Gwen

Modern European·
££££
·
Gold Award

SquareMeal Review of Gwen

Gold Award

Unless you’re passing through Machynlleth on a food pilgrimage to nearby Ynyshir, you might not know that this sleepy summer tourist town hides another superb restaurant. At the front Gwen is a slick, fun wine bar with a small, ever-rotating list of wines. Glance through the curtain at the back and you’ll see where the real fun is hiding though - chef Corrin Harrison’s intimate eight-seater chef’s table, where the former Ynyshir head chef knocks out an exhilarating 10 course menu.

Lit by the flicker of candles, Gwen is a thoroughly intimate affair. Two tables of four make up the entire restaurant, so unless you’re a group of four, you’ll likely find yourself chatting to a new friend. Meanwhile, the personable Harrison is cooking and dishing up a metre away, chatting through each dish as he goes. So many restaurants feel contrived when explaining dishes, but Gwen is a great example of how it should be - relaxed, engaging and convivial. Sommelier and restaurant manager Jake is also ex-Ynyshir and takes a similar tack with wines, effortlessly matching drinks to courses, amplifying the power of both.

The food itself is outstanding too - Harrison is an exceptional talent and his menus show-off some serious technique as well as delivering levels of flavour that are reminiscent of a certain two-star restaurant down the road. Gwen also has a trump card in the pocket, in that Harrison gets to make use of Ynyshir’s world-class production facilities, like its Himalayan salt chamber. There are lots of high notes: a fantastic combination of pink fir potatoes, jammy hen’s egg and olive; brilliant celeriac teriyaki; a nugget of perfectly cooked trout napped with a sparkling wine sabayon.

Later, a slab of Iberico pork belly comes off the grill and rests on the pass. We watch the fat shimmering in the scoring on its surface, and wonder if Gwen might actually be the real star attraction in Machynlleth. Not quite - Ynyshir’s brilliance is insurmountable, but to speak of Gwen in the same realms says a lot about this young sibling.

Good to know

Average Price
££££ - Over £80
Cuisines
Modern European
Ambience
Cool, Cosy, Dark and moody, Fine dining, Luxury, Quirky, Unique
Other Awards
SquareMeal UK Top 100
Food Occasions
Dinner, Lunch
Special Features
Chef’s table
People
Celebrations, Dates, Special occasions
Food Hygiene Rating

About

Gwen is an intimate, fine dining restaurant in Machynlleth, Wales, owned by Ynyshir chef patron Gareth Ward. The restaurant seats just eight guests at a time, with two tables of four set up right in front of the kitchen pass, putting guests right at the heart of the action. 

Head chef Corrin Harrison was an integral part of the team that won two Michelin stars at Ynyshir, and has also spent time at two Michelin-starred Steirereck in Austria, and with Lee Westcott at The Typing Room. At Gwen he cooks a ten course tasting menu that is built around the use of a charcoal grill, which is also a centrepiece of the restaurant. Gwen also uses the same suppliers and quality as Ynyshir, including meat aged in Ynyshir's salt chambers and produce grown in the kitchen garden. 

Though Gwen is unquestionably a fine dining restaurant, it has been designed to be relaxed, cosy and intimate, and Corrin and team are at the heart of a fun atmosphere. The space’s interior design uses upcycled materials and mixes wood and steel with dark green tiling to create a sophisticated environment for enjoying fine food.  The two tables are often communal and guests are encouraged to enjoy the meal together, whilst being immersed in the theatre of the whole experience. As for the name itself, Gwen was named after Gareth's late mother. 

The menu doesn't give much away so there's an element of mystery about each dish as it arrives, but example dishes include an eel chawanmushi (a Japanese savoury egg custard) with broccoli, a quail curry, barbecued pork with jalapeno hot sauce, Brazilian Yellow Bourbon coffee with orange and olive oil, and sourdough ice cream. 

Whilst the restaurant only accommodates bookings, Gwen also has a wine bar that accepts walk-ins. This is a cosy space, separated from the restaurant by a black curtain, where you can enjoy a glass of wine and a bite to eat. The wine list is made up of the team’s favourite wines and was designed by beverage director Rory Eaton, offering a varied and broad collection of wines.


FAQs

When can I book?

The restaurant's booking diary is released a month in advance. Note that Gwen operates strict sitting times - the dinner sitting starts at 7pm, and there's also a 3pm sitting on a Saturday afternoon.

Helpful? 0

Who is the chef at the restaurant?

Gwen is owned by Ynyshir chef patron Gareth Ward, but the head chef of the restaurant is Corrin Harrison.

Helpful? 0

Does the restaurant cater for dietaries?

The menu features fish, seafood and meat, and due to the nature of the menu the restaurant can't cater for any dietary restrictions, allergies or intolerances.

Helpful? 0

Location

21 Heol Maengwyn, Machynlleth, Powys, SY20 8EB

01654 701 100 01654 701 100

Website

Opening Times

Dinner
Mon Closed
Tue Closed
Wed 17:00-22:00
Thu 17:00-22:00
Fri Closed
Sat Closed
Sun Closed
All day
Mon Closed
Tue Closed
Wed Closed
Thu Closed
Fri 12:00-22:00
Sat 12:00-22:00
Sun Closed

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01654 701 100 01654 701 100

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