Set against a steep hillside in an isolated, straggly village not far from the river Wye, The Crown at Whitebrook gained a reputation as one of the top destinations in Wales – a world-class restaurant-with-rooms that always felt like more like a romantic French auberge that a reinvented Monmouthshire inn. Following its sudden closure in March 2013, the future looked bleak, but Raymond Blanc-trained chef/patron Chris Harrod has stepped in to save the day. Various fixed-price menus set the bar high, with a mix of complex flavours and technical know-how – witness 48-hour braised beef cheek with wild horseradish, kohlrabi and watercress or Cornish brill with caraway cabbage, onion purée and smoked bacon. To finish, top-drawer Welsh cheeses vie with cleverly wrought desserts such as blood-orange jelly with fromage-blanc mousse, clementine and mint ice cream. An illustrious international wine list is the icing on the cake, and the accommodation is an absolute dream.