The Bay Restaurant, Walters Pub. Dun Laoghaire
68, Upper Georges Street, Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin
Paolo vists the Bay Restaurant in Walters Pub Dun Laoghaire, and get's a pleasant surprise.
It's been a while since I reviewed a restaurant in Dun Laoghaire, and I'd heard that the restaurant above Walters pub had undergone a makeover and a new chef was at the helm. So I set off with Marian Kenny for an early dinner on a mid-week night.
As we opened the door to go upstairs to the restaurant, I saw a small sign on the door saying something about 50/50, but I paid it little attention.
Upstairs, the dining room reveals itself almost as a deck on a cruise liner; somehow the design and the finishings give a distinctly nautical flavour.
Then again, the restaurant is called The Bay and its logo is a sailing boat, so it's all in keeping.
There are two discrete dining rooms, a long one that stretches in front of the stairs and one that's at the front of the building, which was the one in use the night we arrived.
We got the bills of fare and began reading. The menu is simple and quite short and the dishes listed are mainstream rather than experimental.
It was priced pretty much as normal, with starters running up to €10 and most main courses bracketing €20.
Apart from what was on the menu, a blackboard listed quite a lot of daily specials, both starters and main courses. I've always liked the idea of daily specials; it gives the chef a chance to use what's good and available in the market on the day, rather than being tied to what's on the printed menu.
I spent a little while reading the wine list which, like the menu, is fairly mainstream, with a standard restaurant mark-up.
It wasn't the most imaginative list I've seen, but since neither Marian nor I were drinking that night, reading it was an academic exercise. Instead, we drank several bottles of mineral water.
Marian decided that she'd eat just two courses -- a main course and a dessert -- and I wanted a starter and a main course. So she ordered the rack of lamb for her main course and I started with monkfish scampi and followed that with crab-crusted hake.
Many years ago, when scampi were expensive and monkfish was cheap, it wasn't unknown for restaurants to make their own scampi by cutting up monkfish into scampi-sized pieces.
Once battered and fried, few would have known the difference.
What I got, though, were five quite large pieces of monkfish in a crisp batter, which gave me plenty to give Marian a taste. Simple and tasty.
You need a good appetite to eat in The Bay, because when our main courses arrived Marian found herself with four lamb chops, rather than the more usual three, and I got a large piece of hake.
Sides of potato and mixed vegetables also came to the table.
I thought that Marian's lamb was perfectly cooked, just pink, and the vegetables and potatoes were also well done.
I was a little less convinced by the crab crust on the hake; I felt that the hake was good enough not to have needed any further garnishing so, in the end, I scraped the crust off and enjoyed the hake au naturel.
For dessert, Marian ordered 'Sheila's Ice Cream'. I don't know who Sheila is, but she makes superb ice cream -- creamy, rich and luscious. I ended up fighting with Marian for the last of it.
We finished with a tea for Marian and a watery espresso for me, that made up for its lack of quality with quantity.
When I asked for the bill, I got a surprise. That 50/50 I'd seen on the door was advertising a promotion that runs until the end of March. You pay 50pc of your food bill and The Bay pays 50pc.
The result was a bill for €46.17, phenomenal value for money.