Chef Stephen Terry, who has worked in some of the world’s top kitchens, has made the Hardwick one of the best places to eat in Monmouthshire. More pub than restaurant, it has a cosy dark-wood bar and two smarter dining spaces. The menu gathers outstanding locally sourced ingredients – lamb, honey, cider, cheese – in precise, beautiful cooking. Hearty eaters should try the “taste of local beef” to share: braised short rib, oxtail pudding, rib burger and braised shin (£58).
Old Raglan Road, Abergavenny, NP7 9AA, 01873 854220; thehardwick.co.uk
This cheerful tapas bar in Penarth, Cardiff is a great find. All the staff are Spanish and seriously know their stuff. Rather than order off the menu I just ask what’s good and haven’t been disappointed. The meat – such as acorn-fed Ibérico pork tenderloin and venison salami – is fantastic and there’s a good range of sherries by the glass.
14 Windsor Road, Penarth, CF64 1JH, 02920 705497; bar44.co.uk
The Potted Pig
In spite of its name, this Cardiff restaurant doesn’t just serve pork but a variety of modern British food plus some New York-inspired dishes. It’s a cool, industrial space, hewn from a former bank vault, with exposed brick and chunky leather sofas. The menu is short but full of great, honest food, including some interesting dishes such as cod cheeks and cockles on toast, and breaded pheasant with fried egg.
27 High Street, Cardiff, CF10 1PU, 029 2022 4817; thepottedpig.com
The Tyddyn Llan
This Denbighshire restaurant, near to where I grew up, is the perfect place to be when you want to get away from things. Set in a beautiful Georgian house, it has excellent food including breakfasts as well as seriously good cocktails. Run by a husband-and-wife team, Bryan and Susan Webb, the restaurant has a Michelin star and the meat, game and fish are all locally sourced.
Tyddyn Llan, Llandrillo, LL21 0ST, 01490 440264; tyddynllan.co.uk
Plas Bodegroes Restaurant
Another place near to where I grew up and, like Tyddyn Llan, Plas Bodegroes is a peaceful bolthole. Set on the stunning Llyn Peninsula, it is also run by a husband-and-wife team, Chris and Gunna Chown. The quality of the food is exceptional, especially the hand-dived scallops and razor clams from Cardigan and Nefyn Bays, Welsh Black beef and saltmarsh lamb.
Nefyn Road, Pwllheli, LL53 5TH, 01758 612363; bodegroes.co.uk
Bryn Williams is chef at Odette’s, London. ‘For the Love of Veg’ by Bryn Williams is published by Kyle Books, £25