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AA Notable Wine List 2017-18
AA rating

About this rating

Restaurants are awarded from 1 to 5 Rosettes for culinary excellence. One Rosette restaurants are highly recommended in a local area and five Rosettes have reached the pinnacle of culinary excellence at a world class level.

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Blissfully unfussy and focused cooking by a culinary mastermind

AA Inspector

At a glance

Private dining
Wines by the glass
Wheelchair access

The Walnut Tree Inn has been on the gastronomic map one way or another since the 1960s. Ensconced amid rolling fields in rural Monmouthshire, a couple of miles to the northeast of Abergavenny, the Walnut Tree is today the preserve of Shaun Hill, one of Britain's principal movers and shakers of the last 30 years. With productive stints at Devon's Gidleigh Park and the Merchant House in Ludlow on his CV, Hill has also been one of the country's great culinary thinkers, a regular contributor to the Oxford Symposium on Food and Cookery, and author of some of the more thoughtful chef's cookbooks of recent years. With its whitewashed frontage and potted topiary, the inn looks every inch the rural retreat, its cluster of cottages for guests a covetable addition to the overall appeal. The dining area is done in unpretentious country style, with bare tables simply laid up, sprays of foliage, and some striking artworks for sale. Shaun Hill has always taken an eclectic approach, anticipating the current global tendency in British cooking by a generation. He cooks what he himself likes to eat, in a resourceful style that is unified by the core of excellent ingredients on which the kitchen calls. Menus are composed in best bistro style, neither overwritten nor determined to leave you guessing in the modern manner. A twice-baked Lancashire cheese soufflé with beetroot will be just that, its airy richness cut by the rooty sweetness of the vegetable, or you may opt to start with a perfectly timed serving of veal sweetbreads, gently seared, with sharper notes from sauerkraut and capers, in a deeply flavoured jus. A bracing taste of the distant sea is offered by a main course of Cornish sole topped with mussels and samphire for a truly salty hit, the whole sauced silkily with vermouth, the accompaniments of creamy mash and green beans is all the dish needs to complete it. Main meat courses have taken in a robust partnership of Middle White pork loin, goose charlotte and morteau sausage, as well as venison loin and hash with lingonberries. For vegetarians, there could be roast hispi cabbage with mushrooms, pine nuts and parmesan. At the close, there's textbook biscuit-based vanilla cheesecake with segments of blood-orange and toffee popcorn to enjoy, as well as the all but irresistible house speciality, somloi, a carefully researched Hungarian trifle of apricots, walnuts and rum, not to mention a clutch of glorious French cheeses.

Opening hours

  • Closed: 1 week at Christmas
  • Days closed: Sunday and Monday
  • Lunch served from: 12
  • Lunch served until: 2.30
  • Dinner served from: 7
  • Dinner served until: 10

Chef

  • Chef(s): Shaun Hill

Food and drink

  • Cuisine style: Traditional British
  • Vegetarian dishes available
  • Wines under £30: 40
  • Wines over £30: 50
  • Wines by the glass: 8

Price guide

  • Starter from: £9
  • Main course from: £18
  • Dessert from: £9
  • 2-course lunch from: £25
  • 3-course lunch from: £30
  • Credit cards accepted

Accessibility

  • Wheelchair accessible
  • Steps for wheelchair: 1
  • Accessible toilets
  • Assist dogs welcome

Additional information

  • Seats: 70
  • Private dining available
  • Private dining seats: 26
  • On-site parking available

Getting here

3 miles northeast of Abergavenny on B4521.

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Nearest train station

Abergavenny
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Three-course lunch from£30**Minimum price for a 3-course lunch *Minimum price for a 3-course lunch
*Minimum price for a 3-course lunch
*Minimum price for a 3-course lunch
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