Well-known wine buff Pat Keown and his wife Sylvie celebrated 25 years at this hospitable first floor restaurant on the main street Greystones in 2013. Pat will usually be found front of house in the main restaurant and his warmth and enthusiasm are undimmed.
Pat is a great and enthusiastic host; a wine man long before he became a restaurateur, his love of wine is infectious, the place is spick and span and the monk-related decor is a bit of fun - and a combination of hospitality, great wines and interesting, good quality food at affordable prices are at the heart of this restaurant’s lasting success.
Seasonal menus offered include a kindly-priced early dinner and an à la carte menu, with fish the speciality in summer, and game in winter. Blackboard specials guaranteed to sharpen the appetite include the day’s seafood dishes, any special wine offers - and, perhaps, a special treat like suckling pig.
Menus give a slight nod to current trends, but there is no pretence at cutting edge style and you will also be pleased find faithful renditions of old favourites, like lambs kidneys Madeira and rack of Wicklow Lamb with savoy cabbage and fresh mint & rosemary jus. Vegetarian dishes are unusually appealing and there is emphasis on high quality ingredients, including 28 day dry-aged steaks and seafood, both local and from Castletownbere.
The famous wine list (‘The Thirsty Monk’) is clearly a labour of love and, in turn, gives great pleasure to customers, especially as prices are very fair; affordable favourites include a whole page of house wines listed by category and of course, offers many special bottles for connoisseurs. Two pages of half bottles too, and a couple of dozen pudding wines.
In recent years Pat and Sylvie's son Julian (also a wine man) and his wife, Samantha, have been part of the business, allowing them to develop the Wine Bar & Bistro on the ground floor, which offers daily opening and a more informal ambience.
A few of the Hungry Monk classics (including the trademark lambs kidneys dijonnaise) feature, along with a more contemporary range of dishes. Gourmet burgers top the bill (Irish organic heifer or organic Wicklow lamb, with various tempting toppings), along with chargrilled steaks and a dry aged beef and ale ale pie but, true to form, there are also great seafood choices, free range poultry and lovely vegetarian dishes. Vegetarian and coeliac friendly dishes are highlighted and main suppliers - including meats from both Frank Doyle(Bray) and Kettyle (Fermanagh) and Heppenstall cheese (Arklow) - are listed on this very customer-friendly menu.
A great old friend in Greystones, and hopefully so for another 25 years.