Now well established as one of the top destinations in West Clare, John and Brid O’Meara’s attractive thatched restaurant with accommodation overlooks Spanish Point Beach and offers not only delicious food but also six spacious and luxuriously appointed suites, which can be available as room-only or on a self catering basis as they all have a kitchenette.
With its white-washed walls and cobbled stone courtyard, the low U-shaped group of buildings sits well in its surroundings and combines the comforts and style of the new with a pleasingly traditional air.
Although the high-spec restoration and development of the property gives it a new feel, it actually dates back to 1840 - and Thomas Moroney, the local landlord who built it, chose well when he selected the site, which is one of the best in the area.
Today, visitors can reap the benefit and enjoy wonderful views of the famously sandy beach, pounding surf and lingering sunsets from the comfort of the restaurant, sun lounge or terrace – all areas where food is served, depending on the time and weather.
While informality and pocket-friendly pricing is emphasised, the restaurant and sun lounge are impressive high-ceilinged areas, and sumptuously decorated to give a sense of occasion at any time - and, with head chef Aaron Noonan heading up the kitchen team, the food matches up to the surroundings.
During the day in summer, light food is served in the sun lounge (or on the terrace, weather permitting). An appealing menu ranges from a selection of open sandwiches (crab and cucumber with lemon dressing, perhaps, or roast beef with horseradish cream); to plates, such as Irish cheese platter with pear & apple chutney, and hot dishes (maybe pork and black pudding ‘bangers & mash' with caramelised onion, or risotto of the day), or simply homemade biscuits to go with a tea or coffee – or warm scones with local Doolin jam and clotted cream for afternoon tea.
In the evening, an à la carte offering about eight choices on each course is served in the restaurant (reservations required). While there may be some overlap with the daytime menu, especially among the starters, the range of dishes offered is wide and carefully devised to allow a choice between traditional and more adventurous dishes, while also keeping prices accessible.
There's plenty of local seafood of course - a starter of Liscannor Bay crabmeat, for example, and main courses will always include a Catch of the Day as well as a couple of fish dishes on the main menu - also hearty meat dishes, typically a 10oz Hereford sirloin steak with traditional trimmings, or pork rack and belly with pancetta & apple purée. There will be at least one appealing vegetarian option, and other dishes are marked gluten free and/or vegetarian as appropriate.
Desserts like an Espresso crème brûlée with hazelnut biscotti and pistachio ice cream may be hard for some to resist but those with a savoury tooth may prefer the Munster cheese selection with Red Cliff chutney. And, to round it all off, the (very good) coffee comes with mini chocolate chip cookies...
Restaurant Seats 60 (banqueting 60; outdoors, 18; private room, 20). L&D daily, 12-6pm & 6-9.30pm. A la carte (except for group menus). House wines from €18.50. Children welcome (high chair, childrens menu, baby changing facilities). Wheelchair friendly. Closed all Nov & Jan & Mon/Tue in low season (except bank hols).
And so to bed, if you are lucky enough to have taken one of the gorgeous rooms. Beautifully and very comfortably furnished with separate seating areas, these romantic pads have superb views, excellent insulation from the sea breezes, top quality 6ft beds, flame effect remote control fires, 32" LCD flat screen televisions, internet access, direct dial telephone and a discreet, well organised kitchenette with tea and coffee making facilities and breakfast welcome pack.
Some bathrooms may not be quite up to the exceptionally high spec of the room itself, but all have power showers and some other extra features, such as magnifying shaving mirrors and some have a full bath.