When they opened their newest restaurant in the grade II-listed Morannedd building in 2015, co-owner David Evans and his team at Dylan’s knew they were moving into a spectacular home. As well as retaining the art deco features of Sir Clough Williams-Ellis’s promenade design, these food lovers set about nurturing links with local suppliers and fishermen, who often light up the restaurant’s year-round events programme, telling tales of the famous Menai mussel.
“It’s a way of introducing our customers to the local seafood supply in a very informal way,” says Evans, who has established strong bonds with Bangor University’s School of Ocean Sciences, a frequent partner of the team’s visits to schools and festivals across the country. “Seafood is such a healthy and sustainable option. We try to persuade people to have mussels for supper instead of breaded, golden food.”
Criccieth is an enchanting setting, with a population that more than doubles from its usual 1,700 residents for the annual bonfire Dylan’s organise on the beach. The restauranteurs are as passionate about preserving the beauty of their surroundings as they are about the produce of the Welsh coastline.
“Criccieth is a beautiful, quaint and unspoilt Welsh seaside town,” says Evans. “We’re right on the beach with views of the castle and out to sea.” That vantage point can lead to surprises: during one meeting, Evans was distracted by the sight of a pod of dolphins. “They were only 100 metres away from us, just swimming around, jumping in and out of the water,” he says. “It’s a wonderful, natural environment, very warm and friendly – it’s a special place.”