On the last day of his visit, on 12th September, my father and I went into Tywyn to eat at a restaurant called Proper Gander. A quirky name. I had picked up a leaflet for it in Dai’s Shed and checked out the website and the menu looked splendid, emphasizing that most of the produce used is sourced locally. The Welsh lamb, beef and pork come from the Aberdovey butcher in Chapel Square. The sea bass, lobster and crab are from Dai’s Shed in Aberdovey or from an alternative source in Tywyn, and the Menai scallops and oysters are from Pwllheli. There is also a wine bar downstairs selling Welsh ales, ciders, whiskey, gin and vodka. I am amazed that Proper Gander has been there for five seasons and I have only just noticed it. It has taken me a few days to write it up because I’ve been busy, but it was a great evening.
Proper Gander is a beautifully presented restaurant with a lovely warm atmosphere, recently redecorated, and can sit up to 45 covers. It was by no means full when we pitched up at 6.30 at the end of the season, but by the time we left five other tables were occupied.
There were two menus, the standard menu, which includes an imaginative selection of vegetarian options, and a steak menu, and two wine menus from two different suppliers, one of which is based on Dolgellau. I was seriously tempted by the steak menu, but in the end went for a more adventurous choice. The food was divine. I chose grilled halloumi and za’tar with harissa-infused yogurt on a bed of tiny salad leaves with pomegranate to start, followed by lamb adobo, described on the menu as pancetta-wrapped lamb stuffed with a filling of Porcini mushrooms, fresh oregano, mint, parsley, garlic and shallots, and served with with peppers, courgettes, tiny diced red onion, creamed mash and a wonderfully fresh chimichurri sauce. My father chose pear and stilton pate with a pear chutney followed by squid ink risotto and hake with asparagus, sugarsnaps and samphire. It was all cooked to perfection. My father waxed particularly lyrical about the cooking of the hake, but it was all gorgeous, and beautifully presented. The wine was excellent and didn’t bankrupt us. Other meals that were going past also looked stunning, and next time I go I will be torn between some of their wonderful seafood choices or diving headlong into the steak menu.
We were welcomed warmly and were served with friendly professionalism. We had lots of questions to ask about the restaurant and how long it had been there, and it was great to be able to chat. When we left, we said goodbye to the chef and returned home feeling very pleased with a great, celebratory evening.
If you are looking for the restaurant on a first visit, it is at the opposite end of the High Street from the railway station, immediately opposite Neptune Road and the memorial to the Boer War. There is plenty of parking at this time of year. Enjoy!
Proper Gander can be found at:
4 High Street
How could you have ommitted the vital fact that the chef is a dedicated Liverpool supporter. Cooking of that quality requires a special inspiration. not found in places such as Manchester. WGB.
A shocking oversight. What was I thinking?
This is actually the second incarnation of the Proper Gander. Up until about 2007 the restaurant was run by a lovely chap called Peter and his wife. However, they retired from running the restaurant and it went through a series of management who did not do the brand or place justice. Reputation was lost and the restaurant went through some lean wilderness years, until about 2014 when the current owners took over and recaptured the quality of old.
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