The Seabank Bistro is on the coast road out of Malahide on the way to Portmarnock. With views over the estuary, it is a nicely positioned spot, close enough to the sea to make you feel the sea air, but sheltered from the winds by the coastal walk and embankment.
Seabank bistro is small and personal; a family run restaurant that serves a large array of fresh seafood that changes daily, depending on what they get from the local fishermen who supply most their produce. Outside there is a large terrace that is much in demand on a good day, while inside it’s very cosy and prettily decorated in a nautical theme. There is light blue picture wallpaper and lots of nautical bits and pieces dotted around. The tables are close together, and it’s anything but geometric. The entire effect is of casual chic, and it’s a very convivial atmosphere.
On hand are the family, John and son Mark are out front of house, while Marie is in charge of the kitchen. There is a large blackboard which lists the days specials, and it’s here you should turn your attention. On our visit there were about ten specials, and they read like a list of fishy favourites.
Choices included starters of Seabank seafood platter for two, a local lobster cocktail with Marie Roast sauce, steamed cockles and mussels with tarragon or Wexford scallops. Main courses offered pan fried mackerel with a sweet Asian sauce, whole sea bas with an herb crust, pan roasted halibut toped with Dublin Bay prawns or an unusual roast monkfish with spiced couscous and a Moroccan style sauce.
We have had few sunny days this year, so taking advantage of a warm Sunday afternoon we enjoyed the Seabank seafood platter on the terrace with crisp white wine for the girls, while as designated driver I stuck with the sparkling water.
The platter was huge, with a combination of cooked and raw fish. We worked our way through scampi, fresh oysters, a half grilled lobster, some large prawns and deep fried calamari. It all sat on salad leaves and the bread on the side was fresh and very thinly sliced. This would be a feast on its own, and I can see myself sharing one with a glass of wine on a nice day for the perfect lunch.
We were made of sterner stuff this day, and moved inside as the afternoon lost its heat to enjoy our main courses. These comprised a half portion of the fish and chips, and the aforementioned specials of the pan roasted halibut and the monkfish with cous cous. The fish and chips were excellent, perfectly cooked fish in a crispy batter and homemade chips did exactly what it said on the tin.
The roast halibut was as perfect a piece of fish as I have ever tasted. Perfectly presented in a wide bowl, it was dainty and beautifully presented, while the lemon butter sauce was simple and did nothing but enhance the flavours. The monkfish was a revelation; the combination of the spicy cous cous with the Moroccan style sauce worked very well, and the Monkfish was robust enough not to be over-powered. All in all, three very different dishes, which all worked very well indeed.
We just about managed some good coffees and made our way over the road to walk off an excellent meal. The Seabank Bistro is what south Dublin so badly lacks; a casual and friendly spot that takes its fish seriously. Definitely worth a trip to Malahide for a great fish supper.