Barracuda in Bray has had several incarnations, and the latest is definitely the best. If you know the seafront here, you will already know that Barracuda has one of the most enviable locations on the east coast, looking out over Bray promenade and the Irish Sea. The building also houses the aquarium and it's difficult to imagine getting a position closer to the sea.
There are very few places in the south side of Dublin to eat beside the sea. North Dublin has plenty of places the overlook the water, as well as the run of restaurants on Howth's west pier. There is none of this in South Dublin, so we have to go to Bray, which neatly straddles the border between Dublin and Wicklow.
Barracuda in on the first floor, and it is essentially an open space, cleverly divided to provide more intimate settings. Just inside the doors there a row of mock beach huts, reminiscent of the changing rooms one sees at the waters side in Victorian beach scenes. This little bit of whimsy keeps us interested until we turn to the left and get our first uninterrupted view through the picture windows of the the sea just beyond the plate glass.
The first floor height causes an illusion of sorts and it looks as if the pebbled beach comes right up to the windows. There are strong spotlights outside that light the vista to almost daylight brightness. As we sit inside in the heat, it is a bit of a trill to feel like we are sitting on the shore.
The dining room is nicely decorated in a contemporary fashion, with dark wooden floors, and paintwork picked out in creams. Tables are well spaced, and chairs are comfortable. Water and bread are brought to our table as we read the menu, and the ever present view provides a constantly changing talking point.
We enjoyed the selection of breads; home made olive and sundried tomato with good olive oil and basil pesto while making our choices. There are two menus, the value set affair and the A la Carte and we ended up eating from both. The set menu offers two courses for €22 and the choice is excellent, in fact there were several dishes here that we quite fancied. The a la carte is longer, and steaks and seafood feature prominently, and there are daily specials as well.
The two girls ate off the A la Carte, while I ordered from the set menu. They decided to share a starter of the ribs, while I got the sautéed crab claws in garlic. They both fancied the seafood bake for the main course, while I had the special of sea bass. wrapped in smoked salmon with asparagus on a bed of ratatouille and baby potatoes. A chive and cream sauce added another element while a large langoustine topped the lot.
Barracuda enjoys an enviable location, and fine views and a pleasing room are a perfect accompaniments, whatever the weather outside. I imaging a raging storm would be fun, raging outside, while sitting in the heat and comfort. Expand your horizons, and pay a visit.