A BARRY restaurant has proved it can take no prisoners in the foodie world after it beat a prison restaurant to claim a prestigious prize.
The Gallery, Broad Street, Barry, tasted victory when it was named Welsh Sustainable Restaurant of the Year at a national awards ceremony in London on February 17 – fending off competition from The Clink, in Cardiff, and an eaterie in Beaumaris.
The restaurant secured top place, less than seven months after it opened.
The president of the Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA), chef Raymond Blanc, presented The Gallery with the award, at Roast restaurant in London’s Borough Market.
The Gallery owner, Barnaby Hibbert, whose inspiration is chef Shaun Hill, said The Gallery aimed to a neighbourhood eaterie with quality produce sourced as locally as possible and support Barry Town United FC and local charities who may need raffle prizes.
Barnaby, 33, who employs ten staff, said: "We are absolutely delighted to have won this award. I was filming it because I thought we were going to be highly commended and when The Clink got highly commended I realised we’d won.
“There are no smokescreens and we got 75 out of 100 so that leaves me room for improvement. The award gives me credence for moving forward."
He added: “Sustainability only occurs through collective endeavour and hard work and for this I would like to thank all my suppliers. This award also gives The Gallery team recognition and a well deserved pat on the back. To have achieved such success within our first year gives us confidence to move forward promoting what we believe in. Consumer consciousness has greatly increased in recent years and our customers want to know the story behind the food on their plate. We aim to deliver a sense of place to our diners without it having a negative impact on the environment to which we all belong."
The Barry restaurant, which also offers Riverside Market Garden organic vegetable boxes at £10 for Friday collections, was honoured for the many sustainability initiatives it has implemented, serving a weekly changing menu using produce sourced almost entirely from producers within 50 miles.
It is one of very few restaurants to use British-grown tea and it strives to reduce the amount of food waste by encouraging customers to take home leftovers in origami themed doggy bags.
Barnaby said: “Right away I knew we shared common values with the SRA. I borrow a lot from European peasant cuisines and we make our own bread and pastries and all our chutneys and we cater for dairy intolerances and vegetarians.”
The restaurant will boast a Welsh-themed menu throughout March with little-known delights such as Snowdon pudding and Mother’s Supper set to wow diners alongside favourites like laverbread, bara brith cawl, faggots and cockles.
SRA managing director Mark Linehan said: “The Gallery has demonstrated a very high level of all-round sustainability, offering its customers what they want - a dining experience that isn’t costing the earth, making it a very worthy winner of the Welsh Sustainable Restaurant of the Year award.”