Lovely views across Lough Swilly may be the trump card at this smart-casual restaurant, but it has plenty else going for it too; finding it is a joy for a lot of happy visitors – who then have the added pleasure of walking off their meals on the lovely sandy beach afterwards.
Welcoming signs at the door ensure that nobody passes unknowingly and, once inside, the stylish yet laid-back two-storey restaurant and Claire McGowan’s friendly staff will have you hooked. Menus and water arrive promptly at your table, along with a bit of banter to make you feel at home.
Chef Peter Cheesman, a former head chef at Rathmullan House just across the lough, has an enviable reputation in Donegal and it is well earned. Demonstrating pride in locally sourced produce, his menus list valued suppliers of ingredients that include locally caught fish and seafood, Donegal dry aged beef, organic vegetables and salad from the Grianan Estate and oil from Donegal Rapeseed Co. And good ingredients translate into very good food indeed, as Peter cooks with stylish simplicity and every dish is presented with flair.
A Summer Café Menu offers a tempting daytime choice ranging from soups, (including a super 'Lough Swilly seafood chowder') salads, designer sandwiches and bakes to platters and tasty hot main courses like Mulroy Bay moules marinières pommes frites, whilst smartly presented evening menus up the ante a bit to include starters like tasting of local crab (tian, spring roll and crab cake, served with vanilla orange dressing) alongside the ubiquitous tiger prawns (tempura of prawns with Asian slaw) and mains including several fish dishes, pan fried Silverhill duckling and a choice of steaks. And, as everything to do with vegetables and salads is especially appealing, vegetarians will not feel overlooked.
Everything is freshly made on site, and that includes items on a nice little Kids Corner menu - and desserts, which are a real highlight land (unusually) include home made ice creams along with treats like lemon meringue posset and an intriguing Beach House snowball (poached meringue wrapped in praline with peach and apricot food). A proper Afternoon Tea is offered too - and, on Sunday, there's a more traditional lunch menu featuring a contemporary take on roasts.
Although not long, the informative wine list is carefully selected and includes a fair choice of wines by the glass and half carafe; cocktails and liqueur coffees are listed separately.
With that view, plus seriously tasty, attractively presented food served by lovely staff in stylish surroundings, this is indeed a pleasant place to eat.