Come Dine With Me winner takes over pub in Welsh beauty spot

Chris Blakeborough-Pownall is the new landlord of The Gower Inn, Parkmill
-Credit: (Image: The Gower Inn)

A Come Dine With Me winner who would frequent his local pub whenever he walked his dogs at a nearby beach 20 years ago can now be found on the other side of the bar. Gower man Chris Blakeborough-Pownall has fond memories of popping into The Gower Inn, Parkmill, with his sister every Sunday after the pair walked their dogs along Three Cliffs Bay - and has now taken over as landlord.

After a stint living in Australia, Chris returned to his roots in Wales in 2019 and started working as a bouncer at a bar and for a chain restaurant, but soon realised his dream was to run his own place. Now, after searching for the right venue to take on, Chris feels he's "lucked out" with The Gower Inn and took the helm last month.

Whilst the pub has been renowned locally for its location and community feel, Chris says its reputation for food had started to slip a few years ago. So with this in mind, Chris says he has introduced an entirely new menu with high-quality and local produce.

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And as summer finally arrives, he and his partner are delighted that The Gower Inn is now fully operational. For the latest Swansea news, sign up to our newsletter here

"My biggest passion in life has always been food: food, hospitality and hosting," Chris explained. "I once had 32 people over on a Boxing Day.

"I grew up in the area and when I was about 20/21, my sister and I used to walk our dogs on a Sunday at Three Cliffs Bay and go have a pint in the pub. It's also the same pub where I met my stepmother for the first time, when she was on a date with my dad in about 1999."

Discussing how he became the new landlord of The Gower Inn, Chris continued: "I was in the army for a long time and then I lived in Australia for nine years doing quantity surveying. In 2017, I came back to Gower for the first time in 12 years and I knew I needed to come back.

"I finally moved back to the UK in April 2019 to be near family. Gower called to me, it was hiraeth I guess. I worked as a bouncer and then on the doors for a chain, and I'd host dinner parties for people and was cheffing - but I wanted to have my own restaurant.

"Then, I went on Come Dine With Me on its last episode in Swansea. It was filmed in September 2021 but didn't air until February 2022 - I served pan-seared scallops, garlic-crusted lamb rump with a cockle risotto and demi-glace, and a white chocolate and dark chocolate torte. I won. That's when I realised, this has to happen."

The Gower Inn, Parkmill is under new management
The Gower Inn, Parkmill is under new management -Credit:The Gower Inn

"We've really lucked out with The Gower Inn, it's in a phenomenal location and it's a pillar-stone of the Gower community - so when it came up, I threw myself at it," he added. "I opened The Gower Inn on May 18, 2024 and locals tell me it's been really good to have someone who cares, and is in the community, running the pub. I want this place to be renowned for its food - so we're using local produce from Gower Butcher, Swansea Fish, Motley Pies in Gowerton and it's all made to a very, very high standard.

"On the menu, we've got pub classics - we couldn't not, we're a country pub - like steak and ale pie, scampi, fish and chips - these dishes are simple but done well. Then we've got our grill section with steaks (Welsh beef) and then we've got dishes like our 'naughty chips' which are as sinful as possible.

"Proper chips with our own pulled-pork and BBQ sauce, they're a big seller. And our burgers are flying out, especially the BBQ bad boy burger. Wednesday is steak night, with our special deals on steak and on Sundays, we offer proper roasts. We've also got weekly specials like fresh mackerel, mussels in garlic butter, venison with pappardelle pasta, sea bass."

On the menu: 'Naughty chips'
On the menu: 'Naughty chips' -Credit:The Gower Inn
On Sundays, The Gower Inn serves some amazing roast dinners! Pictured: roast pork
On Sundays, The Gower Inn serves some amazing roast dinners! Pictured: roast pork -Credit:The Gower Inn

Chris runs The Gower Inn with his partner who has 12 years experience running bars and restaurants, and the pair have a team of a dozen staff. Chris said he would like to thank all his customers for the warm welcome he has received since taking on The Gower Inn.

"My vision is to put the pub back on the map - this is food and this is pleasure," he added.

The Gower Inn can be found at Parkmill, Gower (nr Swansea) SA3 2EQ.

The pub is open from 12pm to 11pm Mondays to Saturdays and from 12pm to 10pm on Sundays. Food served 12pm to 9pm (Monday to Saturday: full menu, Sundays: reduced 'normal menu' due to Sunday Roast offerings)