At The Star on the Hill, youth and innovation are order of the day. The decades-old country pub, at Llansoy, Monmouthshire, has been transformed into a modern restaurant that caters to all the latest tastes a discerning diner could ask for in 2019.

Head chef Natalie Jones believes the venue got a welcome boost of fresh energy after coming under new management last year. She said: “It helps that we’re all really young and enthusiastic, so we have that side where all want to push things. You feel that you’re in a traditional place, but you’re having something that could be in a fine-dining restaurant, with the a-la-carte menu.”

Desserts are now something of a specialty at the eatery, thanks to this sweettoothed chef concocting such tempting dishes as chocolate-orange torte, maple and pecan cheesecake, passion-fruit tart and chargrilled pineapple with a blackcurrant sorbet and toasted coconut. The current landlord, Adam Fowler, is aged 30, Natalie 26 and the other staff members even younger, helping The Star on the Hill stay in tune with emerging food trends. Natalie has adapted the menu to meet evolving dining demands, especially now that veganism, in her words, “has become massive”.

But the traditional heritage of The Star on the Hill has not been forgotten, with the spirit and look of the rustic pub – with its three open-log fires – has been respectfully preserved. Locally-sourced ingredients and game are well represented and served to hungry customers.

“I’d say it’s a traditional pub with a modern taker on things,” Natalie said. “We do a traditional farmer’s menu, which is pub classics with larger portions.

Natalie, who comes from a family of chefs and has “always been brought up around food”, started out pot washing at a young age at The Cripple Creek Inn, Abergavenny, before going on to train as a pastry chef and cooked at Usk’s Glen-Yr-Afon House Hotel, before taking the head-chef role at The Star on the Hill.

Looking ahead, she plans to diversity the menu, with more fish options next to the big sellers like venison.

In fact, the venue itself has big plans, with a large conservatory extension being completed with room for around 130 people. The Star Inn is now able to accommodate wedding parties, as well as smaller functions like baby showers and birthday parties. The venue’s remote and idyllic location make it great for wedding photos and you can’t ask for a better background than the Brecon Beacons on a summer afternoon, with light reflecting off the verdant greenery and bountiful blossoms.

From its hilltop setting, The Star on the Hill overlooks Monmouthshire and as the shifting seasons see the landscape burst with colour, the ever-changing and evolving menu reflects this.

Since becoming landlord at the historic venue, which dates back to the 16th century, Adam Fowler has tried to keep things traditional, while still serving exciting, forward-thinking meals.

“We’ve added a modern touch with regards the décor but it’s still and old inn and a traditional inn,” he explained.

“We have to be respectful of it, but also at the same time we’re quite a young team. Our menu is a little bit different from the traditional pub menu. We just wanted to put that modern twist on it, I suppose.

“There’s a famers menu which is very much traditional pub-grub food and we also offer an a la carte menu. I think that’s where we can be diverse and accommodate all types.”

The historic wooden ceiling beams and weathered stone walls have been sanded and blasted to revive them, without disrupting the rustic visual vibe. Adam’s family history in the hospitality industry has held him in good stead, as he strives to move forward, while honouring the past.

He said: “I’ve been brought up in hospitality and my family run the King’s Head hotel in Usk. When I turned 30 I thought I’d make a few changes and have a go for myself. That’s really my story as it were.

“It’s a lot more rewarding seeing the changes that we’ve made to the business. They’ve been really well accepted by the locals and new customers.”

The landlord plans to keep expanding The Star Inn on the Hill, welcoming larger groups and accommodating bigger functions, and has full faith in his youthful team to handle anything.

He added proudly: “I’m so glad that we’ve teamed up to do what we’ve done with The Star on the Hill and hopefully we’ll have a bright future together.“

The Star on the Hill - Llanfihangel Tor-Y-Mynydd, Usk NP15 1DT

01291 650256