Like Glastonbury or Totnes, Herefordshire has attracted the full spectrum of the British. Pop into Hay-on-Wye for example, and by day’s end, you’ll have seen the full spectrum of British people – and that’s what makes Herefordshire incredible. A microcosm of the world, everything’s on offer, because everyone’s catered to. This translates best to the world of food, where Herefordshire really shines – cooking everything from local Welsh, to European, to Korean. Welcome, to the best foodie experiences in Herefordshire.
What is it: Calling themselves 'the definition of a drunken BBQ that seriously got out of hand', The Beefy Boys, as you might imagine, don't take themselves too seriously. Starting off in a backyard, making their way through the ranks at festivals, even earning themselves an award in Las Vegas (high praise to win on US soil), to their flagship Hereford restaurant in 2016 -- they've achieved BBQ pedigree.
Why we love it: It's simple. Try and fault 100% 21-day aged Hereford beef, no fillers, no additives, fresh baked buns every day from local award-winning baker, Peter Cook. Even the sauces are all made on site. Just damn good burger. That's all.
Our tip: If you're headed out into west Hereford, perhaps for the Black Mountains, or deeper into Wales, then this is a must do. Load up on one of these and some fries, and you're talking some serious hiking fuel.
What is it: You might wonder, why is there so much BBQ? Then you remember Herefordshire beef. But that's not all they serve, they also hit up Wagyu and sushi. In fact, they're also behind Hereford's first ever sushi place, En Sushi. Best of all, they also serve vegetarian and vegan food, so everyone's catered to. To serve alongside, you'll get to choose from signature cocktails, boba tea, beer, cider and most importantly, Sake and Soju.
Why we love it: This isn't some massive conglomerate, it's owned by Pampi and Peyman, who've battled to adjust to the ever-changing face of hospitality in the last few years. The attention to detail that comes from family-run businesses is always the best experience you could have when eating out.
Our tip: When in Rome' is always a great adage to remember, so when you visit, remember Korean drinking customs dictate very specific rules. Whilst it's not enforced of course, the etiquette, says you never pour your own drink. Instead, you pour others. So be sure to keep your friends Soju topped up.
What is it: Seasoned travellers, like late night revellers, know that the most mind-blowing food comes from food trucks. Set in the multipurpose space in Hereford, Bastion Mews, Bastion Street Feast is a regular event where restaurants are invited as pop ups to serve their wares as food trucks and stalls. Who comes to visit? Anyone and everyone -- could be pan-Asian with Wok Box, Italian from Shack Pizza, Indian with Full of Chaat or decadent desserts from Bournville Waffle. It's potluck, but always good.
Why we love it: Sure, we see some good restaurants, but we also end up eating on the fly a lot, grabbing snacks where we can on the road, bringing something up a mountain or just snacking round a campfire. The best dining experiences aren't just about the theatre of hospitality. They're about the people you brought with you, the food, and trying to eat it with a shred of dignity (you won't achieve that). Enjoy the informality, the company, and most of all, the quantity.
Our tip: Keep updated with what's on and when, by visiting their site, and with any luck, you'll time a trip to catch them. It's also fairly vital that you remember to leave some room for dessert.
What is it: If you can put your finger on exactly what this space is, then you haven't explored it properly. On first entry, you'll spot the wares of the shop immediately, brightly coloured candles and curios that transcend keepsakes and head directly into functional or beautiful décor. But turn your head to the right, and you'll find that your mouth was agape in front of the whole café. And that incredible smell wasn't the beeswax and indie toiletries -- it was the vegetarian menu.
Why we love it: You'll come for one reason and stay for another. The food's incredible, a brightly coloured joyride through the best of veggie territory, buddha bowls and ramen broths, soups and small plates. It's as locally sourced as possible, and served up with style and a smile. Then, happily stuffed, you'll waddle through the shop and eviscerate your bank account on books and curios.
Our tip: This is a place to visit any time of the year, or any time between 10-5pm. Turn up in festival season and you'll find it open at night with a pop-up cocktail bar, with the chance of live music. If you thought it was good in daytime, see it by the colourful shades of festoon light.
What is it: We still can't quite work out why Wales has so many good European restaurants. Maybe the Europeans like the Welsh better than the English? Either way, Wednesday through Sunday you'll find Trish and Thalia running this tapas bar and restaurant. Oh, and the wine? Put it this way, book a taxi.
Why we love it: Unfussy, unpretentious, understandably popular. It's the perfect place for whatever the need or the occasion. Pop in for lunch for a light snack, a dinner by candlelight -- with fine wine and hearty laughter, or just for a great vintage and a little amuse-bouche.
Our tip: This is a great spot to resolve any difficulties between your carnivorous, pescetarian and veggie travelling partners. They can have albóndigas en salsa de tomate, pescado frito con salsa verde and tortilla with aubergine fries, respectively.
What is it: The history's seeping out of the masonry at Kilpeck Inn, quite literally. The inn was constructed from stone from the local Norman castle when it was broken apart during the English civil war. Featured in the Michelin Guide, The Kilpeck Inn is included for good reason. The multi award-winning chefs craft as locally sourced as possible ingredients to minimise the 'food miles' of their suppliers.
Why we love it: Whilst you could easily wax lyrical about the incredible menu, the freshly caught game, local lamb and beef or the carefully crafted vegetarian dishes -- the drinks menu sees the same focus on the local suppliers. You'll find Butty Bach as the house ale (from Herefordshire's Wye Valley Brewery), a regularly changing selection of guest ales from local microbreweries as well as a spirit and wine selection that features award-winning local distilleries and vineyards.
Our tip: Midway between The Brecon Beacons and The Wye Valley, this is a perfect spot to either fuel up, or reward yourself on a hard day's adventure. If you can call ahead, that's wise and if you can book in advance, that's even wiser.
What is it: An aptly named establishment, a tun is an archaic name for a large beer or wine cask, and as it's reputed to be the oldest building in the town -- with a great selection of local beers, cask ales and wines, the name suits perfectly. The menu is mostly Italian inspired but continues the great tradition of a Sunday roast.
Why we love it: There's a strong history of Italian food in Wales, thanks to the Italian immigrants that moved there from the early 1800s to the early 1900s (20,000 in Britain in total, 1000 to Wales). There's almost no time we'd say no to pasta and pizza, and even fewer times we'd turn down a homemade tiramisu.
Our tip: There's rarely a bad time to turn up here for food, but it is popular, so make sure to check about a booking if you can -- and even better, check the site for any upcoming events. You might just be in time for a gin tasting, or a guest chef night.