I was expecting a lot more from my visit to the new Dylans Llandudno. I’d booked to cheer up my mum who has been ill recently. She was so happy when I told her I’d got a table for the opening day. I thought there was the potential to be some minor slip-ups on an opening day, but I had heard excellent reports about Dylans so I thought the food would be top notch.
I’m struggling to find any real positives, to be honest; the meal just didn’t go well. The only real positive I could take was that whoever has renovated the building has done a lovely sympathetic job. Everything else from the service to the food was a complete letdown.
We arrived at Dylan’s to happy smiles and a friendly welcome, all good so far. The waiter then led us to a table to the rear of the restaurant. For four people, the small round table just didn’t seem appropriate. It was far too cramped.
My mum had been so excited she had been studying the menu for weeks, so she already knew what she wanted. I was torn between the chicken in a basket and the mussels, and Alison decided to go for the same thing my mum wanted, the baked sea trout with pak choi, sweet potato and mussels in a crab bisque. By the time the waitress came to take our order, I had decided to go for the Celtic Dragon Mussels.
While we were waiting, there seemed to be a lot of confusion about the food order at the table next to ours. We also noticed that the waiters and waitress’ seemed to have a look of confusion in their eyes. I suppose that is all very typical for the opening day of a new restaurant, but to be honest, we had expected much more.
The food arrived at our table in a not too unreasonable amount of time. The waitress asked who was having the salmon and we shook our heads and asked if it was the sea trout. A look of confusion flashed across her face, and she tentatively nodded and put the food down. My mussels came in a large tin dish that looked a little bit like a mini table barbeque.
My mum and Alison both looked slightly disappointed with their meal. The crab bisque had no colour to it, and when they tasted it, the flavour matched the lack of colour. The sweet potato had no colour to it, it looked as if it had been boiled off and then plonked in the flavourless bisque. My mussels which I expected to be healthy and plump looked small and withered. The initial poor impression built up with the eyes was backed up when I tasted them. Gritty and tasteless, I ate four and gave up. Two of the four mussels on my mum’s plate were served closed. She asked the waitress whether they should be served closed and she replied ‘just try and open them, they should be alright’.
The problems with the service and general air of confusion could be easily written off due to first day nerves. The poor quality of ingredients and lack of flavour in the food couldn’t be excused though. By this point, my mum had had enough and went to find the manager. The manager came across as a lovely man and explained that there will always be teething problems on an opening day. He explained that mussels were locally sourced from Conwy and were coming to the end of the season. He then offered to remove the mussels from the bill.
The manager then gave us a tour of the upstairs areas and cocktail bar. The place really has been renovated to a high standard, and it is a very atmospheric place. We all commented that it would look particularly atmospheric at night. With the food we were served up on the day though, I think we’ll leave it for a while before going again. There are a lot of excellent places to eat in Llandudno so Dylan’s will have to up their game in order to succeed.