We were there for a "ladies who never get the time to lunch" dinner and a very long chat, so we sat at our long table for 7 looking at the menu while we waited for "she who is always late".
Looking at the menu, it appeared very comprehensive on first glance but the more we looked, the more we saw lentils! I eventually ordered the Castletownbere crab and apple salad with rocket and pink grapefruit. It arrived presented in a little Kilner jar with some lovely apple puree dotted along the plate to add a bit of additional zing. The crab was fresh and light but was spoiled by large shards of shell and cartilage, one of which I almost broke a tooth on. Even ready-picked crab needs to be checked thoroughly by hand and this was a disappointment.
I then ordered the burger, knowing that almost everything else on the menu would end up on the table so I could sample everybody's meal. The burger was lovely, but far too large and unwieldy to eat by hand and the board was a little too small to accommodate everything - the dressed rocket salad kept making a break for freedom onto our laps and the floor!
I also tasted the lamb tagine which was superb, although an enormous portion which the girls were unable to finish, the Spanish meatballs were nice but a little dry and not a patch on the Albondigas made by Angela, my Basque dining companion. The sea bass was pretty and very light.
The wine list was a bit of a disappointment. One of the house wines, a Cuvée Orelie was on special at €19.99 - one sip and we understood why - it was desperately acidic and undrinkable. We chose the other house white, priced at €24.99 which is pricey enough for house wine. I'd like to see a better value wine selection available here.
For dessert, we decided to share one of each of the desserts and there was much disagreement over which was the best. The lemon tart was very tart and zingy with a buttery pastry base, the Eton Mess was far too sweet for my palate, although some of the others devoured it. I was torn between the the raspberry posset and the chocolate tart. The tart was very dark and rich, too dark for most of the girls but I thought it was beautifully made. The posset was light and airy and utterly delicious.
Tea and coffee isn't included in the set menu so this does bump up the final cost. The Fern House Café is lovely but can get very warm and noisy when packed, as it was on the night we visited.