“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, with cosy interiors including wooden beams on the ceiling, rustic furnishings and works from local artists lining the walls. The space beyond the restaurant’s walls is just as charming, with The Walnut Tree finding itself amidst a lush garden full of verdant foliage.
The “calm yet friendly” vibe is helped along by chatty but knowledgeable staff, and the menu is an inclusive affair too, with vegetarians always made to feel “very welcome” here. Just take the tempting meat-free starter of spiced squash salad with tahini and dukka, or the warming vegetable hotpot which serves as a main course.
Cracking set lunches are a bargain, while the equally good-value a la carte could yield anything from skate in a spiced mussel broth and venison loin and hash with a lingonberry sauce, to lobster omelette and Cornish sole with shrimps and brown butter sauce.
Cleverly realised British and European flavours also collide on the list of tempting puddings – think a fig tart served with a drizzle of honey and a scoop of ricotta ice cream or perhaps ginger loaf that’s lashed with warm butterscotch sauce and topped with slices of poached pear.
The Walnut Tree’s location in the foothills of the Black Mountains is glorious and the whole place regularly resounds with chat and laughter. If you want to make a night of it, you’ll find two bookable cottages on the restaurant’s grounds, both complete with outdoor terraces and lush gardens.