Ventry is a sleepy little village for 9 months of the year, 10 minutes outside of Dingle. During the summer it completely transforms with hundreds of holiday makers visiting for the beaches and beautiful views. 11 years ago the Ventry Skipper was run by Michel Chauvet, Michelin star winner; then 3 years ago his son Paddy re-opened to the delight of locals and tourists alike. Paddy has gained most of his experience in the south of France, or more locally worked in ‘Out of the Blue’ in Dingle for the year previous to taking back over the Ventry Skipper.
The Ventry Skipper is easily found with the bright blue exterior and inviting terrace with umbrellas on the terrace. The restaurant is split over 2 levels, with timber floors, and paneled ceilings and walls. The theme is nautical and a fish tank at the bottom of the stairs shouts that seafood is very much the influencer on the menu. Blue and white table cloths and a mixture of French music and jazz set the scene.
We sat upstairs and the views over the bay were marvelous. Sliced French stick and a jug of iced water were brought to the table while we read the menus; a dinner menu as well as the daily fish specials displayed on the black board, which is a list of what the local fishermen bring on any given day, while anything not directl from a boat comes from O’Mahony’s fishmongers in Dingle.
Starters range in price from €4.50 for a soup of the day - tomato & basil on this particular evening – up to €13.50 for langoustines in the shell with homemade mayonnaise or whole crevettes flambéed in cognac. There were some other great dishes including a warm goats cheese salad, pan seared fois gras with poached egg or a duo of cured salmon & marinated tuna salad.
Main courses ran anywhere from €15.00 for ray wings and poached capers to €25.00 for a John Dory & sea bass duo with hollandaise. Also appearing were hake cutlet, a confit of duck, black sole Meuniere or oven baked monkfish tail. There was also Blasket Island lobster for €5.00 per 100g, which for a half kilo is a reasonable €25.
The wine list is concis; the house wine is Chateau Manon la Lagune for €21.00, and it’s also available by the glass and carafe. Then there is a choice of white, red and bubbles as well as Kir and Kir Royale. Prices go from €24.50 for the Muscadet Sevre et Maine or Le Secret des Capitelles St. Chinian to €32.00 for Macon Lugny Andre Goichot. There is also a selection of liqueur coffees for €6.50 and some bottled beers for and spirits. We enjoyed a bottle of Chablis Andre Goichot at €26.00; it was light and complimented our meal.
I had to start with the langoustines in the shell, perfectly cooked and plump, they were naturally delicious and the flavor in the accompanying garnish was delicious. My husband ordered the fish soup which was served with Rouille sauce and croutons, which was well balanced and nicely presented.
To follow I decided on the lemon sole, perfectly presented on the bone and I stripped in down in no time. There is little that needs to be done to sole, and this was simply grilled and served with a simple parsley butter. The other half was the carnivore, and he enjoyed a duck confit with a garden rosemary juice.
Desserts were obviously French and I had the French apple tart and we both had tea. Just for the record the apple tart is served cold with Fresh cream and a custard sauce, but it was very, very good.
The Ventry Skipper has no little charm, it’s setting and friendliness is reason enough to visit. The seafood is another, and on a fine evening Ventry can match anywhere in the world for natural beauty.