It all began 6 years ago… Sian had just moved back to Pembrokeshire with her architect partner, Simon Vickers, when friends happened to mention the Griffin Inn was on the market – an historic pub in the village of Dale, on Pembrokeshire’s stunning National Park coastline.
Sian’s family had fished these seas and run this seaside pub in years gone by, and Simon’s family had ties with the village too, so they leapt at the opportunity and gave the hostelry a new lease of life with traditional home cooked pub food, and an eclectic mix of real ales.
Then one dark winter’s night, local fisherman Mark Gainfort came and plonked two boxes of fish on the bar – a special gift for the new landlords… Simon rushed off to the kitchen and ended up preparing fish and chips, which went down a storm – as did his steamed bass.
One thing led to another, and a new fish menu was launched the following spring – an immediate hit with locals and visitors alike. Many years and several awards later, Simon remains head chef, working alongside Sian who is in charge of front-of-house, and the culinary emphasis remains on skilled yet simple preparation – allowing the quality of the fish to shine through.
Much of the fish is steamed, with light seasoning, and sauces are never poured over the fish – instead, they’re served as an accompaniment.
To ensure freshness and quality are at their most exceptional, the pub runs its own fishing boat – Griffin Girl, which brings in bass, mullet, bream, mackerel, skate, flounder, lobster, plaice and even the occasional Dover sole. The aforementioned Mark Gainfort skippers the boat, which seems only right!
Diners will discover hake with chorizo and yellow pepper sauce, cod loin with a creamy white asparagus and samphire sauce, scallops with a carrot, leak and white wine sauce, wonderfully fresh lobsters and even deep fried cuttlefish.
It isn’t only the fish that is carefully sourced – if you eat potatoes at the Griffin Inn, chances are they’re grown just across the bay at Bicton Farm. The native-breed beef is from Pembrokeshire too, and the samphire is foraged locally, as is the wild garlic when in season.
And the Griffin Inn takes wine as seriously as its food, with wines chosen to complement menus – don’t miss their new wine list.
Despite being a Mecca for fans of fresh seafood, the Griffin Inn remains a traditional family pub at heart, with roaring log fires in the winter and al fresco dining in the summer. A traditional pub menu sits alongside the fish menu, offering everything from beef and stout pie to hearty homemade soups, and you’ll find a good choice of Welsh real ales too.