dishes like sour cream porridge with mushroom and bacon. 

Pork cheek tart with yoghurt, liquorice and sweet cicely
The Walnut Tree, Abergavenny, Monmouthshire

The Walnut Tree is the least Michelin-starry of Wales’s Michelin-starred restaurants. Shaun Hill, one of the elder statesmen of British cooking, cooks dishes with bold flavours, unglamorous ingredients and straightforward presentation in an informal setting.

Pheasant pudding with sage and bacon
Tyddyn Llan, Llandrillo, Denbighsire

From the floral curtains to the food, Tyddyn Llan is Wales’s most traditional Michelin-starred restaurant. Bryan Webb’s generous cooking sees classic flavour combinations cooked with French technique.

Hake with laverbread beurre blanc and samphire
Ynyshir, Machynlleth, Powys

Gareth Ward’s cooking pushes the most boundaries out of Wales’s Michelin stars with his Japanese influenced food that utilises plenty of pickles. I wasn’t fully sold on challenging flavour combinations like dark chocolate with shiitake mushroom but Ynyshir is the highest ranked restaurant in Wales in the Good Food Guide 2018.

Pork belly with black bean sauce
Restaurant James Sommerin, Penarth, Vale of Glamorgan

With its pretty seafront location just outside Cardiff, Restaurant James Sommerin is the Michelin-starred restaurant I’ve visited more than any other. Sommerin’s cooking combines bold flavours with striking presentation. Highlights from a recent meal included venison tartare with cep and confit duck with artichoke. 

Venison tartare with cep and carrot
The Whitebrook, Monmouthshire

Located in rural Monmouthshire, this pretty restaurant with rooms is run by Chris Harrod, a chef that learnt his craft under the legendary Raymond Blanc. Harrod’s comforting food utilises locally foraged ingredients like mugwort, scurvy grass and lesser celandine.

Golden Cenarth dumplings with duck gizzard, salt baked turnip and sorrel puree
The Checkers, Montgomery, Montgomeryshire

Mid Wales’s Checkers is a family affair - head Chef Stéphane Borie is married to head pastry chef Sarah whilst her sister Kathryn runs front of house. This translates into a passion that radiates from every wooden beam of this renovated coaching inn. Borie’s gutsy French cooking delivers huge flavour and technique.

Pork belly with boudin noir

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