Set in the countryside, two miles east of Abergavenny, you’ll find one of Wales’ top destination restaurants. Re-opened in 2007 under Chef Shaun Hill, The Walnut Tree Inn seats about 70 (so can get a little loud on a busy night), but it is certainly one of the most relaxed and unpretentious Michelin restaurants I have experienced.
This was actually my second trek, I say trek as it’s an 80 mile round trip out to the Walnut Tree, with the last being back in 2009 – and it hasn’t changed. Aside from the food, I love this restaurant purely for the ‘local’ feel that you get when you walk in. It has a warm and homely atmosphere, where you are made to feel truly welcome – note to self though don’t put your coat in the cloakroom *you will need it!
Offering an à la carte menu and set lunch menu, which changes on a daily basis – being an evening visit I select off of the à la carte. With starters ranging from £8 to £16 and main courses from £15 – £29, there is a good choice of dishes and to be fair based on dish descriptions alone, I would have been happy with anything on the menu.
A tasty and meaty wood pigeon with pheasant boudin and king oyster mushroom kicks off the meal. Beautifully presented and while largely based on classic cooking there is a clear influence from the rest of the world as it is accompanied by a smooth, lightly spiced creamy curry sauce.
The main course of wild duck with pastilla and medjool dates is tender and the dates are soft and rich with a honey flavour, both are perfectly cooked and a great marriage of ingredients. With generous portion sizes, it truly is food that manages to combine heartiness and finesse with culinary star quality.
However after two courses, I feel pretty full so opt for the ‘liquid’ dessert option in the form of an Espresso Martini! Hands down if awards were being given out for the Best Espresso Martini of 2016, The Walnut Tree Inn would be a contender for the top spot! A short and sharp pick me up – it is indulgent, rich and creamy and the perfect end to a perfect meal.
*oops forgot my own note…the coat. The one downside – the toilets are in an out building – and while they are very nice toilets, November in Wales is not known for it’s tropical temperatures and after being quietly content in a warm restaurant…well…brrrrrr!
- Considering the restaurant holds one of Wales’ seven Michelin Stars, it is unpretentious and the ambience is relaxed with excellent customer service.
- The menus change daily, and I love the variety and the uniqueness of some of the dishes available.
- Aside from its Michelin Star, it boasts 3 Rosettes from the AA and a notable wine list. It has also previously been named as Wales’ Best Restaurant in the National Restaurant Awards.
Would I go again?
Most definitely, but this is one for a special occasion. Eight years between visits may be a little excessive though so it will be going back on my ‘to visit soon’ list. Although with 3 out of the 7 stars ticked in Wales now, I may need to take a few trips further afield first…hmm now where’s that lottery win?
Would I recommend The Walnut Tree Inn?
Oh yes…get your sat nav out and take a trip out into the beautiful countryside of Abergavenny, to discover a superb culinary experience.
Address | Llanddewi Skirrid, Abergavenny, Monmouthshire, Wales, NP7 8AW
Web | www.thewalnuttreeinn.com