Picturesque pub outside of Abergavenny serving traditional food
The Walnut Tree Inn is a secluded, Michelin starred pub in South East Wales and as a result is exceptionally busy on Fridays and Saturdays where it becomes the hive for many surrounding folk. As I was on my own for this ‘drive-by’ I was afforded a seat in the bar area for dinner as this is their reserve area for stragglers like me, so I was lucky to get the seat on the Fri evening having booked on the morning(!). When I got there I was genuinely impressed with the drive of the team and was evident to me that they were not concerned with the fanfare of having a Michelin star, but motivated more by working together to create a fun atmosphere and pleased to be serving the products they do. Simple things done well here and would like another go whenever I can.
On to the products then, the greeting snack of perfectly done sausage roll was a lovely opening and just what the doctor ordered. I thought the duck liver parfait was one of the nicest I had ever had with a clever format for the brioche in its layered but grilled presentation (making it a lot easier to eat than most) and the outstanding dressing to go with the borage and pansy flower salad on the side. This dressing turned out to be sweet mustard and olive oil with finely chopped parsley and is officially the nicest dressing I have ever had and will be used forthwith when cooking at home. The salt from this, combined with the sweet from the fig with the utterly smooth and flavoursome parfait, made this an absolutely superb starter – a real hit.
I was also tempted to go for the special starter of steak tartare however, this turned out to be less of a joy to the parfait as the flavour was quite subtle. No problems with the texture of the tartare, especially with the home cooked chips but it simply wasn’t on a par with those that I have had at say, Bonhams, Chiltern Firehouse, Brasserie Chavot or Berner’s Tavern for example. The anchovy and garlic potato dauphines on the other hand were a solid gold pleasure – so light with beautifully soft mash, but perfectly strong enough in garlic and anchovy tones. Finally, the peanut parfait and chocolate dessert was great but I thought the chocolate was a bit heavy so I found I didn’t need such a thick slice of it, but the flavour combo of it all with the drums of banana and well done peanut and tofee crisps (which did not stick to every corner of the mouth as many do) were very good.
All in all, I found this a lovely meal, served by those who seemed very focussed. It is clearly one of the best options to go for in the vicinity of SE Wales and I’m pleased I made the journey.
Food Grade: 76%
Location (Click google logo for directions)