When Youen Jacob acquired the pub next door to his long-established restaurant Chez Youen in 2004, this new venture turned out to be the beginning of something much bigger that would transform the centre of Baltimore.
Youen and his family, linked the former Baltimore Bay Guesthouse at the top of the square and The Waterfront pub to create The Waterfront Hotel. Comprising a pub (Jacob’s Bar), two restaurants (The Lookout Restaurant on the first floor, where some of the long-established Chez Youen dishes are still on the menu; and La Jolie Brise Pizza & Grill, on the square) and some fine new rooms in addition to the original ones in the previous Baltimore Guest House.This stylish development is marked by Youen Jacob’s commitment to quality - the new building doesn’t merely fit into the square, it completes it.
The cheerful continental-style café La Jolie Brise Pizza & Grill (see entry; pizza made in the authentic Italian way, also fresh fish and shellfish – no pasta) still spills out on to the pavement and is also accessible from The Waterfront - where Jacob's Bar is similarly designed to spill out onto the square, emphasising the conviviality of this little town. Inside it is bright and airy, but with an open fire for chilly days and a stage at the back, which is used for the many musical events that are held here.
The stylish new rooms are extremely spacious and have lovely bathrooms – and even the rooms at the back have some very special features that will make them at least as desirable as those with a view.
This may seem very like a Jacob takeover of Baltimore but it seems to have been well received locally and, for the visitor, the town is the better for it.
Small conferences/Banqueting (50/70); free broadband wi/fi. Children welcome (under 4s free in parents room, cot available free of charge; half price up to 12 yrs if bed required; baby sitting arranged);
Rooms 13 (all en-suite, 1 junior suite, 3 shower only, 3 family, 1 for disabled); lift; pets permitted by prior arrangement (stay in bedroom, no charge). B&B €60 pps, ss €20. Sea angling, walking & scuba diving all nearby. Closed 24/25 Dec. MasterCard, Visa, Laser.
Accessed through the hotel or by a separate staircase up from the street, this aptly named first floor restaurant above Jacob’s Bar has huge windows allowing a panoramic view of Baltimore Bay and the islands.
The great expanse of glass, a polished stone floor and minimalist table settings create a contemporary tone (and all the hard surfaces also make this a noisy room), while features such as the traditional French granite fireplace are reminiscent of the original Chez Youen Seafood Restaurant.
The menu reflects this, offering a combination of modern dishes and some of the great Breton dishes that Youen Snr brought to Baltimore in the 1970s, notably the famous Seafood Platter, a simple yet stunning arrangement of cascading seafood in the shell.
As always with the Jacobs, the food style is simple and fresh, and chef Sean O'Sullivan's cooking is good. It's also very good value, which particularly suits the mood of the moment. Fish is the speciality, of course, but menus also offer a wide range of meats, poultry and vegetarian options, so non-fish eaters will be very happy here too.
A short all-French wine list makes up in interest anything it may lack in length, and offers plenty of choice under €30.The Lookout also has its own bar where you can have a drink before dinner if you wish.