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Manicured grounds, luxury rooms, courteous service and the peaceful surrounds of an RSPB nature reserve have long been a lure for VIPs, yet the cooking of Sat Bains-trained wunderkind Gareth Ward is now the star attraction at Ynyshir Hall (recently rebranded Ynyshir following a change of ownership). From the first taste of ‘not French onion soup’ (a consommé with seaweed, croûtons and vivid green ramson oil) through to a single nitro-frozen bite of white chocolate and eucalyptus, meals brim with ideas and intense flavours. Whipped duck liver parfait with banana miso, crisp barley and ‘8 verjus’ confounds then delights, while mackerel is given extraordinary sweet-and-sour treatment – although the star turn is Welsh Wagyu ‘1,2,3,4’: a braised rib, crisp fat on half a roasted onion in consommé, a melting, bite-size burger, and finally a single, dripping-laced toffee. Then there are the ‘desserts’ – ‘lager and lime’, raspberry with shiso rice etc. Wine fits the top-end bill, but while the dining room is a tranquil vision in shades of turquoise, the chef’s table is the place to experience the full, unrestrained might of this Michelin-starred powerhouse.
Square Meal’s Best Restaurants in the UK 2015 is compiled using votes from our annual survey, last conducted in May and June 2015. Thousands of readers and bloggers took part and the results were moderated by the Square Meal editor and his nationwide team of professional reviewers. The survey does not ask for or include any restaurants in London. Click here for a full list of Square Meal’s Best Restaurants in the UK.
I know I keep saying this, but it really has been a while since I’ve been blown away by a meal. Yes, I’ve had some very good meals, but I’ve not been able to stamp it with the word ‘outstanding’ for the past few months – until now. Something else remarkable happened too, this was my first time to Wales. Windy country roads, water cascading through valleys, lush green fields and sheep in the thousands you’d easily mistake my photographs for a dot to dot puzzle. To put it bluntly, I’m in love. Wales is the most beautiful place I have ever visited in the UK. Fact.Ynyshir Hall is located in an area of Wales called...
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