Located above the Strand House Bar in the heart of the picturesque seaside village of Strandhill, proprietor Anthony Gray’s hidden gem of a restaurant offers tempting menus specialising in steak and seafood.
The restaurant took its name Trá Bán (White Strand in Gaelic) from the beautiful unspoiled beach which it overlooks, and stunning views of the Blackrock lighthouse dating from 1834 and the Clocháns on Innismurray Island can also be enjoyed from this first floor dining room.
With quality and freshness a priority, there is a commitment to using only the finest local ingredients and chef Cedric Roussilhe takes pride in listing his suppliers on the menu, among them the Sligo fishmonger John Flynn, who supplies fresh fish and shellfish; Dathi O’Dowd of Mullaghmore Sea Farm, supplier of fresh lobsters; Gerry Byrnes butchers, Cliffoney (beef and lamb), BD Foods (poultry) and Total Produce of Sligo (vegetables).
There is no getting away from the seaside in this busy restaurant, as walls are adorned with seascapes and fish dishes abound on menus which are wide ranging and carefully crafted to combine quality with popular appeal.
Good versions of many dishes that have stood the test of time feature – fresh fish and seafood chowder, crab claws in garlic butter, anything on the steak menu, and reassuringly traditional desserts are all examples - but a favourite starter that indicates the chef’s more adventurous mindset is his famed speciality of Irish smoked salmon sushi style, which is stuffed with rice and crab meat, rolled in seaweed and served with tossed salad and lightly spiced wasabi sauce...
And then there is a traditional dish that also has novelty, the Killybegs pavé of halibut steamed and served in a conifoil bag with julienne vegetables and provencal sauce; this very tasty and substantial main course has an element of surprise and, like most of the dishes, it is accompanied by an appealing selection of seasonal vegetables.
The atmosphere is relaxed, and the meal experience is casual and unrushed, so the diner has plenty of time between courses to watch the surfers catch a wave and, on a good evening, to enjoy the wonderful sunset over the Atlantic. And there’s always room for another little spoon, so why not round off an enjoyable meal with Cedric’s French Tartelette, a traditional pastry base with vanilla custard and fresh seasonal fruits.
Service is friendly and efficient, with staff displaying good menu knowledge and able to explain exactly how dishes are cooked and served.
A shortish wine list with brief descriptions offers a selection of mid-priced French, Italian, Chilean and South African wines, all between about €19.95 to €28.
The value offered is good – notably on the 3-course early dinner (just €23, including tea or coffee).
Also at: Eala Bhán in Sligo Town