Formerly a pub, this smart ‘steak & wine bar’ lies behind a classic black shopfront with the name proclaimed in traditional gold script above smart white double doors. A pair of neatly trimmed box trees and luxuriant window boxes flank the doorway – a hint of the style and attention to detail to be found within.
It is run by the Stokes family, proprietors of nearby Castle Durrow and also Bramleys, the delightful ‘department store’ and café just a couple of doors up the street. Before settling in Co Laois the Stokes were well known Dublin restaurateurs, acclaimed since the 1970s for running stylish and lively establishments – and especially for the quality of their steaks.
Here in this heritage town, their expertise has extended the choice for diners, and their aim to offer a satisfying, fun and affordable dining experience based on locally sourced ingredients has gone down a treat with locals and visitors alike.
The menu takes its inspiration from around the world, with perhaps a bias towards the Mediterranean countries – but, although the popular dishes offered may be international, there’s a stated commitment to keeping it local when it comes to the main ingredients (even if more detail about suppliers would be welcome on the menu).
Great steaks are a point of pride, with a choice of three offered (8oz sirloin, 14oz T-bone and 8 oz fillet) all served with homemade fries, onion rings and a choice of garlic butter, or béarnaise / cracked black pepper sauce. In the Guide’s experience they come up to expectations, and then some – if there is any criticism to be made, it would only be that a 10oz sirloin would also be a welcome option...
The standard of cooking and presentation is high throughout, and good service contributes to the relaxed atmosphere.
The wine list is well chosen to match the menu and there is also a full bar. ‘Great value for money and great night out’ is the mantra here – and McEvoy’s delivers.