Bay restaurant Clontarf has an envious corner position on the coast road with fantastic views of Dublin Bay, giving diners a changing view throughout the day and evening. It has long been a cause of envy that diners on the north side have a choice of places to eat with offer stunning sea views, while on the Southside there are virtually none.
Inside the room is busy and buzzy at lunchtime, and the covered terrace provides dinners with the al fresco feeling even in our inclement weather. The rest of the room is firmly inside and a stylish interior it is, with comfy chairs, some banquettes, blackboards which feature specials and a collection of art on the walls
Bay is open 7 days a week starting with breakfast, and then open throughout the day with a menu that mixes the eclectic with the comforting. The menu in Bay deserves some attention; long before it was fashionable, or indeed enforceable, Bay put calories and allergens on the menu. They have been doing it for some years now, and the menu gives you just about every bit of information you could possibly want.
It's easy to overlook the problems that people with food allergies have. They can find themselves uncomfortable by having to ask about the contents of every dish on the menu, especially if they're in company. When the menu is as informative as it is in Bay, nobody will ever find themselves in that position. Everything you could possibly want to know is displayed.
I went along for a springtime lunch with my food scientist daughter Abigail. We sat inside with Abi sitting on a comfy banquette and the view, while I faced her and the room. The last time we ate her I was with Paolo, and on that occasion I had the sea view, so I supposed it was time to give someone else a chance.
The lunch menu is interesting; it is one of those menus that have more than one thing I wanted to eat. It is quite extensive and offers starters, a selection of interesting salads, main courses and desserts. To give you an idea there was Catalan fish stew, chermola tiger prawns, the honey and pistachio melted goat’s cheese salad or a choice of homemade beef burgers. Main courses included chicken bang Bang, vegetarian wrap, pan fried hake or a choice of aged steaks. There really is something here for everyone, and with daily specials, it’s a very impressive array.
We decided to mix and match here, so Abigail decided on a starter salad, followed by the risotto of the day, while I couldn’t pass on the Catalan fish stew followed by the daily special of prawns. We stuck with the free sparkling water, which comes in their own bottles and freely flows.
In no time we were getting stuck into the starters; Abigail’s sesame roasted chicken with honey was served on with pumpkin seeds, mint, roasted hazelnut, red onion & locally grown mixed green shallots, She was loath to share it and described it as the best salad she had tasted in a very long time, possibly ever. It was only the fact that the Catalan fish stew was so good that I didn’t envy here; think really good chowder, minus the cream, with delicate Catalan flavours. A bowl of this with some crusty bread would be a fine lunch on its own
Main courses brought Abigail’s mushroom and beef risotto which was a trencherman’s portion, and while delicious, it was too big for Abi. My prawns were beautifully presented; they were stuffed with crab meat and two were held together with seaweed wrap on a sweet potato base. This was a fine dish, light, tasty and healthy; it was a perfect lunchtime dish that didn’t leave me stuffed, just nicely replete.
The food scientist has a sweet tooth, which her skinniness can afford to indulge and we finished with a duo of crème brulee and coffee.
Bay is a very good restaurant. I like the food, love the healthy options, and admire their prescience with the menus/ If you haven’t been, check them out, you won’t be disappoints, at any time of day.