SOMETIMES we forget how lucky we are here in Kerry.
But a timely reminder comes every time the sun comes out. We don’t have to go far in Tralee with the gorgeous skyline by the canal or the beautiful town park.
But recently on a stunning Saturday, my wife and six year old daughter accompanied me to a place beloved of Tralee people for donkey’s years.
Spillane’s Bar in the Maharees is only a half hour from town and it’s a magical spot for a bite to eat, a fact I’d forgotten over the years.
Back in the years before the small girl came along, we’d have headed out to Spillane’s two or three times a year for steak and a few pints. Somehow it had disappeared off our social radar for years but we have its co-ordinates again after out recent visit.
With stunning views of Mount Brandon and the Atlantic Ocean, it was picture perfect when we entered the bar and took our seats in the area with the ocean in view.
It was only about 6.30pm in the evening and it was a mix of couples and young families who were present.
No better place for them as Spillane’s is super family-friendly with a great kids menu to satisfy their needs. The big attraction for them (and a few adults as well!) is the whipped ice-cream cone machine for desserts.
I veered immediately towards the specials menu. Despite being near the sea, I resisted the crab claws (€10.20) and Cromane mussels (€9.50) and instead plumped for the homemade chicken liver parfait with toasted ciabatta and gooseberry and rhubarb chutney (€7.90).
It was delicious with a lighter texture than regular paté and the chutney was remarkable combined with the bread. A great start.
The specials for mains included hake and John Dory, but again I resisted the call of the sea and went for lamb shank (€18.50), a very underrated part of the animal I always felt.
It was glorious, the shank set on a bed of mash in a sort of a stew effect with a rosemary and red wine jus and vegetables.
My dining companions went for garlic bread and plain pasta (the child) and scampi (herself). The scampi, one of which I swiped from her plate, was obviously fresh in a delicious breaded coating. Wonderful.
I didn’t try the plain pasta but it got the thumbs up from the small girl, who was more interested in playing with the two little girls at the next table.
A couple of cappuccinos washed down a lovely meal. Of course there’s a regular menu full of steaks, burgers, pizzas and fish dishes, but check out the specials when you get there.
We were there in early April and the place was packed. I expect if we get any sort of good weather Spillane’s are in for another great summer.