We're driving through heavy rain to get to Ynyshir, I'd forgotten what time our dinner booking was and we're stuck behind a painfully slow moving tanker round narrow winding Welsh roads. Why does this always happen when you're in a hurry? Three long laborious hours later, (from Llandudno too) we finally arrive and manage to move our reservation back half an hour while we check into our room (less than 30 seconds from the main building). The room is absolutely stunning, in a separate block from the hotel and a bathroom that's bigger than our whole ground floor at home. Some accommodation is dog friendly too so we settle our two down in the hall and have a pre-dinner gin and tonic for her and an Orval for me. (A great
beer choice from Ynyshir there). We're here for Mrs Bacon's big birthday, we couldn't think of anywhere in Britain we'd prefer to celebrate.
After drinks in the room and finally
deciding on the wine after several Goldilocks style tastings, we settle down to Menu 1 of two which is slightly more fish heavy although Gareth sends a few meaty extras out as we know each other from previous visits and me working on photos for them last year. This man is an legend as far as we're concerned, we're welcomed back like members of the family by him and the whole team.
I don't intend to take photos as recently on various jobs I'm taking and processing about 1000 photos a week but I can't resist whilst the light holds out.
Let's get straight into the taster menu....
Not French Onion Soup. A strong start for this classic, even better than I remembered.
Aylesbury Duck from Fishguard.
Bread Miso Cultured
Butter, Welsh Wagyu Dripping.
The bread is amazing, some of the best we've had. I love the black crust.
Mackerel Fermented Raspberry, British
Wasabi. This was insane but it works. I've recently been reading about proper Wasabi, that green paste you get with your sushi is not actually wasabi but horseradish. I think they say that this is the only real wasabi grown in the UK.
Pork Belly. (Photos below)
. This is absolutely stunning. We can't remember ever having better. The meat dishes are the strongest for us.
I can't quite detect the delicate flavour of the fish on a couple of these dishes but that's a reflection of where my own tastes are, for me simpler is better especially with fish, letting the product shine. But what you 're getting here is Gareth's unique idiosyncratic vision and kitchen alchemy. Each dish seems to have an insane amount of work and technique put into it. On the meat dishes especially it's all to one aim, to push those flavours up to eleven.
Cucumber Duck Liver Baked Potato - Eel.
Welsh Wagyu (aged from 05/1 2/17) British Wasabi - Fermented lettuce.
The mini Welsh Wagyu burger was wonderful. I've eaten this before but this was even better, the ultimate gourmet burger ever for me, the flavours are all there and so strong. I'm transported back to a first childhood taste of burger.
We ask for a few desserts together as we're starting to tire now but it's all so good.
Tunworth Cauliflower Cheese (Optional).
'Bread No.2 Raspberry Jam.
64% Manjari Shiitake.
Blueberries & Custard.
Miso Treacle Tart.
Welsh Wagyu Fudge.
It was a superb taster menu and evening.....
Breakfast next day was excellent too. See photo below.
Recently I read an article that mentioned Ynyshir as the best value Michelin starred in the UK, I'd concur with that. It's all about the amount of courses you get (absolutely loads) and the price (great value). We loved our stay and the meal was even better than our last visit, next level stuff. Gareth and the whole team put absolutely everything into Ynyshir and it shows. This kitchen is working on a two star level in my opinion. I think you'd struggle to find better in Britain.
Our weekend for two cost us £652 including dinner, wine and hotel room. It was for after all a very special occasion.