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Monday, 16 May 2016

The Marram Grass Café, Anglesey, Wales.

We've been to The Marram Grass Café before, a couple of times, way back in 2012 before I started this website. We had mussels I seem to remember. We liked it so much that we returned the following day for fish and chips. It's clearly come on since then with a recent brilliant review from Marina O'Loughlin . So we had to return.
It pays to book ahead, even on Friday lunchtime the place was completely full. It still has it's shabby chic charm but they've naturally updated it since our last visit.
We begin with some wonderful Baked Dwyran Oysters. Home-reared pork pancetta, cream oyster sauce and Hafod cheddar gratin. (£7.50).
If we have to choose a favourite dish, this would be it, the creamy sauce, melted cheese & local oysters make for a perfect combination. Also the Menai Mussels White wine, shallots & leek with Sourdough (£8.75). We love the hot liquid broth and dip their lovely, spongy home made bread in, savouring all the precious juices.
For mains we go for the Beef Shin (Osso Bucco, £17.50) which turns out to be the wrong choice for us. Although well presented, the meat is fairly dry and needs gravy to save it, only a tiny puddle of 'jus' isn't enough. I regret not ordering the fish and chips jealously looking at plates going out to other tables.
The chowder (£17.50) is better with a similar creamy soup base to the mussels, I would have liked to have seen a bit more luxury seafood in there, a couple of big prawns perhaps (especially for the price) but it's another good choice.
There's a giant bowl of properly good home made chips which look way too big to eat in one go but seem to go down quickly. Fine seasonal veg too.
The desserts are both small and perfectly formed although a little expensive. Anglesey Apple Pannacotta, Celeriac and hazelnut ice-cream, cloves & star anise (£7.50) and a lovely light Rhubarb (a pricey £8.50) finish us off nicely.
The bill comes to just short of £80 (without alcohol) which is a little more than we'd anticipated at lunchtime for good bistro food. It was more marginally expensive than lunch at the new El Gato Negro in Manchester for instance with it's huge city centre rent, million pound interior and expensive product (Carabineros prawns). In comparison, using inexpensive produce (like the osso bucco), small portions (the desserts) and what must be marginal rent in a relatively rural area, it seems a little overpriced to me for this style of food.
However, The Marram Grass Café is still a really lovely place to eat. The food is good and the staff are charming. It's justifiably popular for this reason, surely proving that there is a market for decent local food. I'd love to see this coastline dotted with similar restaurants but sadly this isn't the case. North Wales generally isn't really the easiest area to find decent places to eat at any level (believe me, we've tried). Fresh fish is perversely hard to come by too (apart from the obvious usually piss poor greasy fish and chips). Because of their scarcity, we should cherish places like The Marram Grass Café even more and hope that this encourages others to follow.
*You can combine The Marram Grass Café with one of the finest beaches in Britain as we did. Nearby Newborough or Llanfairpwllgwyngyll if you prefer, is a perfect place to walk your dog then snooze in the sun after lunch. 
* The Marram Grass Café is fully dog friendly too, even inside.

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