Out of the Blue is a Dingle archetype. This seafood only restaurant really does mean what it says. There is no meat, even as an accompaniment and the menu is a product of the daily catch.
Tim Mason is the man with the vision here and the kitchen is under the sure hands of Jean-Marie Vaireaux and Eric Maillard. The restaurant is unassuming - in fairness it is a quayside outbuilding - painted in a cobalt blue and possibly visible from the space station. It is also home to a charming interior and some of the best seafood cooking you will find on the island of Ireland.
The front of the restaurant is arranged around the service area, and the main dining room is to the rear, where the space opens into a nicely proportioned room with an eclectic collection of tables and chairs, some fine paintings of the restaurant and the outside terrace, and a collection of cookbooks, all of the maritime variety, which are dotted around to read.
The menu is written daily on a large blackboard and the floor team will bring it over so you can make your selection. There are several versions of it on their website, if you'd like to see more. There are some signature dishes; the Pollock topped with a potato crust and chive cream is a classic, pan seared scallops with calvados and chilli and pineapple salsa make an appearance, while local lobster is usually available and all the white fish is locally caught.
We chose over glasses of prosecco, and came up with starters of seared tuna and a duo of smoked and cured salmon. The tuna chunks were barely seared, they just had a passing acquaintence with the pan, and the flavour and texture were just perfect. A home made potato salad and tartare sauce added zing, and outside of great sushi this was the best use of tuna I have had the pleasure of eating. Abigail's duo of salmon was well balanced and the home cured salmon was a treat.
Main courses of the Pollock with the potato crust was almost a deconstructed fish pie, and it's easy to see how this has become a favourite. My duo of John Dory and sea bass brought two meaty formers and a more delicate singular latter, while brave use of basil pesto set the trio off. Little thimbles of lentils and shallots, potato salad, and little florets of cauliflower and broccoli added texture and some acidity.
The wine list is chosen by Tim and his brother who owns the Wicklow Wine Company and has put together a tight and well chosen selection of wines that match the fish, not least the Picpoul we shared.
The food on OOTB is just fabulous; I struggle to think of anywhere is Dublin that matches it, and add in the singularity of the location, the charming staff, the cool room, and it is something special indeed. For fish lovers, OOTB is a must.