Gareth Ward at Ynyshir

Ynyshir is a Michelin star, 5 AA* rosette restaurant and rooms in Wales.  Chef Owner, Gareth Ward, is the Good Food Guide’s Chef of the Year 2019 and regularly cited as one of the most exciting chefs in the country.

Gareth Ward’s philosophy is ‘Ingredient Led, Flavour Driven, Fat Fuelled, Meat Obsessed’. Ynyshir is all about great food, great music and amazing drinks. Ward describes it as: ‘fun dine’ rather than ‘fine dine’.Ward is passionate about using the best British ingredients to create dining experiences rather than just a meal – he aims to ‘smash you in the face with flavour!’ whilst listening to all of his favourite albums on record. He doesn’t adhere to traditional culinary rules with every small dish taking you on a journey of flavours, textures and ingredients. 

Chef Gareth Ward is passionate about using the best ingredients including local meat, foraged herbs and berries - for example tapping all the birch in their grounds to make syrup or the whole team taking a day out to harest and preserve wild garlic for the year ahead. He is also known for his use of Japanese techniques and ingredients like miso, dashi, mirin and soy which enable him to get as much flavour as possible out of the other ingredients while keeping the dishes light. Ward is renowned for his dedication to ageing meat to improve its flavour and texture and Ynyshir is the first restaurant in the UK to have a fully-wrap around Himalayan Salt Chamber.

Tucked away between the golden sands of Borth Beach and the rugged mountains of Snowdonia National Park in Wales, Ynyshir’s location makes it the perfect remote escape for food lovers looking for a completely unique culinary experience. The dining experience takes guests on a creative journey through Wales and the British Isles, surprising and delighting their taste buds with every dish.

The Sun Inn, Dedham

In the heart of Constable Country on the Essex Suffolk border, The Sun Inn has been a watering hole for villagers and resting post for travellers for centuries. These days, it offers a convivial welcome to locals and visitors to Dedham Vale. The Sun Inn is an ideal spot to revive yourself with a pint of craft beer, an Italian-inspired meal, a tasty bar snack, or a good night’s sleep. Independently owned and run since 2003 by Piers Baker, this year The Sun Inn celebrated its 15th anniversary in 2018.

The Sun Inn is a proper coaching inn with an elm bar, an open beamed dining room, oak floors, a snug oak-panelled lounge. You will find open fires to keep warm by in the winter, and a peaceful garden and terrace to enjoy in the summer. After a major refurbishment in January 2018, there are bold colours, rich fabrics and bespoke furniture. The mood is congenial, relaxed and family-friendly, with jazz and Latin American background music adding to the appeal. There are newspapers to read, board games to play, and the panelled lounge has deep sofas to sink into.

The Sun Inn is renowned for fabulous seasonal food, inspired by Italy. Head Chef Jack Levine creates robust dishes that are big on flavour. The menu changes monthly and features classic pasta and risotto dishes: crab ravioli; squid with chilli and garlic; as well as more hearty main courses including game in season, rare-breed meat and day-boat landed fish. The menu always offers three cuts of British rare-breed steaks to suit every wallet – skirt, sirloin and prime bone-in-rib and on Sunday’s there’s a generous roast with seasonal changing accompaniments.

Puddings also have an Italian twist such as Espresso Semifreddo, Burnt Meringue, Caramel, Hazelnuts and feature seasonal fruit like Blood Orange Chocolate Mousse.

A new bar menu launched in January for this seeking something more casual to snack on in the characterful bar or the comfortable and cosy lounge. Enjoy a Coronation Sutton Hoo Chicken Sandwich, steamed mussels with Aspall cider or a charcuterie platter to share with friends or indulge in Jack’s Snack based on chef Jack’s midnight fridge raid.

Head Chef, Jack Levine says ‘Cooking with the seasons is very important to us - everything tastes better in its natural season and gets to us quicker so it’s fresher. Our area has a long tradition and perfect climate for growing fruit like apples and raspberries which arrive in our kitchen on the day they are picked. It almost goes without saying that we source produce locally when we can, but first and foremost ingredients have to taste great, if it doesn’t we look further afield.”

Drinks are just as important as the food and are sourced from producers who are as passionate about what they do - ales from Crouch Vale Brewery or Adnams and an eclectic award winning wine list brimming with rare treats.

Seven beautiful en-suite bedrooms, all individually decorated with sumptuous beds and luxurious linen retain their centuries-old character and are a perfect place to unwind. Rooms at the front overlook the beautiful church while those at the back enjoy views over the garden. Breakfast (which is also available to non-residents) includes the classics smoked salmon and scrambled eggs and a fry-up with local sausages and bacon as well as more unusual spinach and mushroom omelette with smoked cheese.

The village of Dedham and the countryside around it has changed little since it was immortalised by John Constable in the 18th century, yet it’s under two hours drive from London. Opposite the striking St Mary’s Church, visitors can explore the pretty village with its patchwork of colourful houses, or borrow bikes, hire a boat to explore the Stour Valley or take a gentle stroll to Flatford Mill.

Le Café du Marché, London

Renowned as an atmospheric and convivial French restaurant, Le Café du Marché has been open for three decades and is still family-run. Tucked away down a cobbled mews in historic Smithfield, it is one of the oldest restaurants in the area. Downstairs a characterful restaurant serves authentic French cuisine, while upstairs is a unique private dining room - perfect for parties, dinners, corporate events and wedding celebrations.

The regularly changing à la carte menu uses the best fresh and seasonal ingredients, features daily specials and ever popular dishes such as la cote de boeuf with sauce béarnaise; braised beef bourguignon and celeriac puree; mousse au chocolat and classic French cheese and wine.

The ground floor restaurant saw extensive renovation during 2017 to open up the previously separate café. The space retains the bare brick walls and beams of this former warehouse and coach house for neighbouring Charterhouse. The atmosphere is that of a traditional French brasserie, with live jazz in the evenings. In the summer tables spill out onto the pavement.

The high-ceilinged first-floor private dining room, Le Grenier “the attic”, has large windows and characterful oak panelling, creating a light and rustic French atmosphere in the centre of London. The room is self-contained with its own entrance, bar, toilets, and kitchen. The light and airy space seats up to 62 people for lunch or dinner and up to 120 for canapés but is also cosy enough to suit smaller groups too.

Downstairs, Le Rendezvous seats up to 35 and benefits from the background live jazz that plays in the main restaurant. The whole restaurant can be hired for parties of 150 to 300 people.

Church Street Tavern, Essex

Church Street Tavern is a chic and contemporary bar and restaurant in the centre of Colchester that prides itself on being a local hub - a place to chat over an afterwork cocktail or a morning coffee to celebrate with friends over dinner or gather wit family for Sunday roast. Church Street Tavern is consistently rated one of the best places to eat in Colchester and is the only restaurant in town with a Michelin Plate, and two AA Rosettes.

“A handsome, big-boned townhouse just off the main shopping drag which combines the warmth and hospitality of the traditional tavern with serious cooking..” Tracey MacLeod, The Independent

Refreshingly when high streets are dominated by chains, Church Street Tavern is independently owned by Piers Baker, who also owns The Sun Inn, Dedham. Baker has lovingly restored in grand Victorian savings bank, bringing it up-to-date without losing any of its delightful character. Step inside and you'll discover an elegant interior, rustic oak wooden flooring and an assortment of comfortable upholstered seating as well as wonderful artwork from Essex artist, Philippa Dow.

Baker says: “Taverns are a rich part of our heritage - a place to meet and do business. We wanted to create a Tavern for the 21st century - a place to meet, have fun, enjoy good food and drink and be well looked after.”

The downstairs bar is a casual affair with sofas and stools, café tables and counters. The bar menu, served downstairs and upstairs on weekday lunchtimes, stars rare-breed burgers, a seasonal salad and a regular pasta dish.

Upstairs the light-filled dining room is a perfect place for a business lunch or gathering with family and friends. The lunch and dinner menu features an unusual selection of lighter including steamed mussels, Caeser salad and more substantial dishes like Highfield’s Farm Duck Breast and steak aged for a minimum of 45 days and from rare breed animals. Vegetarians will enjoy dishes like Roast Crown Squash, Mushroom Orzo, Kale andChestnut Pesto - a vegan menu is available. Jannsson’s Temptation, a classic Swedish potato dish, is a popular alternative to fries. Sunday roasts are flavourful and generous.

Menus change monthly with the seasons and where possible meat, fish and vegetables are all sourced locally, including Sutton Hoo Chicken, rare-breed beef and fish from Mersea day boats.

To wash it down, there is a cracking selection of beers and ciders (both bottled and draft) and premium spirits. There is an exceptional and extensive wine list chosen for their distinct flavour, and made with respect for the vine as well as the environment. The eclectic cocktails list features classics, created and mixed with care.

Andrew Sheridan at Sosban

Andrew Sheridan is an up and coming chef who represented Wales on Great British Menu in 2018 and was branded ‘the maverick chef’ for his unconventional approach. He scored a couple of 10s from Paul Ainsworth and the other judges.

Sosban is housed in striking Victorian Pumphouse close to the sea at Llanelli. Since he arrived in autumn last year, he’s transformed the food leading on tasting menus which play with intriguing flavours, textures and temperatures.

Sosban is one of the most exciting restaurants in Wales. Andrew and his team create menus that connect diners with each dish either through memories, taste or seasons. Andrew cooks with flair and imagination, combining bold flavours with intriguing textures and temperatures to create a memorable experience all served in a relaxed environment.

Andrew believes that each dish should tell a story - torched mackerel for example, is reminiscent of barbecuing fresh fish on the beach. He says “My philosophy is simple: I use the best possible ingredients to create dishes that emphasise seasonal flavours and excite the palate. Whether that is the freshest seafood, seasonal fruit and vegetables or the best quality meat, every item on the menu is meticulously sourced and each plate is designed to intrigue and excite our diners.”

Sosban is becoming renowned for its four- and seven-course tasting menus (with vegetarian versions). The menu features some of Andrew’s signature dishes such as Cod Five Ways, cabbage puree, salt and vinegar chips; and Pembrokeshire Goat, torched cucumber, caramelised goats cheese and wild garlic and his elevated apple rice-pudding made famous when it scored 10 points from judges on the Great British Menu.