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“A great all-round experience!” exclaims an admirer of this reinvigorated Welsh icon; others simply confirm that it’s a truly special restaurant. We’re also fans of chef/patron Shaun Hill, and reckon he deserves a round of applause for putting The Walnut Tree back on the Michelin-starred map in his highly distinctive manner. This place works to a magic formula, serving keenly priced, intelligent food in refreshingly unfussy surroundings (beams, local artwork, rustic furnishings etc). The “calm yet friendly” vibe is helped along by chatty but knowledgeable staff, and vegetarians “always feel very welcome” here. Cracking set lunches are a bargain, while the equally good-value carte could yield anything from twice-baked Lancashire cheese soufflé with beetroot to skate with grilled octopus and red pepper sauce or veal kidneys with streaky bacon and cassis. Cleverly realised British and European flavours also collide on the pudding list – think Jaffa torte or caramel fondant with milk ice cream. The location in the foothills of the Black Mountains is glorious and the whole place regularly resounds with chat and laughter – there’s even bookable cottage accommodation nearby.
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Abergavenny Station 4km
Furnace Sidings Station 12km
Wernddu Golf Centre 2km
Llanfihangel Court 3km
Tues-Sat 12N-2.30pm 7-10pm
Food & Drink:
Rate & Review
Food + drink: 3
We went along to the Walnut Tree for dinner whilst taking a break in Wales after our wedding.
The menu is extensive and generously balanced between fish and meat – greedily we opted for a pre-starter of 2 oysters each before diving into veal sweetbreads (him) and scallops with lentils; followed by rack of lamb and duck confit (him) and halibut, mussels and clams in a saffron sauce so rich your arteries pucker at the sight of it.
And there’s the rub. This is heavy, rich food. It’s the sort of food that cajoles you into a bracing walk up the Black Mountains the next day just to overcome the guilt. It banished dessert for us (the “one more wafer thin mint” sketch felt a little too real); and even the petit fours came away having been merely fussed over, rather than devoured.
The service was attentive and friendly – and the fact that there was a large private party in at the same time as us could have gone unnoticed in terms of the level of service us regular punters received – all credit to the waiting staff on this one.
There was one small oddity. Earlier in the day we had received an email very politely asking us if we’d be OK to eat in bar area. When we explained the occasion they were very quick to confirm that we could definitely eat in the restaurant. A mundane detail to bring up in a review, but I mention it only due to the fact that when we turned up there was free space for between 6-8 covers in the main restaurant. Maybe our reputations preceded us and they’d heard about the cut of my new husbands jib, or maybe there was a couple of last minute cancellations… we’ll never know
Food + drink: 4
I don't know why I'm not giving this meal 10 out of 10 but to do so for my first review would seem slightly weak-willed!! I went for lunch this week and had a fabulous time. Extremely attentive, polite and friendly service in a simple, elegant and comfortable restaurant. The food was fantastic. Skate wing with shrimps and a creamy dill sauce and cod fillet with braised peas, new potatoes and lardons both showed that sometimes the most ‘simple’ food can be the most memorable. The apple and blackberry pudding with clotted cream was one of the best desserts I've eaten in recent memory – summer pudding on steroids. With a lovely glass of wine, a really good coffee, some delicious petit fours and change from £40 in my pocket, I left with a huge smile on my face and will be returning as soon as I find myself in Abergavenny again. If you can, book today – I'm sure you won't be disappointed!!!
We went to the Walnut Tree for a Friday night dinner on a walking weekend in Wales. We booked at the last minute and were lucky to get a table – the Walnut Tree clearly has a great name locally and it was full and very buzzy when we were there. Unfortunately I was wearing my “stylish” walking gear – the rest of the ladies looked suitably glamorous. Next time I'll have to dress for the occasion.
We had a drink in the bar on arrival, along with a tasty appetiser (home made cheese & sesame biscuits and a warm spinach and goats cheese parcel) we had a very nice carafe of crisp Alsace pinot gris. The wine list by the glass or carafe is pretty good here – good news for drivers as it's in the middle of nowhere. The wine list is broken into three categories to help diners choose whether to try something unusual or stick with the classics.
We just had mains and dessert; I had seabass, potato cake with anchovy and green vegetables (leeks, samphire and green beans) and he had skirt of beef. The seabass was lovely and fresh in a light buttery rosemary sauce, but unfortunately the potato cake was over-salted and I couldn't finish it. The beef was melt-in-your-mouth soft and beautifully cooked.
For dessert we shared the chocolate marjolaine, which was utterly decadent, with coffee and petit fours.
We were very pleased that when the waitress noticed my potato cake wasn't eaten that she asked why. She came back from the kitchen shortly afterwards to say that they had tasted it and it was over-salted. Our dessert and coffee was on the house, which we appreciated.
We would definitely go back or recommend the Walnut Tree to friends.
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