Showcasing the Best of Welsh Business


Talented Chefs Showcase Menus at Newtown Pop Up Restaurant


A host of gastronomic delights will be served up in Newtown during August as an exciting, new ‘pop up restaurant’ concept opens in the Mid Wales market town.

Anna Cooperwhite, owner of The Granary Restaurant, is inviting a small army of talented chefs from across the country to guest at the ’pop up restaurant’ during the month while head chef Seamus Russell expands his knowledge with an internship at the three-star Michelin restaurant Geranium in Copenhagen.

“The timing of Seamus’ internship at Geranium is not perfect but it’s too good an opportunity for him to pass up,” said Anna. “He is going to a three-star Michelin restaurant which is going to be great for us because he’s going to come back with lots of ideas.

“I could have closed the restaurant for a month while he was away, but instead I see it as an opportunity to try something exciting and different.”

She has drawn up a rota of guest chefs who will be cooking their own menus to tantalise the tastebuds of diners at The Granary. Cuisines from around the globe to suit all tastes will be featured and Anna is hoping that diners support the innovation.

Mark Ellis of the Allium in Tattenhall, Cheshire and a resident chef on BBC’s Great British Menu will be cooking his menu on August 31 and James Sherwin from Wild Shropshire is due to confirm his dates.

Mark’s sympathetic and intelligent use of great ingredients and constant search for perfection and his precise cookery techniques have earned him three AA Rosettes at Peckforton Castle where he spent nine years before opening his first solo restaurant Allium to critical acclaim.  More recently, he opened Shippon by Mark Ellis at The Plassey holiday park, Bangor-on-Dee.

After two recent appearances on the Great British Menu, Mark is considered one of the industry’s rising stars.

Anna thanked Gareth Ward from Ynyshir Restaurant and Rooms, near Machynlleth, Stuart Collins from Docket No 33, Whitchurch, Paul Askew, Ian Pengelly, Masterchef Leo Kattaou and Tom Kitchin for their help and advice and is hoping to collaborate with them in the future.

She also plans to showcase lots of local talent too, with Thai, Brazilian, Syrian and Spanish themes, musicians and cocktail makers at The Granary.

A Montgomery wine tasting night is planned this evening to complement the Blackrock Grill, local farmer Ifor Humphrey’s Wagyu beef will be the subject of a burger night on August 22 and Adele Brecon is to hold a gin foragers night on August 25. There will even be an afternoon tea at The Granary on August 18.

A Syrian chef, who has made a new home with his family in Newtown, cooked traditional Syrian dishes at the restaurant earlier this month. Money raised over the three nights will go to Medicins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders) who deliver lifesaving humanitarian aid to millions people in war-torn Syria.

The menu includes Syrian Tabolehi, hummus, foolyieh, Syrian style aubergine and lamb, Syrian style baked chicken and fries, Shawarma (sandwich style chicken and lamb), sweet treats and Arabic coffee.

“After all of the support the Syrian refugees have received since arriving in Newtown, we at the Granary are giving them an opportunity to give back to the community by showcasing their amazing culture and food,” said Anna. “It promises to be an exciting culinary experience.”

Anna has recently rebranded her restaurant, which was previously known as Mirrens, to reflect a move up market to fine dining under the direction of Russell, who has worked at the one Michelin star Ynyshir Restaurant and Rooms, the two Michelin star Noma in Copenhagen and The Little Truffle on Australia’s Gold Coast.

Concentrating on local produce, the best of Welsh and British food producers and foraging for ingredients himself, Russell has introduced a new culinary approach. Each dish is cooked to order and crafted to the very highest specifications while menus are seasonally focused, dictated by nature and produce available at specific times of year.

In just four months, Russell’s food has made a big impression, having been mentioned by the Michelin Guide as a place and chef to watch. The restaurant is attracting excellent reviews and diners are travelling from as far away as Shropshire and Cardiff.

Anna, who divides her time between The Granary and the managing director’s role at accountants Whittaker & Co in Newtown, is delighted the restaurant is putting Newtown on the map for foodies.

After nine years of running Mirrens and seeing little return on the investment due the overheads, she decided to switch to fine dining to give the restaurant a point of difference in the town. Market research had revealed that there were 38 other places selling similar lunchtime food.

“It was time to stop it being just another eating place, to put us on the map and get us noticed,” she said. “It’s the right time with the way the town is developing, as people’s mindsets are changing. My goal is to get the restaurant recognised.

“By doing taster menus and fine dining, all our costs have reduced which means that we are on top of wastage in the kitchen and the produce that we were using whilst the average spend per customer has increased dramatically.”

To enhance its marketing and promotion, The Granary has recently joined MWT Cymru, the independent company representing around 600 tourism and hospitality businesses across Powys, Ceredigion and Meirionnydd.

To keep up to date with latest news from The Granary, visit or follow the restaurant on Facebook and Twitter.


Duncan Foulkes Public Relations Limited is a well established communications consultancy based in beautiful Mid Wales.

Incorporating public and media relations, the consultancy provides a range of services to businesses and organisations throughout Wales and the Marches.

A former newspaper journalist for 24 years, Duncan moved into PR in 1999 after editing the County Times & Express & Gazette newspapers – the main weekly titles in Mid Wales – for five years.

His main reason for leaving the newspaper industry was a desire for a new career challenge. His successful PR business predominantly focuses on companies based in Wales and Shropshire.

His motto is to keep things as simple as possible to avoid over-complicating what is a straightforward goal – to achieve media coverage for a client.

Duncan’s wide-ranging work entails media campaigns, researching and drafting press releases, media liaison, political lobbying, event management, organising photocalls, website content advice, social media and newsletters.

He has extensive PR experience of the food and drink, education and training, catering and hospitality, insurance and financial services, manufacturing, tourism, farming, property, fine art, lubricants and telematics sectors.

His contacts extend from local newspapers in Wales to the national print and broadcast media, trade publications and digital media.

Duncan Foulkes PR uses only the most creative photographers, ensuring that photography to support his work is of the highest quality.

He is passionate about issues relating to the countryside and enjoys fly fishing, watching sport and spending time with his family in his spare time.

Services provided:

Public Relations
Media Relations
Public Affairs
Crisis Communications
Event management


Related Articles