Dinner for Billy👑 and Clare👑
at the Royal Hotel Valentia
Since 1833, then known as the Valentia Hotel, the island’s hotel has been welcoming and extending hospitality to guests. It later became known as Young's Hotel and it wasn't until after a visit from Prince Arthur (the son of Queen Victoria) in 1869 that it took the name ‘Royal'.
No royalty there in the closing days of April 2023 when we visited for dinner. We were staying nearby but the hotel could well have been our base. It is so convenient, just yards from where the car ferry from Cahersiveen lands, and is the gateway to the island and its many attractions: its scenic walks, the ancient Tetrapod Trackway, the historic slate quarry and the lighthouse (where you may visit). The Royal even offers a package for Kerry’s Internationally Recognised Dark Sky Reserve.
It has recently renovated 33 rooms. It can cater for any social event from weddings to a hearty lunch for two. We were there for dinner for two and were treated quite royally, like every other customer. They have a very friendly and efficient staff here in the large restaurant that looks right out onto the water, so near that a Great Black-backed Gull popped up on our window sill to have a look at my plate, I think he was a regular!
So what did we have? The menu is along the usual lines that you see in Kerry (and many other Irish) pubs and sometimes you have to look at the specials list to get away from the Seafood Chowder, Chicken Wings, Fish and Chips and Burgers that populate these offerings. Not that there is anything wrong with them, as we were to find out.
|Goats cheese starter|
I had an excellent Chowder (Mixed smoked fish and white fish with vegetables in a velouté sauce served with soda bread) here, as I did in The Lobster in Waterville.
CL picked the Goats Cheese Bruschetta with Red Currant Jelly (topped with onion chutney & served with fresh mixed salad). She was delighted with it, reckoning that it was well ahead of a similar dish in The Lobster.
In addition to the regular dishes, they also have a Kids Menu and offer a selection of pizzas, all handy if you are travelling with younger people.
Up to about ten years ago, it was almost impossible to get craft beer in Kerry. But, with at least five breweries in the county, all that has changed. Has it changed in the venerable Royal? Yes indeed it has and they know the difference between real craft and mass produced stuff. The server unhesitatingly says she has Killarney Blond on tap and we, unhesitatingly, say yes we’ll have one each. It was just after they arrived on the table that the gull popped up, so perhaps he just wanted a drink!
Back to the food and my Crispy Battered Scampi (Prawns in homemade beer batter, served with homemade potato wedges with side salad and tartar sauce) had just arrived. Don’t know when I last had them but they certainly went down well even if I got fries rather than wedges. Nicely cooked, good quality and no lack of quantity either.
No room at all for desserts after those packed plates but we did enjoy a second round of the Blonde before strolling back to the B&B to take a look at the sun (which had only just made its first appearance of the day, a brief one) as it set beyond the lighthouse, the whole scene visible from our balcony. That was the special of the day!
Also on this trip:
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