A NEWPORT restaurant has become the first in the city to earn three AA Rosettes.

Gem 42, based on Bridge Street in Newport, focuses on “traditional dishes with a modern twist” and was recently awarded three AA Rosettes - demonstrating that the venue is outstanding and worthy of national recognition.

The AA Rosette award, dating back to 1956, was the first UK-wide scheme for assessing the quality of food served in restaurants and hotels.

South Wales Argus: Gem 42 has been awarded three AA RosettesGem 42 has been awarded three AA Rosettes

Gem 42 is among just 15 restaurants throughout the UK to be awarded three AA rosettes in the March 2022 awards.

The AA inspector who visited Gem 42 said:

“The unassuming building is easy to miss, but once inside Gem 42 you won’t forget the exuberant Botticelli-style ceilings and crisply dressed tables with Murano glass ornaments.

“The kitchen works a gleeful fusion of classical foundations and contemporary molecular techniques to deliver an entertaining medley of textures and flavours in a number of tasting menus.

“Look out for starter of duck and ethical foie gras parfait, with pomegranate and marsala jelly, orange chutney and pickled walnut, then dive in to dry-aged Welsh Wagyu beef sirloin with butternut squash puree, salt baked beetroot, courgettes and an oyster emulsion, in potato puree and Matelote sauce.”

Executive chef Sergio Cinotti said: “We offer traditional dishes with a modern twist.

“Our food is organic, and our main mission is to be as local as we can be.”

Gem 42 uses the concept of “from farm to table” with ingredients grown in their greenhouse when possible or sourced from local Welsh businesses.

But plancton marina (marine plankton) - which is rich in nutritional benefits - and used in some of their freshly made pasta dishes is not available locally, so they get it from Spain.

South Wales Argus: Plancton marino is used to intensify the flavour of Gem 42's linguinePlancton marino is used to intensify the flavour of Gem 42's linguine

Their taster menu is a “journey of food” with staff looking at and trying new ideas ahead of changing their seasonal menu. 

“We get together as a team, share ideas, and try new wonderful ways,” said Chef Sergio.

“Our philosophy is to express the passions of chefs and to be innovative with food; it’s important not to be static – to evolve.”

Recent creations include:

  • Millenarian cauliflower

South Wales Argus: Millenarian cauliflower at Gem 42Millenarian cauliflower at Gem 42

Fermented for between 12 and 14 hours the colour of cauliflower changes from white to brown; then from 14 to 16 hours the enzyme rapidly changes the colour from brown to black – giving it an intense umami (savoury) flavour.

  • Pre-dessert pill

South Wales Argus: Is it better to free your mind? The Matrix inspired pre-dessert pills at Gem 42Is it better to free your mind? The Matrix inspired pre-dessert pills at Gem 42

Inspired by The Matrix, this pre-dessert pill contains the Szechuan flower which will numb the mouth for a few minutes before resetting the taste buds – meaning diners truly taste their desserts. Thankfully you won't wake up in a sci-fi world ruled by robots.

  • "Pre-dessert" creamgate tube

South Wales Argus: A unique dessert offered at Gem 42A unique dessert offered at Gem 42

Cream "toothpaste" and a brush made from different types of Madagscan chocolate, with cream and salted caramel.

Gem 42 chefs are happy to explain courses to guests, with wine pairings also available at the restaurant.

“It’s for people who love good simple food prepared in novelty ways," said Chef Sergio.

“[The rosettes] have helped put Newport on the map as a culinary destination; people come from miles to eat here and it’s wonderful."

South Wales Argus: The AA award proudly displayed at Gem 42 on Bridge StreetThe AA award proudly displayed at Gem 42 on Bridge Street

Find out more on Facebook @restaurantgem42 or visit Gem 42's website at gem42.co.uk