Howth’s King Sitric, Winner of Bord Bia’s “Just Ask” Restaurant for the month of March 2010
Long before it was popular or profitable to do so (indeed, ever since he opened Howth’s premier restaurant,
in 1971) Euro-Toques proprietor-chef Aidan MacManus’s philosophy was to source the best possible local
produce and tell his customers about it – and that dedication has never waivered.
Informative notes on menu covers include a listing of Irish fish in six languages, and a statement of the
restaurant’s commitment to local producers, some of whom are named – including Nicky’s Plaice, whose
smoked salmon comes from the last traditional smoking kiln in Howth; Nicky McLoughlin (recent recipient of a
well-earned Irish Food Writers’ Guild Lifetime Achievement Award) and his son Martin smoke salmon to order
for The King Sitric.
With all this, plus excellent service by long-serving staff under Joan MacManus’s management contributing to what some see as an ‘‘exclusive’ restaurant, it may come as a surprise to find that is also a very value-conscious and extremely customer friendly in terms of pricing, offering a range of menus suitable for differing times, pockets and occasions which few other restaurants anywhere in Ireland could match.
Perched at the far end of Howth harbour, with views across to Ireland’s Eye and over Balscadden Bay
(where you may be lucky enough to see our local lobster fishermen, raising pots full of treats for your dinner),
The King Sitric is of course primarily a seafood destination, and there are many special occasions to honour
particular species and the changing seasons, including a Lobster Special in July.
But another speciality is wild Irish game, which becomes a high point of the various menus offered in winter
– a real treat is the Oyster & Game Menu, offered in September to welcome the change of season, and a
Game Tasting Menu is also available throughout winter.
More surprising, perhaps, is a recently introduced ‘Baily Beef’ menu – Aidan takes great pride in the local beef,
from the Bellingham family farm at “The Cliffs” up at Baily, on the Howth peninsula. Supply is very limited
“only about 12 or 16 cattle per year – the cattle graze free-range for the final summer of their lives, and thanks to
the complex mix of grasses and plants, achieve wonderful condition and weight.” This very special local product
is a seasonal treat, and the Baily Beef Tasting Menu is only offered for a couple of weeks in the autumn.
And, still on the carnivorous theme, regular menus offer limited choices for non-seafood eaters, but they are the best – that much-maligned dish Chicken Kiev, for example is made with breast of free- range chicken from
Green Acres Farm, Co Cavan.
Take time to browse the menu and enjoy a culinary tour of the best produce the area has to offer. Customers at the King Sitric are genuinely welcome to “Just Ask!” and there is always something of interest that isn’t mentioned on the menu, but in truth there’s not much they have’nt thought of already.
Georgina Campbell, March 2010