Restaurants come and go in the village all the time and we try to sample them all asap for fear we'd miss out on something really special.With the exception of the excellent tapas restaurant La Bodega, we haven't, but still the search goes on. An Bhialinn has been on the our list now for a few weeks and we decided to give it a go on a particularly hungry Monday evening when neither of us could face cooking.
Located on the old site of Eatery 120, the new owners don't seem to have changed much in terms of the restaurant's interior. Trying out the early bird menu is always a good way to test a new place without breaking the bank and that is what we decided to do. And, as early birds go it was good, offering a choice of 4 starters , 4 mains and a couple of desserts. It was also, thankfully, free of the supplements which too often blight such 'value' menus. This menu is actually available all evening Monday - Thursday and all day Sunday. with two courses costing €24 and 3 €27.50
To start, we each chose the selection of three deep fried cheeses - blue goat and brie - which came with tomato relish and a good amount of dressed rocket on the side. It was nice to have a bit of variation besides just brie and we both enjoyed this very much.
The striploin steaks we both went for were also good, (albiet that mine happened to be juicier and tastier than K’s but such is often the way with steak). We received one side to share included in the price (chips) and also ordered a side of mash (€4). The chips were decent, well browned and cooked in what I would guess was oil not beef/duck/goose fat (you can get spoiled with that!) . However the mash did however have a slight reheated tang off it. (I’m not sure how some restaurants manage to avoid this-I'd love to know myself.) Another plus about this place was their generosity with side salad on the starter and the main, much more than the customary garnish you often get in restaurants. Our request to substitute the peppercorn sauce on offer with béarnaise was also accommodated without a blink. (though this turned out to be just ok and lacking a bit of the the characteristic tarragon/vinegar bite.)
All was fine, and then...we tried to get the bill. We had been the sole diners when we first arrived but at this stage there were three more tables occupied. (and 2 people on the floor). When we did manage to request it, it took a further 15 minutes to arrive at which point I had seriously considered just leaving what we owed there on the table and walking out. When it was all weighed up, we had eaten a good but not great meal and the lack of service at the end would probably help dissuade me from returning again. That might sound harsh but the food just wasn’t good enough for that to be overlooked. There's just too many other places out there to try.