The Smugglers Inn is situated on the headland overlooking Ballinskelligs Bay. The location is amazing; on a bad day it’s windswept and majestic, but with the sun shining you’d be hard pressed to find a more beautiful spot for sheer natural beauty.
Driving around the ring of Kerry, it seems each new bend brings a new Wow; a valley or mountain more beautiful than the last. Waterville is set in a bay, and just through the town and out the headland on Cliff Road you will find the family run Smugglers Inn, just across from the famous Waterville golf course.
Henry Hunt has taken over the running here from father Harry, but the emphasis is still fresh seafood served with a warm welcome. Inside the door is the bar, while the dining room has been extended and now runs into a conservatory which almost wraps the building and affords brilliant views out over the bay. On a good day you’ll see the fishing boats, which will later deliver dinner to the restaurant, and the mountains and other headlands stretch out in a panorama that’s hard to match.
The menu is a veritable cornucopia of seafood. The fish served comes from the bay outside the windows, and the lobster tank is full of lobsters and giant crayfish. I won’t go into too much detail, suffice to say if it swims and it’s in season they probably have it. On a recent visit with Abi the Food Scientist we tried quite a bit of the menu. First up Henry sent out an Amuse Bouche of perfect mushroom risotto, followed by starters of homemade Gravalax, which was marinated in citrus juices, and served with mussels and caper berries. A signature dish of noodle wrapped prawns Kataifi were piled high and generous, and served with a relish.
While we waited for our mains a between courses delicacy of Cromane Bay oyster arrived. This was served Smugglers style; it’s cooked in its shell with a piece of lobster and a tomato broth with cheese. I am not normally a fan of cooked oyster, but this was delicious.
One main courses of perfectly pink Valentia lamb was served with roast potatoes with pureed carrot on the side, while the other of huge Dover sole from Ballinskelligs Bay outside the window was rich and meaty, and served simply with just some lemon and butter.
We were in no position to have dessert and finished with tea and coffee. Service was really good from Margaret and Ann Marie, and the food was brilliant. There is something wonderful about eating really fresh seafood while overlooking the wild Atlantic filling the bay outside the window. Smugglers Inn is a great spot; they have rooms, stay over and make a night of it, you won’t find better seafood anywhere.