I knew Wales was a decent drive from my flat in South London, but I definitely hadn’t factored in a five and a half hour trek when I’d booked in to review Ynyshir in Machynlleth. But I can assure you it was worth every minute on the motorway for this staggeringly good meal, and I highly recommend you all make the pilgrimage too.
Ynyshir Restaurant and Rooms, used to be Ynyshir Rooms and Restaurant, but when the previous owner passed away Chef Gareth Ward (previously worked with Sat Bains and at Hambleton Hall) saw the opportunity to transform this beautiful venue into a culinary destination.
The restaurant, now the focus of the business, has been nicely redecorated in dark shades with minimalist furniture.
The motto at Ynyshir is “Ingredient Led. Flavour Driven. Fat Fuelled. Meat Obsessed”. It excited me enormously to read this bold statement, especially as the rest of the world seems to be going intolerence mad. Here in Wales they still like to cater for people who just really love food.
There are only tasting menus on offer – a nine course lunch for £55 per person or a nineteen course dinner for £110 per person. The menu champions local produce but also shows Gareth’s fascination with Japanese flavours and techniques. Even the simplest dishes are done to perfection at Ynyshir, a freshly baked 7-day proved sourdough bread was served as a course with cultured butter and Welsh Wagyu Dripping.
Gareth is a magician with meat, and these are the dishes that truly stood out. Wagyu Beef from the area features heavily, and every mouthful was heaven. A miniature Wagyu burger with sourdough mayo and pickled lettuce and a BBQ Shortrib of Wagyu beef with shitake mushrooms, puffed rice and sea lettuce. The kitchen is tiny, but the team use clever equipment to truly do justice to the produce from the region.
I also loved the two part lamb dish… Rib of mountain lamb with red onion and mint followed by Welsh lamb loin with kobucha, mint and lamb jus. The meat was beautiful and the contrasting Asian flavours cut through the richness perfectly.
I was happy to receive the tomato dish, a short break from the calorific courses of meat. Wonderfully prepared seasonal tomatoes from the Isle of Wight with a little crunch from sourdough croutons and a smokiness from the smoked oil.
The desserts kept coming… a simple blueberry dish, where the ingredient was prepared in three ways, a punchy palate-cleanser. Tiramisu was a work of art, deconstructed down to delicate little elements, and the kitchen’s take on STP (Sticky Toffee Pudding) was a saccarine sweet treat, even though there was only one mouthful of it!
Before we finished our meal I couldn’t resist asking to try the famous Wagyu Ynyshir beef fat fudge… it was very rich but absolutely delicious, and made me wonder why it’s not a fudge recipe that’s used more often.
Ynyshir are serious about their coffee too. We enjoyed a fragrant and fruity cup of drip coffee in the lounge after our meal.
Along with the restaurant there are 9 bedrooms at Ynyshir if you choose to stay. The main house has six traditional rooms that have a cosy and homely feel. In the garden there are three brand new rooms, which have amazing floor to ceiling windows offering views of the verdant surrounding gardens.
The surrounding area is beautiful, ideal for a long post-lunch walk, which you’ll need after indulging in Gareth’s rich and decadent food.
It feels like Ynyshir is on the brink of stardom. With four AA rosettes, a Michelin star and the number one spot for Wales in the recent Good Food Guide, there has never been a better time to book a trip to Machynlleth!
More information and book a table at Ynyshir here.