[Llandewi Skirrid, nr Abergavenny ] The Walnut Tree

20 years, almost to the day, since I was last here. Boy oh boy does that make me feel old…and oddly they didn’t remember me…
Nevertheless we received a hearty welcome at this unstuffiest of 1 * places.
No faffing with the food either.
One 'amuse while you choose '( my naff rhyming,. not theirs ) a little pork croquette with piccalilli sauce - very scoffable.

Starters were probably the most consistent courses. Monkfish with ginger, chili and tomato was crashingly great. My dill with oyster sauce and a smidge of caviar was a thing of beauty - subtle, spot on and had me wishing I had saved some bread to mop up the remains of the sauce.

Mains were mixed but still solid. Pork three ways ( loin, cheek and a little bolognesey bit ) with cauliflower was just delicious while duck was robust but a bit rich for my better halfs preference esp as all of the veggie side dishes had some sort of cheese involved.

Puds included a white chocolate and caramel fondant with apple sorbet - very warm and gooey and rich, neatly headed off by the sharpish apple sorbet…and a lemon meringue pie which had had a bit of the deconstructionist about it, & which we were thus less keen on.

Overall, a lovely relaxed vibe for food of this quality. Staff almost universally chatty and helpful.

Still recommended and back on the list for another visit in 2039 :nerd_face:


We were there in 2011. I’m a big fan of Shaun Hill - we ate at his previous place in Ludlow on what was, I think, our first experience of Modern British “fine dining”. And I bet Shaun hates that phrase as much as I do! Apple sorbet? Count me in, please

By the by, we did the Hardwick at Abergavenny the next night. That was good - not as good, but still good.

Way back in 99 it was probably my first ‘posh’ meal anywhere other than the Portmeirion hotel, back before they let Conran redesign/redecorate ( and thus neutralise ) the dining room there.

Seem to recall feeling quite nervous going there, but enjoying it then as I did now.
For some reason I remember it being more Italian influenced back then, but that may just be because its called the Walnut Tree and I have a friend with a Sicilian dad who goes by the name of Noce …time & tricks and all !

Back then , the chef/owner will have been Franco Taruschio. I have it in mind that he retired in the early 2000s. The new owners screwed things up and I’m sure Gordon Ramsay did one of his Kitchen Nightmares on it. Clearly it still didnt improve as it was back on the market quite quickly for Hill to buy.

A hint of Ramsay here

Ooh eck :slightly_smiling_face:

Ooh eck, indeed.

Kitchen Nightmares also did a place in Ambleside. We went for lunch some months after the programme. It was very mediocre.