‘Anglesey has fabulous produce and miles of underused beaches. It’s a little haven,’ says Claire Lara, head chef at Oyster Catcher. Not that there is anything under-the-radar about the restaurant which Claire leads. An eco-friendly Huf Haus design that rises out of the sand dunes on the coast at Rhosneigr, this bar, restaurant and ad hoc BBQ spot can, on a baking hot summer’s day, do a whopping 800 covers. Regulars head straight for the extensive first-floor decked terrace area, which includes several tables tucked into cute, brightly painted beach huts. Where possible, Claire (2010 winner of Masterchef: The Professionals – loves to showcase superlative Anglesey ingredients, principally Menai Straits crab, mussels and lobster, Welsh beef and lamb and, of course, the island’s Halen Môn sea salt.
There’s a natural fish bias on her menus, where you might find haddock and chips with homemade tartare sauce (the fish is first marinated in lemon and thyme); sea bass with a warm potato salad and roasted tomatoes; or scallops with roasted cauliflower, Bury black pudding, cauliflower purée, golden raisin dressing and chicken jus. Unusually, the Oyster Catcher is run as a Fifteen-style training academy for aspiring young chefs. It is owned by the Timpson Foundation, the charitable arm of the national chain of Timpson’s shoe repair and key-cutting stores. Consequently, Claire is very keen on everything being cooked properly, from-scratch, in her kitchen. ‘It’s important the cadets learn the basics of cooking before they go off and try to make hot jellies and powders,’ she says. Starters from £4.95, mains from £11.95; oystercatcheranglesey.co.uk