Restaurant: The Oar House
Location: The West Pier Howth
Date of visit: 1 Apr 2009
We decided to head out to Howth for a walk and a taste of seafood. We found more than that, we saw two seals in the water just right along the west pier, directly opposite this restaurant. I only managed to get one seal onto the camera. They seemed very accustomed to people feeding them. Whenever they see someone approaching the edge, they lift up their heads and yearn for food with a pair of innocent eyes.
Anyway, among the row of seafood restaurants, we chose The Oar House after some research done. It is a cozy restaurant with well spaced square tables and basic table setting. Next door is a seafood specialist store, I noticed it is joined at this restaurant’s open kitchen, same owner presumably.
Service was quite slow, about 15-ish mins wait between each course. Considering the restaurant was not busy around 5pm where there were only 4 tables around. I thought I saw 3 waitresses all together (maybe my eye’s power is increasing) , but only one served all the tables.
- Seafood Chowder (€ 5.50) – Ok, I’m not a soup expert. This seafood (mussels, salmon bits…no smoked ones) chowder seems quite unique, it is almost like a seafood stew with good quantities of veg going on there (carrots, potatoes, celeries..). It tasted good, just not the usual creamy type you would have expected.
- Crab Mushrooms (€ 9.95) – The menu stated mushrooms (note the plural), so I thought the portion has at least 2 mushrooms. A Portabello mushroom stuffed with crab meat in cream cheese and Parmesan, I shall leave it to you to judge if it’s worth it. Taste wise, nothing to shout about, crab taste was drown among the cheese.
- Buffalo Prawns (€ 8.95) – Six big prawns served on a skewer plated on a sizzling hot plate with a blue cheese dip served on the side. I asked the waitress for the name of the sauce in the sizzling plate, it was called Louisiana sauce. I didn’t know what it means before, now I know, click here. Prawns are juicy yet a bit overcooked. This dish is our favourite by far.
- Lastly, a cold Classic Seafood Platter (€ 17.95) – May I suggest that this platter could be skipped if you are there. Not that it’s bad but not great at all. This selection included blanched prawns, smoked salmon, white anchovies, mussels, oysters & smoked mackerel served with tartar sauce, thousand island sauce, green jalapeno Tabasco and pepper Tabasco sauce.
In the cold platter. Only 1 oyster was presented (hmmph! ), the smoked salmon was passable. A small piece of smoked mackerel and mussels were all right. Oh yes, complimentary basket of white bread slices and butter came with the platter. Salty overall but that was the nature of it.
Total damage was €54.75 including ‘obligatory tips’ i.e. 10% service charge. Bread that was served upon sitting down and throughout the meal cost €2, that really surprised us, in an unpleasant way.