Eithna is back! A favourite destination for seafood lovers for many a year, fans distraught by Eithna O’Sullivan’s absence will be delighted to find her old premises on the harbour is teeming with life and her good food once more. And you certainly can’t miss it, as it’s there big and bold - Eithna's By the Sea attractively painted on the front wall in her trademark style.
And her time away was well spent, passing on her culinary skills through cookery courses - and also going ‘back to schoool’ herself and completing a thesis on Seaweed As An Artisan Food Product, a fascinating subject which has not only inspired many deliciously practical applications on the menu here (a seaweed tasting plate is in the making for next season) but also a successful product range of pestos, made with local and seasonal land and sea vegetables, which are used in the kitchen - in breads and desserts, for example, and as accompaniments - and for sale.
Whether sitting in the atmospheric restaurant (complete with fresh flowers on the tables) or outside, what a delightful place to enjoy a lovely light meal: open seafood salad on brown bread with dressed salad, perhaps, or half lobster with mayonnaise and dressed salad - or grilled mackerel with seaweed pesto. Finger bowls are provided, and everything is delicious, including the freshly baked breads, superb organic leaves and beautiful salad dressing.
The simple style, sure handed cooking and attention to detail allow the flavours, colours and textures of top quality ingredients to take centre stage - and, although many people travel especially for the lobster, which may not not always be available, there are plenty of other delicious things to choose from.
The day menu (plus blackboard specials) offers plenty of affordable choices too - lovely open sandwiches, for example, with seafood, chicken, goat cheese, or unusually, lentil dhal, served on brown bread with leaves and fresh pesto. There’s a good chowder and a soup of the day - for a quick bite, a cup of soup and half an open sandwich makes a inexpensive option, or you could just have a cup of coffee and homemade scones with home made forest fruits jam.
Yummy desserts too, notably the great tarts that have always been a speciality of Eithna's - chocolate, peach and almond tart, for example, or classic lemon or apple.
Many diners will assume that Eithna's is just a little ground floor café, but there is also a first floor dining room - with lovely views - seating about 24, which is used when they are open in the evening and for groups.
2013 was Eithna's first season back in Mullaghmore after quite a gap but it went well, so a landline, credit card machine and Wifi are all planned.
Eithna is also available for outside catering, and her range of pestos (including some with seaweeds) is available for purchase here and from some speciality shops in the area.