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Kerry Gold Killorglin eatery proved to be the perfect surprise when hunting for some great grub - and the service was second to none

Alan Kelly dishes the goods on Ireland’s tastiest dining destinations

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Seafood at The Bianconi

Seafood at The Bianconi

Seafood at The Bianconi

The Bianconi

Annadale Rd, Dromavally, Killorglin, Co Kerry

FOOD €43 WINE €12.50 WATER €4.90 COFFEE €5.70

4.5 stars

 

This week we decided to take to the high road again and head south in the general direction of the Kingdom. And following a quick visit to the handsome village of Killorglin, I am now convinced that when it comes to welcoming visitors and looking after their needs, Kerry people are uniquely gifted.

The drive was a flyer, one-and-a-half hours of near traffic-free motoring bliss (except for Macroom, so in need of a bypass), and we were there before we knew it. It wasn't completely hassle free - just that morning we discovered the restaurant we intended to visit had closed permanently, due I'm guessing to Covid fallout. It truly is an awful time for restaurants. Navigating through conventional business pitfalls and hazards is hard enough, but failing because of a virus must be a trauma.

Anyhow, the long and the short of it means the Boss is spending her time texting friends and Googling for recommendations. Which is how we find ourselves strolling down Lower Bridge Street towards Annadale Road in search of The Bianconi, a well-known all-day restaurant and accommodation. It's an immaculate ship-shape building with fresh flower baskets on the upper floors, lots of tables and chairs on the pavement and its name proudly splashed at least five times along the frontage.

Menu-wise, all the standard restaurant/cafe dishes are present and correct. They are, fortunately for us, also more than a few notches above the norm.

Brunch and starters are around €8 while mains don't veer beyond €18. There are egg florentines and halloumi tartines, fluffy pancakes with fresh blueberries and maple syrup, BBQ ribs with corn on the cob and chipotle coleslaw. We also see plump king prawns with hot chimichurri sauce, chorizo croutons and locally-baked crusty bread for dipping. We decide to start with a vegan-friendly toasted sourdough crostino topped with flatcap mushrooms, grilled red peppers and a creamy splosh of garlicky ranch-style dressing with nuts, seeds, garlic and a neat side salad. Not in the least innovative, but very delicious.

For mains the Boss goes for a superfood salad. We're talking quinoa, broccoli, baked beetroot, chickpea popcorn, cherry tomatoes, chunks of feta cheese, avocado and prawns - all tossed in a tasty berry and lemony dressing. The end result is a big messy bowl of restorative scrumptiousness. My cod and chips are exceptional. The tempura batter is super light, almost translucent, and just about contains the freshest flakiest piece of cod. The chunky chips are crisp golden and fluffy white inside. On the side is a tasty portion of minted peas and a wodge of red cabbage slaw. Washed down with a glass of chilled prosecco, these are dishes you would return to time and again.

Which brings me to the servers. I can't pretend: while The Bianconi has a fine pavement set-up, it's also a busy junction chock-a-block with noisy traffic.

At no time, however, are diners left waiting for attention. Without being overly intrusive, these girls are totally on the ball. Wiping tables, checking drinks, warm, chatty and informative: it makes all the difference. Happenstance may have brought us here but the food and the service will bring us back.

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