The Waterfront House restaurant in the boutique hotel of the same name is a real hidden gem. Situated just outside the town of Enniscrone, Jennifer Scott's contemporary restaurant is a million miles from traditional seafood on the west coast. With its picture windows looking out on Enniscrone beach and the Atlantic, funky jazz on the sound system and smart, knowledgeable staff, this is a buzzy and busy foodie destination.
The decor is a juxtaposition of traditional with the contemporary, with stone walls side by side with modern shiny floors, and comfortable chairs and well spaced tables. The windows are so large, that every table has a view, but I was blessed with one of the window tables, and so could enjoy my meal with a wonderful backdrop. The clientele are a mixture of locals and visitors, and since the Waterfront is also a boutique hotel, it makes a visit quite easy.
The menu is short and succinct with an equal amount of choices from the land or sea on both starters and main courses, and apart from some very interesting dishes the most surprising thing is the prices. Starters are mostly on either side of €7.50 and the mains in the mid teens, apart from the steaks which break into the twenties.
Apart from the A la Carte, being a Friday the seafood feast menu was on offer, a tasting menu of their best seafood dishes, and what with the Atlantic outside the window, and the smell of the sea it seemed like the best option. The tasting menu – for that is what this is – offered six courses for €39 with an option of matching wines, or just choose your own from the well chosen list.
The wine list has expanded since last we visited, and now features some rather special bottles from one of our favourite suppliers, Wines Direct.
Dinner started with a shot glass of crab meat broth, and Amuse Bouche that certainly got the taste buds awake, it was salty and crabby and a taste of the sea, Nest up was the starter proper, and it was one of the most memorable dishes I have had this year; a medley of local clams and mussels were steamed in scented ginger and lemongrass, and presented in a glass bowl, within the folds of a banana leaf. This was a real wow dish, and even now a week later, it brings a smile to my face; inventive, imaginative and impressive, it was fabulous.
A slate of seafood came mext, Enniscrone mackerel mousse with cracked black pepper on tomato bread was almost an aside to prawn, Gravalax and seaweed wrapped salmon Maki rolls, but could be a dish on it’s own. Baked Turbot with smoked oysters was the dish of the day for me, and it was perfectly cooked, and the smoked oysters were terrific.
The main course, if there is one in a menu like this was pan seared swordfish with caper and coriander butter, and a spicy tower of gumbo with seared scallop and wasabi caviar.
Dessert was a trio; a shot of Eton mess, a strawberry cheesecake and homemade brown bread ice cream. I finished with a good coffee, and a view that was peerless, the sun setting in the west over the bay.
The Waterfront House restaurant has improved even more in the last year, and it was pretty bloody good then. Former Sous Chef Stuart Wilson has stepped up to the hot plate and is now running the kitchen. This young man obviously has enthuasiasm and flair and is one to watch. Proprietor Jennifer Scott is charming and has an easy touch, which makes the whole show run effortlessly, and manager Patricia Cawley has a young and friendly team who smile and seem to be genuinely happy in their work.
This was one of the best seafood meals I have had. Great local produce, imagination and a sure hand put it in the top ten seafood restaurants in Ireland. Betwwen here and Tra Ban in Strandhill, Sligo is certainly making waves on the culinary map.