Seen at its best at high water, the Murphy family’s attractive, bright pub is in a secluded location overlooking Little Island, and the attractive decor reflects the surroundings, with a maritime theme in the ground floor bar and eating area.
Acting as both local pub and restaurant, you may expect a lively atmosphere in the busy bar and, when the weather is fine, there will be plenty of people enjoying sunshine at outside tables too.
At busy times it may be difficult to get attention on arrival, but once you’ve made contact, friendly and helpful staff will sort you out with a table at one of three dining areas: around the bar area, where there is bench seating and wooden chairs; a downstairs dining room on the seaward side; and a first floor dining area - where mansard style roof windows (at foot level or overhead) mean you won’t have a view, but there is more than a little consolation on the walls, in the form of a selection of prints by the renowned self-taught Irish artist, Ted Jones.
With wooden topped tables and basic stainless steel cutlery (but linen napkins), the setting is simple and the emphasis is very much on the food, especially seafood, with a lobster tank in situ.
Non fish eaters will find meat, poultry and vegetarian options, of course - also featuring local produce, eg Skeaghanore duck, saddleback pork and Jack McCarthy wild boar pudding - and specials are displayed on a blackboard, but the main menus lean heavily towards seafood and there are dedicated mini-menus for House Speciality Mussels (available four ways, as a starter or main course) and Oysters from nearby Oysterhaven (available in three styles, including a baked version with Murphy’s stout & walnuts, as 3, 6, 9 or 12).
Variations on the main evening menu are offered for lunch, early bird etc, and there is also a children’s menu.
Good quality ingredients are very evident and almost wholly sourced locally, although you might catch a glimpse of the occasional tiger prawn.
In the evening, good breads are presented with little pots of tapenade and hummus, all made in-house; soups are excellent (always a good sign) and the fish cookery is of course a highlight - the straightforward cooking style and presentation are not overly fussy, as befits a pub restaurant.
Overall, the high standard of food, good value and attractive location make for a very pleasant venue, aided by friendly service under the direction of manager Sandra Murphy (who will be well known to TV3 viewers fas a contender on The Apprentice.)
*Barbecues are sometimes held outside in summer (weather permitting), and special occasions are also catered for.