An attractive limestone-fronted building on the main street in Midleton, Pat O’Donovan’s highly-regarded restaurant blends traditional and modern decor - some features have been retained from its previous use as a pub, tables are elegantly set up with classic white linen tablecloths and napkins, and original modern oil paintings adorn the walls.
But the most interesting feature is the hand-written mouthwateringly promising menu which, with a choice of about nine starters and main courses and half a dozen desserts, offers a varied and adventurous meal and excellent value. Nothing but the best ingredients are allowed in this kitchen, and they are locally sourced where possible - fish comes from Ballycotton, mussels from Rossmore and scallops (when available) from Castletownbere.
The cooking by head chef Ian Cronin and his team is excellent, and some typical dishes will give the flavour - baked Ardsallagh goat’s cheese on puff pastry topped with fennel seeds, with a tomato chutney, blueberry and rosemary dressing, followed by a main course of roast chicken breast with chorizo and smoked paprika stuffing, with a wild mushroom and brandy sauce, and a delicious dessert of poached plum meringue roulade, with raspberry coulis: all perfectly cooked well presented and full of flavour.
Efficient, informative staff ensure that guests will enjoy their meal to the full, and a good wine list includes some interesting, unusual wines, and a fair choice of half bottles.
An early dinner menu offers outstanding value at about €25 for three courses, with a choice of five starters and mains and three desserts, many of which are off the main menu.