Wexford Town sits right beside the seaside, in a sheltered crook of the land, which opens out to the Irish sea. So you’d expect fish to play a big part of the eating experience in the town. And so it does, at the award winning La Côte Seafood Restaurant.
‘La Côte’ is French for ‘the coast’. Occupying a prime spot on Custom House Quay by the waterside, this restaurant is ideally named and placed to offer a great seafood experience in Wexford. Owned by Paul Hynes and his wife Edwina, La Côte is a very chic show which has French seafood cookery at its heart.
Paul’s cooking credentials are impeccable. His professional career started by working with Warren Gillen, now of Cistin Eile. He has also worked with Derry Clark at l’Ecrivain in Dublin and cooked at Michelin star level in London. Not a bad CV to have under his belt. So you can expect great things from a dining experience at La Côte.
“We would describe ourselves as a modern Irish/French seafood restaurant,” says Paul.“What that means is that we make typical Irish/French seafood dishes and sauces, but we put our own contemporary twist on them. For example, I make all the French sauces like rouille, hollandaise, mayonnaise, beurre blanc and shellfish bisque or nage to serve with fish. You will also find gels & foams that add a twist, to complement the dishes”.
“We pride ourselves on using the best of Irish ingredients sourced locally from small artisan producers, while I also forage for wild ingredients from our amazing coastal town. We make everything in house, from our stocks and sauces to sourdough bread, sorbet, ice-cream even down to the little crackers you get with your cheese plate.
I source my fish and shellfish from Meylers Fish Merchants in town and from some boats and our crab comes from Ken Bates in Kilmore Quay. This includes turbot bones which are saved specially for me, so I can make my own fish stocks. I like French cuisine which is very classic, but we are evolving all the time, our restaurant is not stuffy in its feel. We love to create a more casual atmosphere, so diners can enjoy our style of food in relaxed surroundings and we have been complimented for giving that experience.”
Front of house proceedings are left to Edwina, who came back into the hospitality industry with the opening of La Côte in 2014. This lady previously trained as a chef. She has now fallen in love all over again with an industry she took a break from to work in retail management & business development. Edwina runs front of house like a charm, making sure all her customers are comfortable, happy and looked after in a professional but friendly style.
La Côte serves dinner each evening from Tuesday to Saturday. An Early Bird three course menu provides great value for quality local produce, with three choices of starter, main course and dessert. The full three-course Set Menu each evening usually includes a grilled Flat Fish of the Day and Round Fish of the Day in the main course choices, each served with stylish seasonal accompaniments. Specials are on the board too, such as Brill, Turbot or Monkfish to name but a few.
Paul keeps meat eaters in mind in menu devising, sourcing his beef locally from Richie Doyle Butchers and game from Wild Irish Game. There are a couple of meat options such as Fillet Steak that is also served as a surf option with Prawns & Bisque Foam. “Our menu is strongly driven by the seasons. During autumn/winter you will find meat dishes such as Pheasant or we have Venison with a chocolate and fig sauce”, he says.
Expect the traditional and be totally surprised by the twist at La Côte. A well balanced wine list is chosen to accompany seafood and meat. Here is a comfortable little eatery as suited to an intimate dinner for two as it is to a gathering of family or friends. Paul and Edwina proudly highlight a style of cuisine often bulldozed by the 'new Nordic’ and sparser ways of cooking now stealing the show elsewhere. At La Côte, timeless food heritage is appreciated and served up on a nightly basis, much to the joy of those who take their seats at the tables.