On Anglesey there’s a restaurant named after the Welsh God of the Sea. With the help of a local MBY reader, Phil Sampson finds out what’s cooking
Lockdown – it hasn’t done restaurants any favours and has left critics like me weeping into the non-existent plates of food we are supposed to be reviewing. So a big shout out goes to the many MBY forum readers who responded to Boat Cuisine’s call for help by recommending their favourite dining spots. Thank you one and all, we look forward to running more of your suggestions in future editions.
We begin with a trip to Dylan’s Restaurant, Menai Strait, the pick of Formula 34PC owner, Bruce Kennedy. Apparently, Dylan was a Welsh Sea God, although according to godchecker.com (oh yes, godchecker does exist) he didn’t make much of a splash.
Dylan’s eponymous restaurant, however, fares rather better. Bruce tells us he regularly steers a course to this light and airy destination, which boasts both indoor and outdoor seating, from his home port of Conwy. “It’s a delight to eat there,” he says. “Nothing outrageously fancy, but what they do, they do exceptionally well. It has a great ambience and the experience is always enjoyable.”
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Located on the waterside a few hundred metres from Thomas Telford’s landmark suspension bridge, Dylan’s is a magnet for boaters, tourists and locals alike – 250 covers on a lockdown-free Saturday summer’s evening is typical, so booking is essential. Manager Karen McConnell tells us throughout lockdown they’ve been concentrating on takeaways and marketing their retail products.
A glance at the Welsh/English dual-language menu confirms that Dylan’s offers something for everyone; a dazzling array of takeaways and, pandemic permitting, a multitude of eat-in choices, which this critic might suggest is too many but Bruce assures me is fine. “The food they serve is always good,” he says.
Of all the dishes on offer – which span tried-and-tested favourites like Cyw Iar Mewn Basged Fegan (chicken in a basket) to Cawl Pysgod (seafood chowder) and world foods including tacos and pizzas, Karen tells us none is more popular than the shrimp and crab linguini. There’s also a charity pizza, with a 50p donation from each one going to the Llanberis Mountain Rescue Team.
Boaters familiar with the area will be acquainted with the Swellies – the notorious stretch of water between the Menai Strait’s two bridges. “For those travelling south-west, Menai Pier – which lies ahead of the suspension bridge – is an ideal spot to wait for the tide before transiting the Swellies,” says Bruce. “The pier isn’t large, so boats often raft up. There are also some mooring buoys and I’ve never been unable to find a place to tie up.”
Getting there by boat
Approaching from the north-east, the journey to Menai Pier is straightforward. But come the other way and it’s all about the last-running tide of the Swellies. The slack lasts for just 10 to 20 minutes at Liverpool HW -0200 and LW -0200. Adding to the hazards, the channel past Swelly Rock is just 30m wide at low water, so beware. If you’re unfamiliar with the area, call the Menai Bridge pier master on 01248 712312 for advice.
Cost: £55-65 based on a two-course dinner for two with a bottle of house wine
Times: Every day, 1100 until late
Verdict: Dylan’s is far from the only restaurant in the area but the sheer volume of visitors it attracts speaks for itself.
MBY reader rating: 4/5 (based on food, ambience and value for money)
Tel: 01248 716714 / dylansrestaurant.co.uk