‘Explosive’ Ceredigion restaurant crowned best in the UK – the first time the award has left England
The Ceredigion restaurant of Ynyshir has been named the best in the UK, with judges praising the “explosive” cooking on offer.
It’s the first time in the award’s 16-year history that a restaurant outside England has topped the list at the prestigious Estrella Damm National Restaurant Awards.
The restaurant run by chef Gareth Ward is on the outskirts of the village of Eglwysfach, Machynlleth near the Ceredigion and Powys border.
Most of the restaurants included on the list – 60% – are located in London, including seven of the top 10. Ynyshir is the only one in Wales that made the top 100.
Ynyshir became Wales’s first ever two-Michelin-starred restaurant earlier this year, having held one Michelin star for the previous eight.
“Surrounded by rhododendron bushes and undulating yet carefully trimmed lawns, Ynyshir looks like a typical country house hotel,” the judges said.
“But all is not quite as it seems at this remote property, located just south of Snowdonia National Park on the western edge of mid-Wales.
“Those that venture inside will find a massive chef cooking a multi-course tasting menu of uncompromisingly edgy, Asian-influenced food. That chef is Gareth Ward, a protégé of the Nottinghamshire-based Sat Bains.
“Run by Ward’s partner Amelia Eriksson, the small dining room is stripped back and a little Scandi in feel with a fully-open kitchen where diners can watch the casually clad brigade at work (Ward often rocks a pair of denim cut-offs).
“The food itself is described as ‘ingredient led, flavour driven, fat fuelled and meat obsessed’. This is an entirely accurate description, but one that doesn’t quite do justice to Ward’s explosive cooking.
“His approach is strikingly different to the norm – a peculiar but effective marriage of top-quality produce, Asian flavours and unusual technique served in a succession of tiny bites.
“There are a number of ways to experience Ynyshir, either in the dining room or in its concrete-topped counter dining experience Ffwrnais Kitchen.
“Named after the village and the furnace that once produced the area’s electricity, and smelted iron ore, diners have two chefs looking after them who will talk them through each dish and let them touch the ingredients.
“There’s also the more intimate Pass Bench for two people in the centre of the kitchen where you get to chat to Ward himself as he works his magic.”
The Top 20
1. Ynyshir, Powys
2. Moor Hall, Aughton
3. Brat, London
4. The Ritz, London
5. BiBi, London
6. The Ledbury, London
7. A Wong, London
8. Core by Clare Smyth, London
9. Ikoyi, London10. L’Enclume, Cartmel
11. Manteca, London
12. The Angel at Hetton, Hetton
13. Fallow, London
14. House of Tides, Newcastle
15. Sabor, London
16. Perilla, London
17. The Fordwich Arms, Fordwich
18. Da Terra, London
19. Kiln, London
20. Kol, London
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