Tim Mason’s deli and seafood restaurant in Dingle is an absolute delight. Discerning locals know how lucky they are to have such an exciting restaurant on their doorstep and it’s just the kind of place that visitors dream of finding - it is not unusual to find a different language spoken at every table.
You can’t miss the brightly-painted exterior from the road, an attractive decked area encloses the outside seating area and, once you get inside, it is obvious that this is a highly focused operation, where only the best will do.
The inside dining space has been extended recently, which makes it much more comfortable, but seriously delicious seafood cookery remains the order of the day for those lucky enough to get a table. Once in, however, restaurant manager Flora Karmer and a knowledgeable team will work their magic to create just the right combination of relaxed friendliness and efficiency.
Everything depends on the fresh fish supply from the boats that day and if there’s no fresh fish, they don’t open (Their motto is "No chips. Nothing frozen. Everything fresh or alive.").
Chefs Jean-Maire Vaireaux and Eric Maillard change the menu every lunch and dinner time and cook wonderful classics, sometimes with a modern twist - examples might include starters like squid flash-fried in garlic butter or smoked mackerel fillet with potato & anchovy and and char-grilled tuna mini-kebabs with lentil salad.
Mains range from homely dishes such as pollock in a potato crust with chive cream to treats like pan seared Blasket Island scallops flambéed in calvados, lemon sole on the bone with toasted almond butter or (at a price) crayfish salad with homemade mayonnaise. At around €35 per 1/2 kilo, lobster is very expensive here (in comparison with many other Irish restaurants), but there is plenty else to choose from.
The cooking is consistently good, although diners are sometimes surprised to be asked 'how they would like their salmon cooked, rare or medium', as if it were steak; medium seems to be the safer reply, unless you like you like your salmon pretty raw.
A short but skilfully assembled wine list - largely sourced by Tim’s brother, Ben Mason, of the Wicklow Wine Company - complements the food perfectly, and you will find over a dozen fish named in five languages on the back: this place is a little gem.