Food review - The Black Seal Kitchen & Bar, Trearddur Bay
PUBLISHED: 17:28 21 July 2017 | UPDATED: 17:28 21 July 2017
Want your meal in a room with a view? Check out the Black Seal at Trearddur Bay, writes Louise Allen-Taylor
A few short years ago, the gastronome would find slim pickings on the island of Anglesey.
These days, you’re spoilt for choice. Menai Bridge has more Michelin stars than Manchester (Sosban and the Old Butchers); another Menai success story, Dylan’s, has yielded two other restaurants at Criccieth and Llandudno; Marram Grass at Newborough has won a string of much-deserved accolades and a prestige-boosting run on TV’s Great British Menu for chef Ellis Barrie; the investment made by John Timpson in the White Eagle at Rhoscolyn and the spectacular Oyster Catcher at Rhosneigr continues to pay dividends for Tarporley-based 16 Hospitality. And that’s only the half of it.
Now the question for the hungry holiday-maker is not ‘Where can we eat?’ but ‘Where are we likely to get a table?’
It took several failed attempts before we finally sat down at the Black Seal in Trearddur Bay, a year after it opened in what was once The Waterfront.
As that former name suggests, the Black Seal is as close to the sea as you can be without getting sand on your feet. A huge terrace at the front of the restaurant looks out over the bay, as do the best window tables inside the restaurant...likely to be sporting ‘reserved’ signs if our visit is anything to go by.
The decor resists any obvious seaside or nautical theme - except for massive, weathered beams resembling driftwood. Otherwise, this is urbane, 21st century styling. We found ourselves on the balcony, looking down into the restaurant, from which rose a busy thrum, helped by drinkers at the bar, which makes a speciality of gin - 60 varieties of it.
The menu is a well-balanced mix of small plates, modern British mains featuring local produce such as lamb and seafood, plus pizzas, sandwiches and salads.
Deep-fried goats’ cheese with golden beetroot and apple chutney (£5.75) had the right combination of sweetness, tartness and creaminess. A starter of Menai mussels (£7.95) with Thai red curry was a good portion of mussels with a really punchy broth, though I could have used a lot more of that broth, and the presentation - piled up on a plate - made for slightly awkward eating.
My main of chicken florentine (£13.95) was a mascarpone-stuffed treat on a bed of sweet potato mash with broccoli. Our other main of pan roasted Anglesey lamb loin (£19.95) was succulent medallions, cooked medium with a smoky leek and mustard mash and chive oil. Fine, unfussy modern British cooking.
A lemon and lime cheesecake (£5.95) was strong on taste but not firm enough of texture and came adorned with mint leaves so obviously wilted as to detract rather than enhance. It was an odd lapse in an otherwise enjoyable meal.
The Black Seal Kitchen & Bar, Lon Isallt, Trearddur Bay, Holyhead, Anglesey, LL65 2UP