Creevy Pier Hotel at Ballyshannon has to be one of Donegal’s best kept secret; it is perched overlooking Creevy Pier down a driveway on the way from Ballyshannon to Rossnowlagh. The hotel is a one-story building which comprises accommodation, the bar and the restaurant. The selling is stunning, and at sunset on a clear day it’s a slice of heaven.
The restaurant is split into two rooms and on a busy night overflows into the bar area. We were seated in the front of the dining room overlooking the pier, in a large open room with a glass front to take full advantage of the amazing views. Exposed beams and red painted stonework were some of the features that add to the character, while tiled floors and formally laid tables set the scene. The room to the rear is cosier, with timber floors and flock wallpapers in taupe; again with fully set tables.
We started with pre-dinner drinks of vodka & tonic from the bar while we browsed through their summer menu which was extensive, split over six pages and divided between starters of which there were twelve, well priced between €4.50 for their soup of the day to €8.50 for mussel’s mariniere. Seafood played a large role all the way through the menu, which given their location is as you would expect.
The gentleman ordered the Atlantic seafood and shellfish chowder at €5.50 as he had heard several people speaking of it earlier in the bar, and it was a definite winner. I ordered the hot Cajun chicken salad from their choice of salads at €6.50; another good choice and the lime & chilli dressing was really tasty. There were some other good choices like a mini-seafood platter, Creevy king prawns and a lot of the usual suspects from spicy chicken wings to deep fried brie wedges, while salads offered a nutty beetroot salad or an apple, walnut & celery plate.
The main courses were split between meat, poultry, fish & vegetarian options and there were also a couple of pizzas. Nothing was priced over €23.95 and that was for a 10oz sirloin steak. I went with the special of the day which was grilled mackerel. It was served as four small fillets dressed in the lemon & caper sauce and served on the mash; the fish was so fresh I would have said that it came from the pier that evening and the sauce complimented it really well. Mackerel is such an under utilized fish, and I really enjoy it when I get the chance. The gentleman ordered the lamb which came with roast garlic mash, roast shallots and a rosemary sauce; it was cooked perfectly pink to perfection.
The wine list also runs over a few pages and the most you can pay for a bottle of wine is €34.00 for Chablis 1st Cru and as low as €16.95 of which there were a couple of choices. If you only wanted a half bottle there was a good Sauvignon Blanc or a Cabernet Sauvignon, both priced at €11.95. We chose a bottle of the New Zealand Ta Moko Sauv Blanc for €22.50.
All the desserts were tempting with choices as bold as sticky toffee pudding or as good, relatively, as strawberries & cream. We decided not to be too bad and shared a baby Guinness crème brulee, which was very good indeed.
We really liked the Creevy; it punches well above its weight, and turned into one of those stays that exceeds expectations. We’ll be back.