John and Jenny Talbot, the new owners, have decided to rename the hotel as Ynyshir and reposition it as a restaurant with rooms. Opening days will be reduced to five per week, from Tuesday to Saturday.
The new focus for the business follows the death in February of Joan Reen, who opened Ynyshir Hall as a hotel with her husband Rob in 1989. Rob Reen sold the hotel three months after Joan died to the Talbots, who had been regular guests for more than 20 years.
Ynyshir Hall has long been established as one of Wales' most renowned foodie destinations. Successive chefs, including Ward, Adam Simmonds, Shane Hughes and Les Rennie, have all held a Michelin star.
Ward arrived at the hotel, set within 14 acres of grounds and overlooking the RSPB Ynys-hir Nature Reserve, in 2013, replacing Paul Croasdale. He had previously worked at the two-Michelin-star Restaurant Sat Bains in Nottingham, Hart's in Nottingham, Hambleton Hall in Rutland and Seaham Hall in County Durham.
Since Ward's arrival the restaurant at Ynyshir Hall has regained a Michelin star and won four AA rosettes. He was also named the Good Food Guide 2015 Chef to Watch.
Serving solely tasting menus, Ward's food is influenced by the best local ingredients and the flavours and techniques of Japanese cookery, hence his use of Welsh Wagyu beef, sourced from a farm in Montgomeryshire.
The two 14-course tasting menus at the 26-cover restaurant both cost £95 per head, while a surprise tasting menu - served as the six-seat chef's table - is £130 per head. Typical dishes include not French onion soup, salt Wagyu rib and shitake, and miso treacle tart.
General manager of the hotel is Ameila Eirksson, who has recently been promoted from restaurant manager.
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