Kate Cooke’s strong willed personality is the blood which pumps throughout the veins of QC’s, an oustanding restaurant-with-rooms in pretty Caherciveen, on the Ring of Kerry.
The tavern-like atmosphere of the restaurant charms with its lack of pretentiousness, and pulses with the efficiency and dedication of the staff. The menu puts seafood in pride of place, and my risotto with hake and vegetables was unbeatable. And yet, the queen of the experience was the paupiettes of black sole stuffed with crab, prawn and spinach. Baked to perfection, this is the sort of dish that gets your palate out of its comfort zone.
Kate had also made a lemon tart on the day, and it would have been a crime not to order it. It was a citrus lover's dream, a taste of home and memory, like something your Grandmother would make. This is the key factor in QC’s: their ability to mainline home cooking, with Irish pride and professional sheen. The same concept could be applied to the cheese board which proudly offered Irish cheeses and Sheridan’s crackers. Wonderful.
The rooms are also utterly delightful, including the five new suites which they opened in 2016. Angular, square, spacious, and with a little splash of space age, the room in which we were privileged to stay in even had a Pacman arcade machine!
Breakfast also deserves a song and dance. With beautifully baked croissants and muffins delivered to your door in the early hours, an array of local cheeses, smoked salmon, Sheridan’s crackers, compote yogurt, fruit salad placed in our in-room fridge, herbal teas sourced from Java, and a Nespresso machine completes the chart of what constitutes a wonderfully lazy breakfast.
It’s a brave decision to serve breakfast this way, and very refreshing to enjoy the first meal of the day at your own pace and in privacy (while wearing a bathrobe if you wish - try doing that in a restaurant!) What’s more, you enjoy it with the view of the Iveragh Mountains which cuddle Caherciveen so lovingly.
Kate and Andrew have fashioned something special in QC’s. It’s your place to eat and stay on the Ring of Kerry.
Photographs by Colin Grant and Connie McKenna