TWO Mid Wales restaurants have been named in the best 100 in the UK.

Ynyshir and Gwen, both located around Machynlleth and run by renowned chef Gareth Ward, make the list, compiled by respected restaurant, bar and venue review website SquareMeal.

Ynyshir’s prowess speaks for itself, as the restaurant, which has two Michelin stars, takes the No2 spot in the list.

It is beaten to the top spot by Pine in Northumberland – a restaurant that was formerly a cow barn. Gwen, meanwhile, came in 36th.

SquareMeal says of Ynyshir (located in Eglwys Fach, SY20 8TA, just over the Powys border into Ceredigion): “Ynyshir’s stunning Snowdonia location and manicured grounds have long been an attraction, but Gareth Ward’s incredible cooking is the real star.


“Ward brings lots of Japanese influence and a focus on fat and flavour to his food, resulting in one of the UK’s most unique, unmissable restaurants.

“For all that has been written about this idiosyncratic groundbreaker, there’s not much that prepares you for your first visit to Ynyshir. Ward’s cooking is famously uncompromising, advocating complete dedication to Ward’s cultish cooking mantra – ‘Ingredient-led, flavour-driven, fat-fuelled and meat-obsessed.’

“Unconventional and uncompromising, Ynyshir exhibits the signs of true genius. Ward’s restaurant is unconcerned with passing trends and fads, and in being so, it may well come to blaze a trail for a new generation. This is a restaurant not to be missed.”

Five miles away and in Machynlleth itself sits Gwen (Heol Maengwyn, Machynlleth, SY20 8EB), an intimate dining experience accommodating just eight guests at a time.

“Gwen is an intimate, fine dining restaurant owned by Ynyshir chef patron Gareth Ward,” says SquareMeal.

“The restaurant seats just eight guests at a time, with two tables of four set up right in front of the kitchen pass, putting guests right at the heart of the action.

“Head chef Corrin Harrison was an integral part of the team that won two Michelin stars at Ynyshir. At Gwen he cooks a ten-course tasting menu that is built around the use of a charcoal grill, which is also a centrepiece of the restaurant.

“Gwen also uses the same suppliers and quality as Ynyshir, including meat aged in Ynyshir's salt chambers and produce grown in the kitchen garden.

“The menu doesn't give much away so there's an element of mystery about each dish as it arrives, but example dishes include an eel chawanmushi (a Japanese savoury egg custard) with broccoli, a quail curry, barbecued pork with jalapeno hot sauce, Brazilian Yellow Bourbon coffee with orange and olive oil, and sourdough ice cream.”

Of the top 100 itself, SquareMeal says: “We say it every year, but this year truly must have presented the highest calibre of restaurants yet.

“Whittling down the UK’s burgeoning dining scene into just 100 top spots was an excruciating job that took months of planning and deliberation.”