In the fourth generation of family ownership, Padraig O’Sullivan’s attractive establishment near the Gap of Dunloe is always a pleasure to visit.
The old tree at the front was left safely in place during renovations which, together with other original features like the stonework and an open fire, all contribute to the genuine character. The family take pride in running this fine pub, and the upstairs restaurant is a natural extension of the bar business.
Local stone also features in the restaurant, which is an atmospheric room with a welcoming open fire, vaulted ceiling with old wooden beams, wooden floors, and leather covered chairs at solid wooden tables - which are set with good cutlery, including fish knives and forks, and fresh flowers.
Head chef Tim Brosnan, has been cooking here since 1999, and pride in using local produce is evident, although menus could be used to better effect to promote it. There's a bias towards fish, but you'll also find favourites like herb crusted rack of lamb along with a good choice of other meats, and poultry - possibly including a tempting supreme of chicken with wild mushroom risotto thyme scented jus. Vegetarian and gluten free dishes are also offered.
In summer you are likely to find at least six types of seafood listed - to start, you might try the seafood chowder (filled with mussels, salmon, prawns and salmon), or the locally smoked salmon. Beaufort seafood platter is a speciality main course, and other choices might include lemon sole in a white wine cream sauce with prawns, and perhaps a dish of roasted scallops and prawns in a lemon and chive sauce, with saffron rice; vegetables merit mention, as all main courses are served with an excellent selection of five.
Portions are generous but, if you can manage it, you might enjoy farmhouse cheeses or choose a dessert from favourites like meringue with seasonal fruit, sticky toffee pudding, apple tart or chocolate gateaux - and good coffee to finish too.
Service, under the direction of restaurant manager Assumpta Dempsey, is excellent, with well-informed staff combining friendliness and efficiency.
About 35 wines are offered on a well chosen list - half bottles are not listed but it is worth asking; limited choice by the glass.
Pricing is fair, especially Sunday lunch which is very popular and good value.
*A short traditional bar menu is offered, Tue-Thu evenings.