It may be nestled in Britain’s smallest city and have been pitched against Michelin-starred competitors – but this modest Pembrokeshire restaurant has proved it is one of Britain’s finest.
Cwtch, in St Davids, which celebrates local produce, has been named the best in Wales by the prestigious Good Food Guide after it polled 28,000 UK diners.
Cwtch owner Rachael Knott, who opened the eaterie in 2005, said to be named regional winner for Wales in the Restaurant of the Year Awards was testimony to fine local produce coupled with years of hard work.
She said: “We are all immensely proud that a restaurant in the far West of Wales has won such recognition.
“Although we rely very much on tourism, we are very fortunate to have won massive support from a strong local customer base, from Haverfordwest to Fishguard, who eat here regularly and help us to stay open year round.”
To qualify for the awards, restaurants need to be independently-run, offering regional or local produce where possible and delivering consistently great food and excellent service.
Cwtch, an informal, relaxed 50-seat restaurant with Welsh slate and wooden floors, chalkboard menus, shelves stacked with local products, aims to create a “home-from-home” atmosphere. It touts itself as being big on simplicity and big on flavour.
“The atmosphere is obviously really important but I think the key thing is the amazing wealth of locally produced ingredients that we are so fortunate to have on our doorstep,” said Rachael.
“Our ever-evolving menu sources the very best the local area has to offer – uncomplicated food from quality ingredients that are big on flavour; all made with passion. From Welsh Black beef to Pembrokeshire cheeses, all the produce that we do use is as local as we can get.”
Head chef Matt Cox said he believed his ethos of letting the ingredients speak for themselves was key to a perfect meal.
“We are so lucky to have access to some of the best meat, fish and fresh vegetables within a stone’s throw,” he said.
“Our crab, which is caught in St Bride’s Bay just three miles away can be out of the water and on our plates that day.
“We adapt our menu to follow seasonal vegetables so, for example, we are now serving fabulous asparagus from Manorbier which, coming straight from the field, comes fresh to order is a real winner with customers.”