Restaurant review - The Oyster Catcher, Maelog Lake, Rhosneigr, Isle of Anglesey
PUBLISHED: 00:19 27 August 2013 | UPDATED: 12:49 16 May 2016
The Oyster Catcher restaurant in Rhosneigr, Anglesey is a bit of a pearl and it just got better.
The last rays of the sun are dappling a stunning vista stretching from the indigo of Lake Maelog to the sand dunes of Broad Beach, and here we are sipping post-dinner coffee in a beach hut.
Not any old beach hut, though, It is one of several little pastel-coloured sheds (with their own heaters) newly erected on the large verandah behind The Oyster Catcher restaurant at Rhosneigr in Anglesey.
John Timpson – the Cheshire businessman and philanthropist behind the shoe repair and key-cutting empire – invested £3m to set up The Oyster Catcher as a social enterprise, giving jobs to a team of ‘cadets’ in an area where employment opportunities are bleak. We eat well, the cadets get a toehold in the world of work and the profits help train the next batch of cadets. In business terms, The Oyster Catcher is that rarest of things...a virtuous circle.
The German-designed Huf Haus building took best advantage of a stunning location by placing diners on the first floor with lots of windows and a large deck outside.
As a bustling family restaurant, all that airy interior and hard surfaces made for a lot of noise. As for that deck, it was too often whipped by wind.
A refurbishment, a year on from opening, has addressed both those points. The interior is now more segmented and acoustically softer, and the beach huts are cosy even for the neshest of us. Downstairs is Will’s Bar – a reminder, surely unintentional (!), that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge made their first home on Anglesey and were regulars at John Timpson’s first restaurant venture, the White Eagle at nearby Rhoscolyn.
The Oyster Catcher food is superior gastro pub fare – stolid mains such as a burger and chips or Cumberland sausage and mash, pizza, pasta, salads, and some more imaginative dishes such as meatballs with mustard seed macaroni or braised rabbit with homemade pappadelle and a mustard and tarragon sauce.
Our starters were a delicious carrot and coriander soup (£4.25) and seafood spaghetti with a crab sauce (£7) and boasting a generous dozen mussels. Our mains were an excellent beef Stroganoff with braised rice (£10.75) – from the daily specials menu - and pan-fried fillet of hake with roast tomatoes, new potatoes and tarragon mayonnaise.
We plumped for an Eaton mess (that’s how the menu spells it and we reckon it’s a nod to the Eaton estate in Chester, near Mr Timpson’s family home) and an elderflower jelly with vanilla panna cotta for dessert, having hankered in vain after the peanut butter cheesecake – all gone before 8.30pm, sadly. Another sign of The Oyster Catcher’s popularity: we liked it so much we tried to book for the next night and were told there wasn’t a table free for the next four days.
The Oyster Catcher, Maelog Lake, Rhosneigr, Isle of Anglesey, LL64 5JP, 01407 812829 www.oystercatcheranglesey.co.uk