The Poacher’s Inn is the nearest eatery/pub to our house. In a previous incarnation as Ted Amber’s it was an ok pub and a pretty poor restaurant that was barely above the level of a carvery.
The place was bought maybe 18 months ago (or even longer?) and reports have been steadily good. I had a pub lunch there recently and was very impressed so we decided to try the full restaurant last night.
It started badly with no record of the booking we had made a few hours previously but they slotted us in and we were first to dine at 7pm. Service was genuinely friendly throughout with none of the fake bonhomie you often get. The place itself is above the pub with sloping roof, an intimate feel and tables not too close together.
I liked the look of the menu immediately since they were unafraid to have seafood up-front and center. A small set of starters and mains always impresses me more than the kitchen sink approach where you know the freezer and microwave are the main cooking tools.
We were both interested in similar dishes so we made sure to get different things. Missus went with a “Tapas” starter and I went for “Thai” fish cake. I put both in quotes because I’m not sure how accurate either description is. But that doesn’t really matter since both were gorgeous.
The Tapas was a wonderful selection of mussels, shell-on langoustine, salmon, goats cheese, hummus and olives. The fishcake was a big ball of crab and prawn, jam packed with flavour and with a plum sauce (more like diced plum than sauce but beautiful nonetheless).
For main I had scallops and cauliflower puree which was cooked to a tee and very tasty. D’Wife had seabass on a bed of risotto which she adored. In all cases the fish appeared to be ultra fresh and so much better for it. The side veg was a bit of overkill even tho I enjoyed one I couldn’t identify (Fennel? Celeriac?). The big chunky chips were very tasty but we didn’t need them to be honest.
Both of us were too full for desserts which did look lovely. I’d like to have seen a couple of lighter ones on the menu tho. We went with double espressos instead which were fab.
It wasn’t that cheap, coming in at €103 including €27 wine but we thoroughly enjoyed the meal, the music and the feel of the place. As I said in the summary, it is such a joy to have somewhere this good within walking distance of the house. The reputation is clearly spreading too since I have a lunch invite there for next week where the person said “the chowder is gorgeous”.
A big hurrah, Bandon is finally becoming somewhere that foodies can visit. Take that, Clon!