We recently had a great week staying in a cottage near Llanberis, in North Wales. North Wales is seriously one of my favourite places in the UK-the scenery is epic and the beers are always good. What more do you want from a holiday?!
We spent a fair bit of time exploring Anglesey, and our first day on the island we seemed to hit a lunchtime black hole. Suddenly there were no quaint village pubs or tea rooms to be found.
We drove on, grumpy (me) and despondent when in the distance a Huf Haus rose into view (fact fans: a Huf Haus is a German prefabricated building which is pieced together onsite like a lovely timber jigsaw and they are environmentally friendly and energy efficient- I’ve even given you a handy link here). ‘Ooh, a Huf Haus’ said I, trying to impress the architect hubby with a fact I learned from Grand Designs. But it got better; this Haus had a sign outside, The Oyster Catcher. Lunchtime was saved.
The building comprised of a coffee shop down stairs and a restaurant upstairs. The coffee shop was closed so we went up and were met by a large, bright and airy dining room with windows on all sides. It was buzzy with families, older couples and everyone in between.
Before I go on to the food, which was amazing, I need to tell you about the ethos. It turns out that The Oyster Catcher is a social enterprise. Run by an organisation called the Timpson Foundation, young local people are trained in the kitchen, front of house and at college. They are given skills which will make them infinitely more employable- be that on the island or further afield. It is a great idea and the cadets were friendly and enthusiastic and the specials menu names the trainee who came up with each dish which was a great touch. The furniture (very nice, Scandi-retro style) was made by inmates at a prison- also being trained to help their employability.
So far, so good: great building, fancy furniture, views and sound staffing policy, but how about the food?
Wowsers. I was expecting a simple menu done well- after all the place is a training ground for future chefs. But actually there is a long, interesting menu on offer which makes the most of local and seasonal produce.
On our first visit (yep, we went back!) I had braised rabbit in a white wine and mustard sauce with home made pasta. It was astounding- the rabbit fell apart, the sauce was creamy but light and it was the best creamy sauce I think I’ve ever had. On our second visit, I had a massive pile of mussels which were on the specials menu – straight from the local waters in a cidery, creamy sauce if memory serves me right. Oh and we had chips. The portion was a bit stingy but they were some good
Apparently the place has been so successful, they are refurbing so it is closed until 4th May, but if you are on Anglesey, or frankly within a 50 mile radius, The Oyster Catcher is well worth seeking out.
The Oyster Catcher
Rhosneigr, Anglesey. LL64 5JP
Tel: 01407 812 829