John and Carmel O’Briens’ fine hotel overlooking Ballycotton Harbour enjoys a magnificent location on the sea side of the road, with a path down through its own gardens to the beach.
The O’Briens completely rebuilt the hotel in the 1990s, keeping the building in sympathy with the traditional style and scale of the surrounding buildings and harbour, and its immaculate grounds, classy cream paintwork and smart black railings create an excellent first impression.
Traditional, homely public areas include a pleasant bar with clubby leather furniture, a cosy atmosphere - and friendly staff.
Accommodation is comfortable and, although the rooms are beginning to feel a little dated (especially the bathrooms), they are regularly refurbished. Bedrooms vary according to their position in the building, but they are spacious and all except two of the ground floor rooms (which are quietly positioned on the side of the building) have sea views.
Small conferences/banqueting (40/90). Children welcome (under 12 free in parents' room, cot available without charge, baby sitting arranged). No pets. Garden, tennis, fishing, walking.
Rooms 35 (2 suites, 5 no-smoking rooms, 5 ground floor). B&B from about €65pps. Lift, all day room service, turndown service. Closed Nov-Apr; may open weekends only in shoulder seasons.
Capricho at the Bayview:
Head chef Ciaran Scully has been at the Bayview since 1996 and his creative cooking has earned a following. The restaurant is smartly furnished, and a recent refurb has seen the demise of the original traditional feel - it is now more stylish, although some may find the the contemporary (curtainless) style a little cold, especially after dark. The best tables have lovely harbour and sea views – and, in fine weather, light meals may be served in the garden.
Ciaran is a committed chef, who takes pride in sourcing the finest ingredients and crediting local produce and suppliers on menus. However, the cooking is classic French with contemporary international overtones and there may also be some retro dishes and an element of fun, too.
Fresh fish and seafood from Ballycotton harbour is, of course, a highlight, but Ciaran Scully also values produce of the land very highly and you will find many interesting foods named on menus, notably rare breed pork which is produced nearby at Killeagh.
Unusual speciality dishes in the repertoire include variations of ‘Fishy, Fishy, Fishy’, one of which is a trio of deep-fried Ballycotton prawn with avocado & chili salsa, a timbale of crab and Shanagarry smoked salmon with citrus dressing; another, based on braised pigs cheek and Gubbeen sausage, is called ‘Three Little Pigs’. In lesser hands these fanciful dishes might sound worrying, but here they are well-founded.
Vegetarian dishes are listed separately, with some also suitable for vegans.
Delicious classical desserts may include a Jelly of new season strawberries with rosewater marshmallow, raspberry sorbet and elderflower syrup and a selection of farmhouse cheeses is served with a terrine of dried figs and crab apple jelly.
An informative wine list includes a good choice of half bottles.
At its best a visit to this fine restaurant can be memorable, but it may be wise to check that the Head Chef will be in the kitchen - especially if there is a big event on at the nearby sister property, Garryvoe Hotel, which is one of Ireland's most popular wedding venues.