Siblings Michael and Laura Cashman took over the lease of this famous waterside pub in 2012 and it’s a really nice little spot - excellently kept, but simple and appropriate.
Michael, a dedicated chef who trained under Rory O’Connell at Ballymaloe, serves up delicious carefully sourced local foods - notably seafood from Ballycotton, great steaks from their Midleton butcher and East Ferry free range poultry - while Laura leads a very friendly, knowledgeable and efficient service team.
Food is served in a nice old traditional bar that overlooks the water and opens into a more formal seating area at the back - and there’s lots of outdoor space too, where barbecues are held in fine weather.
Menus offer a wide choice, so much in fact that you may find it hard to choose. But, whether you go for timeless classics like seared Castletownbere scallops with wilted baby spinach, chorizo and beurre blanc sauce or house versions of traditional pub favourites, you can be sure that will be made with the highest quality ingredients, and generous too.
Bill Casey’s locally produced organic smoked salmon makes a lovely starter with pickled cucumber and homemade brown bread, and some dishes are offered in two sizes - a vegetarian dish of grilled Ardsallagh goats cheese, perhaps (served on a toasted bruschetta with tomato salsa, basil pesto and balsamic glaze) or a warm salad with smoked bacon and Clonakilty black pudding (served, unusually, with caramelised cinnamon apples and parsnip crisps).
Seafood stars among the main courses, especially in summer, but steak is a winner here too and there are times when a chargrilled Aberdeen Angus sirloin steak with a red onion confit and homemade pepper sauce could be hard to resist.
Everything is homemade - the breads, the hand cut chips, the freshly breaded fish, the handmade lamb burger, the sauces (including custard) all have that special freshness and home cooked flavour and texture, and that’s where the difference lies.
Likewise, the food offered for children is not unusual but it’s clearly freshly made and, while not cheap, the value for money for the high quality given is excellent right across the menu.
Simple, wholesome food using local, fresh ingredients - it all comes together brilliantly and people love the local feeling and the way the place is run. Worth a detour.