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Coolmain Bay, Kilbrittain, Co. Cork51.67424070-8.68792660French

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A long walk on a rainy day in West Cork for Kerrin & Michael Relja was what led them to the decision of making Coolmaine Bay the place where they would like to bring up their children. Now, with four girls, Sofie, Dana, Lea & Sara. they are well on the way to fulfilling that dream, at Casino House in Kilbrittain, West Cork, where they have recently built on a large extension.

Kerrin, a native of the Friesian Islands and her husband Michael from Croatia, had been in the restaurant & hotel business in Germany before settling in West Cork. Having experienced the Irish lifestyle in Schull in Co Cork, where Kerrin’s mother had a holiday home, they felt quite early on in the time that Ireland was where they would like to establish their business.

Their opening hours, which vary according to the time of year etc, allows a generous amount of time to spend with their children and also on concentrating on the part of the business they really love-special occasions, the special days. Casino House, with its white washed walls and simplicity of design, has warmth and character throughout.

Furnished in Scandanavian style furniture, it is cushioned & enhanced with a mixture of different textures & colours which Kerrin has used to compliment features which were already in Casino. They have kept the big fireplaces and filled them with high baskets and they have incorporated the adjoining stable to make a long suite of rooms on the ground floor, flanked by a corridor of gleaming terracotta tiles.

Michael’s cooking, is comfort inducing, combining expertise with pride of place thus ensuring visitors get the best local produce presented with a continental flair. Including everything from beef to beetroot, duck to dumplings, potatoes to pumpkins & all sorts of seafood including crab, monkfish & brill, there’s something to suit every palate. All the ingredients are sourced locally with the vegetables and herbs coming straight from the garden all taking their place on a seductive menu.

A wine list has been carefully chosen by Kerrin to compliment the food which Casino house has to offer, all ensuring that the restaurant became popular and noticed quite quickly, thus ensuring the whole enterprise continues to work out for the Reljas, both professionally and in family terms.

Casino House has won many awards from Restaurant of the year in 2005, John & Sally McKenna's best 100 places to eat, Bridgestone guides 2003-2009 along with the Michelin‘s Bib Gourmands award and recently been short listed as "Best Restaurant Design" which is a remarkable achievement for Kerrin & Michael

Light from the seashore and from the green slopes behind the house falls into the two restaurant rooms, with their distinctive themed art works, based on a little tablet they discovered one day in a garden in Montserra. Kerrin’s mother Sara borrowed the design and sprayed the mounted pieces with sifted sand, making something iconic yet familiar about them now, mellow hints of the identity & achievements that are Casino House.




Bib Gourmand
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