“Slow food and fast service” was always the admirable aim of the former Goat Street Bistro team, led by owners Ed Mulvihill and Laurence Wetterwald.
Having moved down the road and around a couple of corners to the narrow laneway that is also home to the gorgeous Little Cheese Shop, they are settled in the spacious two storey Grey's Lane premises with mezzanine and pavement seating; they can seat up to a hundred - and, although it is bright and airy, there are still some nooks for that romantic meal.
The various spaces in this surprising building include the main ground floor area, with a bar; the mezzanine (for groups up to 35); and an interesting back section accessed via two archways, which has a rather spectacular dry stone (Gallarus style) feature wall with glass insets.
A piano suggests that there might be music and it is indeed a regular feature, so don't be surprised if a band sets up in the back while you're enjoying your dinner. All round there's a great buzz and the bistro atmosphere is enhanced by an international team with Irish, French, Czech and Polish all happily on board, “which is very representative of the diversity we all relish on the Dingle peninsula”.
Ed Mulvihill is known for ingredients-led cooking with big flavours and, although provenance may not be declared, he makes the most of the superb ingredients available locally in excellent dishes that often have a continental tone. Breakfast, lunch, dinner and light bites in between are offered every day in summer and there's plenty to choose from on menus that offer a good range of meat, poultry and vegetarian dishes as well as local fish.
Early comers might enjoy a brunch special of French toast with melted brie and maple syrup, for example, while a Thai green curry could hit the spot at lunchtime - and, if you call in during the day, it can be hard to resist treats like raspberry vanilla creme brûlée with your coffee...
Menus change often, but evening diners should find some unusual dishes - a starter of grilled smoked mackerel fillets with orange tabouleh and a beautifully dressed salad, for example, or a pretty vegetarian salad with beetroot, goats cheese and candied walnut.
Among the main courses, Annascaul Black Pudding - made just a few miles down the road - complements cornfed chicken deliciously, perhaps served with chorizo and leek velouté and good local potatoes and seasonal vegetables.
A fish main course worth noting - it is a regular on the menu - is baked cod with black olive tapenade and ratatouille, a delicious summery dish that makes the most of pristine fresh fish. Simple, careful presentation makes the food look very appetising, and it will be cooked to a tee and delivered to the table at just the right temperature too.
A short wine list represents most popular grape varieties, some by the glass, and they also stock Irish craft beers, notably from Eight Degrees and Tom Crean.
Excellent service from chatty, friendly and knowledgeable staff adds something special to a visit here - and so should the pocket friendly bill, especially if you're in for the early dinner menu, which is terrific value.