Ynyshir Restaurant & Rooms, Machynlleth, Wales

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 & Rooms

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.

Ynyshir Restaurant & RoomsYnyshir Restaurant & Rooms

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.

Ynyshir Restaurant & RoomsYnyshir Restaurant & Rooms

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.

Ynyshir Restaurant & Rooms

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.

Ynyshir Restaurant & RoomsYnyshir Restaurant & Rooms

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!

Ynyshir Restaurant & RoomsYnyshir Restaurant & Rooms

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 Restaurant & Rooms

Ynyshir are serious about their coffee too. We enjoyed a fragrant and fruity cup of drip coffee in the lounge after our meal.

Ynyshir Restaurant & Rooms

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.

Ynyshir Restaurant & Rooms

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.

Harbourmaster Hotel, Aberaeron, Wales

We visited Aberaeron in South Wales on a very grey and windy Friday in August. It seemed to be impossibly bad weather for the summer season in this charming seaside town so it was a great relief to arrive at the wonderfully bright and cheery lilac Harbourmaster Hotel.

Harbourmaster Hotel, Wales

The hotel reception is found within the lively bar and restaurant area. When we arrived late in the afternoon, the bar area was already buzzing with locals and those visiting the town for the weekend. There were delicious smells circulating and I could see generous plates of fresh fish and chips and hearty burgers.

Harbourmaster Hotel, WalesHarbourmaster Hotel, Wales

There are 13 rooms to choose from at Harbourmaster, ranging in price from £145 to £265. Some have a seaview whilst others overlook the town. We were staying in the Gambia Room, a spacious and light room on the first floor. The room was decorated simply with splashes of colour. Next to the bed was a vintage-style Roberts radio and there was a large TV/DVD player for bedtime watching. It was a wonderfully peaceful place to rest our heads and I slept blissfully through the night.

Harbourmaster Hotel, WalesHarbourmaster Hotel, Wales

This spacious warehouse room had all the necessary facilities including premium tea and coffee, deluxe gowns and slippers. The bathroom (arranged for disabled access) had a large walk in shower and Molton Brown toiletries. Though simple, every detail looked new and fresh.

HarbourmasterHarbourmaster Hotel, Wales

A breakfast buffet is served downstairs in the main restaurant dining area, but we chose to have a continental breakfast in the room. A tray arrived complete with French press coffee, fresh orange juice, flaky pastries and fruit salad. It was the perfect wake up call.

I felt so cosy and content at the Harbourmaster Hotel, a lovely little place to stay in the idyllic town of Aberaeron, an area of Wales which is beautiful come rain or shine.

More information and book a room at Harbourmaster Hotel here.

Mamilla Hotel, Jerusalem

Mamilla Hotel, JerusalemMamilla Hotel, Jerusalem

 The Mamilla Hotel is part of a group of five hotels (with other properties in London, Paris and Amsterdam). When I walked into the grand contemporary lobby I immediately felt that this hotel welcomes a large international crowd, and the sleek design would particularly appeal to younger, creative guests. The building has been designed by the Italian architect Piero Lissoni and carefully blends the the historic charm of the area with modern design and features. The name Mamilla means “I believe in God”.

There are 194 rooms in total which makes this hotel a good option for smaller group trips travelling to experience Jerusalem. It is also lovely for couples visiting Jerusalem for the weekend or families on holiday here. We were very at home in our lovely Executive bedroom, which was decorated in muted shades of beige and maroon and had simple but classy furniture. All the materials were natural and gave a sophisticated look to the room.

 The amazing Akasha spa is reason alone to visit the Mamilla Hotel. This huge retreat has won numerous awards and was named one of the top 9 spas in the world by Conde Nast. Along with a heated indoor pool and sundeck there is a computerised meditation room, 7 treatment rooms, a gym and spinning room. Yoga sessions and personal trainers are available to book and there is a wide variety of treatments to choose from. The spa gets busy with both hotel guests and locals who come to escape the hot busy city and enjoy a moment of calm.

The Mamilla Hotel provided the perfect home for our short stay in Jerusalem, a modern and luxurious contrast to the beautiful old city.

More information and book a stay at the Mamilla Hotel here.