The Crown at Whitebrook
When did you last get away from it all and experience a feast for the senses by fine-tuning your tired taste-buds? For an unforgettable evening - or an overnight stay - how about treating yourself to the best of modern Welsh cuisine?
My recent escape to the wonderful Wye Valley included a visit to The Crown at Whitebrook. It recently regained a Michelin star, thanks to the vision of brand new headchef Chris Harrod, who trained under Raymond Blanc. This cosy and welcoming restaurant with rooms has been attracting fine diners for decades. But don’t be put off by its plush pedigree - there’s no room here for food snobbery.
What you’ll find, to your delight, is fine dining demystified. Since Harrod took the helm in 2013, he’s crafted the perfect escape, with an emphasis on bringing the flavours of the valley directly onto the plate. The remarkable, reasonably-priced tasting menu offers tantalising, seasonal fare, blending comforting food memories with mindblowing new tastes, and a ravishing rush to the head.
From the subtle sweet taste of the munchkin pumpkin gnocchi, to the tang of horseradish-garnished Cornish crab, the sevencourse meal began with a bang, reminiscent of a fiery first kiss. It slowly but surely intensified and was matched with some excellent wine pairings. Sommelier and general manager Andy Stoneley was a most genial host and answered all curious queries with glee.
A knockout Cornish brill dish followed the creamy Golden Cenarth dumpling - both enhanced by locally foraged produce, including woodland sorrell and scurvy grass. The valley venison - dressed with walnut and Brussel leaves - was a highlight indeed, only topped by a perfectly presented violet parfait that recalled the pleasures of childhood sweets.
An arresting aerated raspberry mousse brought the symphony of local flavours to a smashing close. Playful, accessible, even friendly haute cuisine that makes each diner feel like a king or a queen? The Crown at Whitebrook leaves a lasting impression befitting of the name Michelin.
The Crown At Whitebrook
Monmouthshire NP25 4TX
Tel: 01600 860254