Situated at the top of Main Street in Kenmare opposite the Landsdowne Hotel, this well known building was once a bank.
Dating back to the early 19th century and full of character, it was opened as a restaurant and B&B in 1992, by the late Matt d’Arcy (formerly head chef at the nearby Park Hotel Kenmare) and his wife Aileen, who built up a national reputation for fine cooking and professional service.The restaurant was later leased for some years, but Aileen d’Arcy is now running it again herself and has renamed it after her grandfather, the explorer Tom Crean.
The name and appealing menus displayed on the smartly maintained building attract plenty of customers, who will find a warm and interested welcome - and a relaxed atmosphere in which to read the menu.
There's a great buzz in the big and airy room, due to friendly and professional service by Aileen and some of the team who have worked with her here before. You can actually dine in the old bank vault, or in front of an open fire - or, in fine summer weather, the attractive Mews Courtyard is used for outdoor dining.
Matt and Aileen always had a strong fish menu, and Aileen is keeping it that way. The lobster tank is in situ, and all the old favourites are here - mussels, sole, oysters all ways, sea bass, monkfish...
Local foods are key to Aileen, who favours local organic produce as far as possible; she oversees the kitchen herself and is proud to credit suppliers including Star Seafoods (Dauros, Kenmare), Spillane Seafoods (Killarney), Flesk Meats (Ballyvourney), Roger O'Sullivan butchers (Kenmare Black Pudding) and Billy Clifford's renowned organic vegetables and saladings (Kenmare).
Eggs are supplied by their own organic hens, and herbs also create the smallest possible eco footprint as they come from a herb garden that Aileen has recently developed at the back of the restaurant.
Menus offered include an extensive à la carte and an early evening value menu and the wine list also caters for varying budgets.
The cooking is competent, and dishes enjoyed on a recent visit by the Guide include an excellent hot seafood terrine (salmon, sole, prawns) with a well made beurre blanc, also a monkfish main course, perfectly cooked and served on a bed of ratatouille with a good selection of vegetables offered separately.
All breads and desserts are home made: your meal will get off to a good start with freshly baked treacle and walnut bread, or soft baked bread rolls - and a it should end well too, perhaps with a baked-to-order chocolate fondant and some excellent coffee, hot and strong.
*The Tom Crean Room is available for larger groups, or private dining (30).