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“Michelin starred but unpretentious” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of The Walnut Tree Inn

The Walnut Tree Inn
Ranked #4 of 99 Restaurants in Abergavenny
Certificate of Excellence
Cuisines: European, British, Welsh
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Romantic, Special occasions, Local cuisine, Business meetings
Dining options: Lunch, Late Night, Dinner, Full Bar, Outdoor Seating, Parking Available, Reservations, Seating, Serves Alcohol, Waitstaff, Wheelchair Accessible
Cheltenham, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
68 reviews
55 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 53 helpful votes
“Michelin starred but unpretentious”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 31, 2012

I took my wife on the Gourmet Weekend Break at the Angel, Abergavenny for her birthday recently....mainly because it included dinner at the Walnut Tree Inn which we'd been meaning to try for some time. And, boy, were we not disappointed! Firstly, our treatment at the hotel was great and we loved the fact that everything was inclusive....no weighing up whether or not to have a dessert or not....and they even left a bottle of Cava for us on arrival. We had a very pleasant dinner at the Angel on the Friday night and a perfectly nice breakfast the next morning; bed was HUGE....had trouble finding my wife in there! Very peaceful despite there being a big Airforce 'do' on that weekend.
On Saturday night we were picked up by taxi, which also collected us at the end of the evening,and taken to the Walnut Tree; all drinks, wine with food was included. The atmosphere was great....not stuffy at all, just very lively with efficient yet informal service. Much more my cup of tea than the usual Michelin-starred joints. And the food was....well....words fail me! I had a veal tail stew to start that was just sublime; unctuous, deep flavour.....served with amazing bread. I stuffed it all down despite feeling pretty full already (portions are generous, so be warned). In retrospect, I should have had something like my wife's exquisite seared scallops because I was then presented with the most enormous, yet mind-blowingly delicious Cassoulet that I just HAD to finish! Everything about it was just perfection; fabulous haricot beans, amazing sauce, beautiful smoked pork chunks....and, the crowning glory....a wonderful piece of goose breast that was meltingly tender yet with a superbly crispy skin! I was just blown away.....in more ways than one. Meanwhile my wife was struggling through a superb mallard dish that seemed to include the whole duck....not just the breasts as per usual. Tragically, I was so stuffed, I couldn't help her out in my usual selfless manner and both legs went begging! Maybe we should have asked for a doggy bag? Still, we managed to finish with Vino Santo and Roquefort followed by a lovely cafetiere of coffee before our cheery taxi driver came and whisked us back to the Angel. The whole trip wasn't cheap at £500+ but I thought it offered great value considering we had two nights dinner, bed, breakfast....the wonderful dinner at the Walnut Tree plus taxi door to door....all inclusive. It's out 25th next year and we are already talking about doing it again as we enjoyed it so much. We also adored the unstuffy pub-like atmosphere at the Walnut Tree; combined with food that bore comparison with Hibiscus and the Aubergine what was there not to like?? Can't recommend it highly enough. But starve yourselves before eating!

  • Visited October 2012
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
1 Thank slicvic13
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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889 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Any
English first
Level Contributor
23 reviews
8 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
“The best restaurant in Wales”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 12, 2012

Chef Shaun Hill has taken this restaurant from strength to strength. We have been visiting this restaurant since the 80 's when it was owned by Franco, we've seen it go down hill and with a lot of hard work (he is always in the kitchen cooking!) determination and above all fantastic cooking Shaun Hill has,in my opinion,created a truly GREAT restaurant.
Exquisitely fresh and seasonal produce combined with an excellent wine list and outstanding service make you want to return time and time again. Portions are fairly generous,with prices not sky high for the standard of cooking, carafes of wine are available for those who find it easier than buying bottles.
A relaxed and casual atmosphere but with an efficient and attentive service, the waiting staff leave you alone but are there instantly should you need them.
We've had too many excellent plates of food to recommend anything particular but being in Wales the lamb is always outstanding and a favourite. An experience that surpasses expectation every time.

  • Visited December 2012
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Sue S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cardiff, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
46 reviews
17 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
“Very Special”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 26, 2012

We were celebrating a major birthday and wanted somewhere memorable and we certainly got that. On a miserable, rainy day the place was pretty much fully booked for lunch so there was a nice atmosphere. I think I had the good luck of ordering the nicest thing at each course but yes the food was fab, full of flavour with imaginatively put together flavours. The service was friendly and really professional - no intimidating sommelier in sight.

Most importantly my mother is a lifetime diabetic and struggles with dessert in most restaurants. In some really nice places she's been stuck with the fruit plate but not at the Walnut Tree. The chef had prepared 2 options for her and the rice pudding with grilled apricots and pistachios she picked was eaten with much gusto. Kindly the other option they prepared (a fruit tart of some kind) was sliced up and given to her with coffee so she had a chance to try everything they'd prepared for her. A nice touch I thought.

  • Visited November 2012
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
Thank Claire T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
33 reviews
17 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
“Very attentive service”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 17, 2012 via mobile

We have just eaten at the walnut tree inn, the service was excellent, attentive but not intrusive. Appetisers and starters were lovely. Boyfriend loved his main which was the duck. However my main (as a veggie) was a little disappointing, not that the mushroom risotto was bad, quite the opposite but mushroom risotto is just far too common as a vegetarian option and frankly it's boring for me to have to eat it again. Great dessert, overall lovely night. Would recommend.

    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
Thank GailC78
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
wales 99
Level Contributor
72 reviews
39 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 53 helpful votes
“a balotelli moment”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 16, 2012

Lovers of the beautiful game will be familiar with the balotelli t shirt- "why always me?". I felt that after my visit to the walnut tree.

Having taken my wife to one of our favourites for our silver wedding anniversary ( tyddyn llan, llandrillo), and having been very disappointed, I sought to retrieve the position by taking to her to a stalwart of fine cooking, and a long standing favourite, the walnut tree. Sadly, I was let down again, leading to my balotelli moment.

It was a quiet evening, with only 3 tables. Service was efficient and friendly, as ever. But the quality of the cooking was very patchy, and what appeared on the plate was rarely what was described on the menu; descriptions were incomplete, and even after checking that there would be no surprises, we kept on getting flavours on the plate that we did not want, and would not have ordered had the descriptions been more accurate. Comments from the family that "we chose the wrong thing" were an excuse for the restaurant not having served the right thing.

Disappointments included a pumpkin starter that was so sugary that it was felt that it would have been better served as a dessert. Despite our critical comments, we were charged in full nevertheless. Mains and desserts were patchy, with some great, but some very disappointing.

We are struggling this autumn to find establishments that are on top of their game. Perhaps we will revert to the foxhunter in nant y deri, or the hardwick closeby, which have not ( at least to date) disappointed.

  • Visited November 2012
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
Thank welsh73
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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