Page last updated at 17:10 GMT, Monday, 18 January 2010

Four Welsh restaurants bask in Michelin star glory

Ynyshir Hall Hotel
Ynyshir Hall Hotel was last awarded a Michelin star in 2006

The Michelin Guide has dished out the most number of stars for culinary excellence in Wales since 2003.

Three newcomers have joined The Crown at Whitebrook in Monmouth, which was the only place recognised last year.

The Walnut Tree near Abergavenny, which recently reopened after closing in 2007, wins back its honour along with Ynyshir Hall near Machynlleth.

Meanwhile, Tyddyn Llan at Llandrillo, Denbighshire, is a first time recipient of the coveted award.

In last year's Michelin Guide, the only restaurant in Wales with a star was The Crown at Whitebrook. The last time the country had just one star was back in 1995.

The guide said the recession took its toll on businesses last year, but those who had reacted by being more flexible and creative appeared to be "riding the storm".

Bryan Webb
Bryan Webb, who runs the Tyddyn Llan with his wife Susan

Bryan Webb runs Tyddyn Llan with his wife Susan.

He said: "I'm totally delighted to have won a Michelin star - it was completely unexpected after the other recent successes - you imagine you cannot have it all."

'Excellent chef'

Ynyshir Hall Hotel at Eglwys Fach in Ceredigion has regained a star it lost in 2006.

General manager Joan Reen explained what went into winning a Michelin star.

"It's a combination of things. You've got to be hard working and have an excellent chef," she said.

"It's such hard work and every single day.

The Walnut Tree Inn restaurant
The Walnut Tree has been a critical favourite for nearly 50 years

"The Michelin Guide comes out and checks us. The judges are anonymous and visit us up to five times a year, so you have to produce food of the very highest standard consistently.

"Local suppliers are also key and we use some of the best local meat and vegetables that are grown in this wonderful rural setting."

The Walnut Tree has been a favourite with food critics since owners Franco and Ann Taruschio put it on the culinary map in the early 1960s, before they sold the business in 2000.

It subsequently won Michelin stars before it closed in 2007 but re-opened a year later and is now run jointly by chef Shaun Hill and hotelier William Griffiths.

The Michelin Guide's editor Derek Bulmer said 2009 was a difficult year for hotels and restaurants, but those who reacted by being more flexible and creative appeared to be riding the storm.

He added: "Value for money has also been an important factor and we have awarded 28 new Bib Gourmand awards - 'good food at moderate prices' - which reflects this."

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