The Walnut Tree

Gold Award

SquareMeal Review of The Walnut Tree

Gold Award

“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.

Good to know

Average Price
££££ - £50 - £79
Cosy, Quirky, Traditional, Unique
One Michelin star
Food Occasions
Dinner, Lunch
Special Features
Vegetarian options
Perfect for
Special occasions
Food Hygiene Rating


Headed up by Shaun Hill, the Michelin-starred Walnut Tree is well-established as a top destination for both food and board in Wales. The dining room is simple and elegant, adorned with pieces from the sister Art Shop and Chapel, and the dishes display Hill's expertise confidently. Every ingredient is celebrated from humble herbs up to lavish cuts of meat and fish, in a dish that may seem simple, but is only presented so. 

The ever-changing set and a la carte menus depend on which ingredients are available that day. A typical lunch or dinner menu might feature indulgent intros like a twice-baked cheese souffle with Welsh black truffle, tandoori monkfish with masala gravy and raita or veal sweetbreads with pig's head cromesqui and sauerkraut. These are followed up by the likes of skate with brown butter and shrimps, seabass with chorizo, shellfish and haricot beans or Creedy Carver duck breast with pastilla and medjool date. Those with space left can enjoy a dessert such as a pear bakewell, twice-baked rhubarb souffle or a selection of French cheese. 

An extremely affordable set menu, however, will feature a similar style of dish. This might start with Keralan fish curry or pork rillettes with pickles and toast, before moving to hazelnut-crusted hake with watercress sauce or a blade of beef with mushroom and bacon. A set menu might then finish with a dark chocolate and lime cheesecake with raspberry icing, or an apple and blackberry parfait. 

The range of wines by the glass is impressive, and the range by the bottle even more so, both featuring careful global selections. Sparkling is available by the glass or bottle or in one of three Champagne cocktails, including a French 75 and kir royal. Other cocktails are on offer here too, including negronis, Brooklyns and even a black garlic bloody Mary. 


Does The Walnut Tree have vegetarian options?

Yes, there are vegetarian options.

Helpful? 0
Meet the team
The Walnut Tree

Shaun Hill

Chef Patron

A chef’s chef if ever there was one, Shaun Hill has chalked up nearly 50 years behind the stove. His most famous stint was at Ludlow’s Merchant House, where he won two stars cooking unaided in a cramped, low-tech kitchen, but he’s also run the kitchens of Gidleigh Park, The Gay Hussar and The Montagu Arms. These days he can be found cooking at The Walnut Tree, an iconic Abergavenny restaurant that was once run by legendary Italian restaurateur Franco Taruschio. It had fallen on hard times when Hill took it on in 2008, but the chef has restored the restaurant to its former glory, serving an unpretentious and eclectic menu.

The Walnut Tree is featured in


Llanddewi Skirrid, Abergavenny, Monmouthshire, NP7 8AW

01873 852797 01873 852797


Opening Times

Mon Closed
Tue 12:00-14:30
Wed 12:00-14:30
Thu 12:00-14:30
Fri 12:00-14:30
Sat 12:00-14:30
Sun Closed
Mon Closed
Tue 18:00-21:30
Wed 18:00-21:30
Thu 18:00-21:30
Fri 18:00-21:30
Sat 18:00-21:30
Sun Closed


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8 Reviews 


29 December 2022  
Food & Drink 5
Service 5
Atmosphere 5
Value 5

I have been a regular here since 1983. However, I have probably visited most often under thee stewardship of Shaun Hill. My late husband and I followed him around and since I have been travelling regularly to South Wales, it is always my first choice. The restaurant is not too formal, the service superb, the wine list varied and and intelligent and of course, last but not least, always sublime!


26 November 2022  
Food & Drink 5
Service 5
Atmosphere 5
Value 5

Probably my favourite in the whole of Wales. Excellent service and superb food, always. My late husband and I always followed Shaun Hill and I am delighted that he took over this estimed establishment.



Catherine M

24 April 2018  
Loved the tasting menu and flight of wines - especially the local Welsh wines.

James M

21 March 2018  
Stunning and original food and drink. Friendly prompt service. Great ambience. I'd travel a long way to get there.

Barry P

28 May 2017  
Classic Michelin-star fayre by Sean Hill in his perfect, but understated manner. No great twiddles or knobs - just good straightforward food and service.

Jenny L

25 February 2013  
Food & Drink 3.5
Service 3.5
Atmosphere 3.5
Value 4
Mountain food
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

Matthew S

02 October 2011  
Food & Drink 4.5
Service 4.5
Atmosphere 4.5
Value 4.5
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!!!

Fiona M

13 September 2011  
Food & Drink 4
Service 4.5
Atmosphere 4.5
Value 4
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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01873 852797 01873 852797

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