CLOSED IN THE OFF SEASON – CHECK THEIR FACEBOOK PAGE OR RING FOR OPENING TIMES.
Catherine Whelahan’s popular seaside restaurant is in a neat modern building that you’d easily mistake for a house at first glance, on the right-hand side of the narrow street as you go through the fishing village of Clogherhead to the beach.
The fairly large ground floor restaurant is more formal than you might expect for the location, but all are welcome, whether you’ve just had a windswept walk on the beach or are dressed in your Sunday best. Upstairs, there’s a large multi-purpose lounge area with various uses, including aperitifs and coffee at busy times. In good weather there are a few tables where you can sit outside and enjoy the sunshine and sea views.
You don’t have to be a fish-lover to enjoy a meal here. Menus offer a range of meat dishes (all meat is 100% Irish), such as an 8oz fillet steak with café de paris butter, pepper sauce and mushrooms or a supreme of chicken with crushed new potatoes and a tomato and roast garlic sauce, while a vegetarian option might be a pea and mint risotto.
The speciality, though, is the local seafood, landed from their own trawlers at the nearby fishing harbour of Port Oriel. Standout dishes might include grilled fillet of hake with chilli and garlic butter, sauté potatoes and prawns; pan-fried monkfish with potato cake and sauce vierge; or lobster with brandy cream and garlic butter.
But many fans travel here specially for the Clogherhead scampi: an exceptional dish, this is a generous portion of Dublin Bay prawns (langoustines),cooked and served the traditional way with sauce tartare...
Desserts are simple but elegant and could include something like a crepe topped with butterscotch sauce, while the artisan ice cream comes from Burkes Farm in County Meath.
In addition to the full menu, a bar menu offers lighter and less expensive food, such as a decadent seafood chowder with homemade brown bread, feather-light and crisp calamari with chilli mayo, open-faced sandwiches, the Little Strand burger, soya-glazed chicken wings and freshly baked scones.
Children have their own kids’ menu, but there's also a selection of dishes from the main menu available as half portions.
Come for an elegant three-course meal, a jazz and tapas evening (check their Facebook page for updates) or just pop in for a warming bowl of seafood chowder and a glass of wine or a coffee and a scone after an easy walk through the nearby cliffs or on the beach, but either way you'll enjoy the top-rate food in this charming seaside setting.