Double-Michelin Star restaurant Ynyshir has been named the best in the UK for the second consecutive year. 

The country house hotel in Eglwysfach near Machynlleth became the first outside of England to achieve the prestigious National Restaurant of the Year accolade last year. 

Inspired by owner and decorated chef Gareth Ward, the National Restaurant Awards describes the venue as ‘the antithesis of a boring country house hotel, offering a tasting menu of in-your-face, Asian-influenced food and a rambunctious atmosphere’. It also ranked in the most expensive category.  

Last February, it became the first restaurant in Wales to achieve two Michelin Stars. And earlier this year it was recognised as the nation’s finest for the fourth time by Harden’s Best UK Restaurants. Harden’s also said it was the most expensive in the UK.  

Mr Ward said he was ‘speechless' after hearing the news.  

“I’m so proud of the Ynyshir family – past and present – because obviously it’s the whole journey, it’s not just about now," he added. 

“I'm proud of every single person involved with getting us to where we are. Let’s keep going, let’s keep pushing and see what we can achieve in this little corner of Wales.” 

Mr Ward’s partner Amelia Eriksson, who runs the dining room, said: “We are completely blown away.  

“It's been a huge team effort. We just keep pushing to put Wales and this area on the map.” 

The National Restaurant Awards judges said: “Located just south of Snowdonia National Park on the western edge of mid Wales, Ynyshir is surrounded by rhododendron bushes and undulating yet carefully trimmed lawns. Yet this is not your typical country house hotel, as its black painted brickwork hints at. 

“Those that venture inside will find a massive chef cooking a multi-course tasting menu of uncompromisingly edgy, Asian-influenced food. That chef is Gareth Ward, a protégé of the Nottinghamshire-based Sat Bains. 

“Run by Ward’s partner Amelia Eriksson, the small dining room is stripped back and a little Scandi in feel with a fully open kitchen where diners can watch the brigade at work. 

“The food itself is described as ‘ingredient led, flavour driven, fat fueled, and meat obsessed’. This is an entirely accurate description, but one that doesn’t quite do justice to Ward’s explosive cooking.  

“His approach is strikingly different to the norm – a peculiar but effective marriage of top-quality produce, Asian flavours and unusual technique served in a succession of tiny bites. 

“To dine at Ynyshir is to have more than a meal, it is an experience unlike any other on these shores. The in-house DJ (surely the only two Michelin-starred restaurants in Europe to employ one?) keeps things lively, playing a set that reads the vibe of the room, with a glitter ball put into action as the night unfolds. Anywhere else this might not work, but at Ynyshir and under the spell of Ward's supreme cooking, it's something to savour.” 

Mr Ward’s protégé and former Ynyshir head chef, Nathan Davies, won Opening of the Year from Michelin last year for his solo venture Aberystwyth town centre restaurant, SY23. 

The Pier Street venue came in at 96 in a National Restaurant Awards list dominated by London restaurants. 

The judges said: “Like his mentor, Gareth Ward, Davies likes to cook over fire but at SY23 he makes use of the best local produce for a memorable dining experience that is more than the sum of its parts.  

“Ward’s influence is apparent at SY23, not least the dark coloured walls, lively soundtrack and Asian influence found in some dishes, but Davies has successfully managed to put his own stamp on the restaurant world with a menu that is a celebration of its location and of time-honoured cooking techniques. 

“SY23’s menu is a tale of two parts. The meal starts with a small loaf of bread made from local heritage grains that is accompanied by a healthy (or possibly unhealthy) serving of cultured miso butter before a quartet of fish and meat dishes arrive made with locally caught ingredients. A pause is then provided by an optional cheese course before four desserts round things off. 

“For something slightly different, the restaurant also has an all-weather, outside dining area called Y Sgwâr with fire pits built into the tables. Here Davies serves a more accessible small plates menu that has more of a European focus with dishes such as focaccia with pickled salad, and new potatoes with garlic aioli and lemon.”