Local Chef’s Recipe – Grant Mulholland, The Hand at Llanarmon

Hand it to Grant…

Grant Mulholland’s unpretentious approach to serving simply fabulous food lands The Hand at Llanarmon a listing in the 2019 Michelin Guide.

Photography courtesy of This Is Wrexham

He’s a big man with a big reputation, Grant Mulholland, Head Chef at The Hand at Llanarmon, is an award-winning chef whose passion for this delightful hotel restaurant can be measured quite simply by a stack of impressive rosettes, food awards and top eatery listings.

“I’m constantly searching for new ideas and inspiration to keep things fresh.”

Grant Mulholland

News of the latest recognition, a listing in the 2019 Michelin Guide, sees Grant in a great mood as we chat in The Hand’s cosy residents lounge over hot coffee and hand-made biscuits. “Michelin is predominantly about the quality of the cooking,” he says proudly. “It’s our third year in the guide. I’m constantly searching for new ideas and inspiration to keep things fresh. I spend way too much time at home trawling food blogs on Instagram,” he confesses.

Quality local ingredients combined with stunning presentation is what sets The Hand at Llanarmon apart. Grant’s loyal kitchen team, John Peace and Eifion Edwards, know exactly what to do to keep diners coming back to The Hand time and again. “We simply prepare great food that’s sensibly priced, beautifully presented, use locally sourced seasonal ingredients and have a ‘Today’s Choice’ menu to keep things interesting,” says Grant. “I try to buy as much as I can locally. We have some excellent local suppliers. McArdles Butchers in Chirk have the best steaks around and I also buy meat from Keegan’s in Llanrhaedr. Our game is from Powis Castle and the pheasant and pigeon are from the local shoot. The fruit and veg supplied by A. Edwards at Gledrid are first class.”

Photography courtesy of This Is Wrexham

Starting his career at another Hand Hotel (the one in Llangollen) after leaving Scotland aged just 17 years, a consistently upward career trajectory took Grant through some of the best hotel kitchens in the Midlands and North West. Regular promotions came throughout his period with the Thistle Hotels group where he eventually landed the head chef role at the Thistle Haydock Park. “Haydock broke me,” he admits. “It was a crazy busy kitchen. I was living in Johnstown and had a 90 minute each way commute on the M56. By the time I got to the Chester roundabout in the mornings I’d have about 100 text messages pinging into my phone. The stress hospitalised me.”[Jackie and Jonathan] give me

It took Grant six months to recover, before he was ready to enter a professional kitchen again. It was then he spotted an advert for a head chef at The Hand at Llanarmon. That was 14 years ago. Current owners, Jackie and Jonathan Greatorex, bought The Hand four years ago and have invested heavily in refurbishing and upgrading the property. “They’re great,” says Grant. “We work closely on the menu, but they give me the freedom to run the kitchen my way. I love it here. We’re a good team.”

Jackie, Jonathan and Grant have worked tirelessly to make The Hand one of the most charming and welcoming destination dining venues in the UK. Don’t take Double.LL‘s word for it, the Daily Telegraph recently listed The Hand at Llanarmon in its Britain’s 30 Cosiest Pubs guide for the warmth of the welcome, ambiance and great grub.

Top Tip:

“When resting the venison, keep the juices from the meat and add them to the sauce.”

Can’t do without?:

“My blender for purees. I always add a tiny bit of olive oil before blending. It makes a puree lovely and smooth.”

Grant Mulholland’s Powis Castle Venison Loin Recipe – Serves 4



  • 50g butter
  • 1 garlic clove (crushed)
  • 4 sprigs thyme
  • 500g venison loin

Venison Sauce

  • Knob of butter
  • 500g venison bones
  • 50g chopped carrots
  • 50g chopped onion
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • 1 litre of veal or beef stock
  • 50ml cassis liquer

Watercress Puree

  • 400g watercress
  • 70g butter
  • 30ml water
  • Pinch of salt
  • Handful of ice cubes

Chargrilled Broccoli Stalk

  • 4 large stalks of broccoli
  • Salt and pepper
  • Drizzle of olive oil

Crispy Quail’s Egg

  • Drizzle of oil
  • 8 quail eggs
  • Salt and pepper


  • Micro coriander


For the Venison

  • Heat a frying pan over a medium heat
  • Add the butter and, when foaming, add the garlic, thyme and venison loin
  • Sauté for 8-10 minutes, turning occasionally, until brown all over
  • Remove from the pan and set aside
  • Keep warm until ready to serVE

For the Venison Sauce

  • Heat a sauté pan
  • Add the butter and venison bones and cook until golden brown
  • Stir in the carrots, onion, bay leaf, thyme and stock and reduce by half
  • Strain the bones and vegetables and spoon off any excess fat
  • Reduce the liquid to your desired consistency and finish with cassis

For the Watercress Puree

  • Pick the watercress leaves from the stalks
  • Place a suitable sized pan on the stove, heat, then add the butter, water and watercress to the hot pan
  • Add a pinch of salt and cook for just two minutes
  • When the watercress is cooked, add the ice
  • Drain and transfer to a blender to blitz until smooth

For the Chargrilled Broccoli Stalk

  • Preheat the oven to 180 degrees
  • Slice the broccoli stalks into 2cm lengths
  • Place onto a very hot chargrill pan to achieve the chargrill marks
  • Season with salt and pepper and a touch of olive oil
  • Transfer to the oven for 5 minutes

For the Crispy Quail’s Egg

  • Heat a non-stick pan with a little oil until hot but not smoking
  • Gently crack the eggs into the pan and cook for 60-90 seconds until slightly crisp at the edges
  • Season with salt and pepper

To Serve

  • Spoon the watercress puree onto the plates
  • Carve the venison loin and arrange on top of the puree
  • Add the broccoli and eggs as pictured
  • Garnish with micro coriander and serve with venison sauce

This recipe was reproduced by kind permission of Grant Mulholland. As featured in Relish Wales.

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