If your kids are anything like mine, they are always hungry but never hungry when it suits. Sitting down in a restaurant or in a cosy pub on a Sunday afternoon – not hungry! Seven minutes either side of this; dying of starvation, hysterical and hallucinating with the hunger. Believe me, I’ve been there! You rush to get something and all that is available is sausages and chips or drumstick shaped, chicken flavoured, breadcrumb things! Says I “Not today Satan, not today!”. However, all hope is not lost. The tide is turning slowly when it comes to kids food and its starting in West Cork. Food lovers, prepare to bring your kids on the West Cork Food trail – I’ll show you the way.
We will start here because I spent every day of my childhood summers in this secret jewel of West Cork. I have memories of the water being so cold, my lips were too numb to speak – and yet we stayed on the beach for hours. This was always followed up with a dose of fried potatoes and sausages or rashers up in my grandparents mobile home. So, you see, from a very young age, I associated this little village with hearty, warming food, always made with love. Courtmac is perfect for a family day out as it has a selection of walking routes through woodland and along headlands. It also features the wonderfully popular Food Depot run by Diana Dodog (of masterchef) and Mike (more on this next week).
The Lifeboat Inn
I always thought that this little spot was just ‘one of the pubs’ in town. After a recent late dinner with my grandfather and uncle, I realised that the Lifeboat Inn really wasn’t. I was determined to investigate whether my meal had been a one hit wonder or if it really was as good as all my senses were telling me. I’ve been back 3 times and I can tell you with certainty, it is a secret that seriously needs to be shared.
Every time I have been there, the menu has been subtly different. However, the fish and chips remain a long standing resident and I am so glad. I have had it twice and I recommend it to everyone I dine with. The batter is the lightest and the flavour of the fish is delicate and not overpowering. The peas are smashed and sweet and the crowning glory on the plate is the homemade tartar sauce. They really should start selling it!
Food For Kids
While the menu largely features fish, there are also gems like confit duck leg, burgers in a brioche bun and goats cheese tartlets. However, another of my favourites (I know….I know….) is the chicken goujons. My kids reported that these were the best they ever tasted. Made with the freshest chicken, these goujons were huge and the honey and mustard dip that accompanied was to die for. My fairies had them with ketchup and mayo and a healthy portion of perfectly cooked broccoli and chips.
Other options would have been to split the duck between two (there was definitely enough meat and smashed potatoes to share), have the burger with potatoes or chips of have a starter with a side portion of onion rings. The point is, it took the kids a little while to decide what they would eat because, for a change, they had a choice. The food looked so appealing that we also had the kids sampling mussels and prawns!
For the quality of food that was served, the price point is reasonable. Starters ranged from €4.95 for soup to €11 for Oysters. Main courses ranged from €14 for a risotto to €24 for a 9oz sirloin. For the freshest local ingredients of West Cork, I came away from the Lifeboat on each occasion feeling as though I had gotten value for money.
Would you believe, I never took a photo of the interior. It was the day that was in it – I promise you! The sun was shining outside and I was eager to sit on one of the beautifully painted benches in the garden just so I could watch the boats go past. The interior is cosy. On the left of the bar, the original booths from when I was a child are still there. They are refurbished and are a really cosy spot either for a family or a group of friends. To the right of the bar, there are a few 4 seater tables next to a gorgeous stove. This is my favourite spot indoors during the winter! Behind the bar is a little dining area. It is decorated nicely and the walls are covered in art by local artists.
A new decking area has been built at the end of the gently sloping garden. This was full when we arrived so we sat up next to the ‘stage’ area (as my son called it). The kids are already making plans regarding performance dates for summers to come and they have already started practicing on guitars and keyboards.
At the end of the day, all credit to the boys!!!!!!!
Credit where it is due, this little spot is a gem. It is perfect for weekend lunch with the kids, midweek dinner or a romantic meal for two surrounded by candles. This little spot promises a little surprise, but delivers way above and beyond.
If you make the trip – please tag me in any photos so that I can see what you ordered! I would love to hear what you thought of the spot. If you don’t follow already, be sure to look me up on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter. Finally, be sure to hit the ‘subscribe’ button so that I can keep you up to date on all the other West Cork venues and other interesting news. I promise I won’t spam you. If you would like to ask any
Disclaimer: I have reviewed this venue because I like their product and I love the location. I always like to give credit where it is due and I have not been sponsored, remunerated or received any coaching from the proprietors of The Lifeboat Inn.