In an attractive stone building which formerly served as an RIC barracks, chef-proprietor Michael Brooks opened the Village Restaurant in 1986, making his mark as a culinary pioneer in the area; there’s a real country atmosphere about the place, with a pleasant conservatory overlooking fields.
The style is imaginative - traditional French meets modern Irish perhaps; unusually for the area (especially in 1986) fresh fish has always featured strongly, and wide ranging seasonal menus include treats like lobster and scallops – even the Sunday lunch menu may include grilled black sole on the bone and grilled Clare Island organic salmon, which is remarkable value on a €26 menu.
Michael sees no reason why fresh seafood should not be available throughout our small island, especially now that improved roads mean the coast is only an hour's drive away; he carries a lot of seafood, buying in small amounts from half a dozen suppliers and offering a lot of daily specials, which ensures a quick turnover and has worked well for him over the past 25 years. He likes to serve seafood in fairly simple dishes, to retain the true flavour of the particular fish.
Michael often offers less usual dishes too, such as roast wild rabbit and game, in season, and there are always popular dishes like midland lamb and a couple of interesting vegetarian dishes.
There is a true love of food which, together with caring service under the direction of Michael’s sister, Marie Brooks, and good value, has earned a loyal following.
A balanced and informative wine list includes seven house recommendations (€20-28) and nearly a dozen half bottles.
* Early bird menu available all evening Tuesday - Friday two courses €22