Bruce and Laura Mulcahy’s stylish contemporary restaurant has long been one of Kenmare’s most consistently pleasing dining venues and, after a brief absence, Bruce Mulcahy returned to his own kitchen in 2013 and things are "back where they were" - which is a very good place indeed.
The room is spacious and stylish - naturally light-filled in summer and with lighting nicely dimmed on winter's evenings - with comfortable high back leather chairs, well-spaced smart modern table settings (including lovely, well-designed cutlery brought back from Thailand) and original artwork on the walls.
Service is excellent and the friendliness of the welcome is genuine; staff always have time for a little chat and are very helpful, informing you even if the tiniest ingredient has been changed from the written menu. There are specials on the board outside the door, and you are reminded of these as you take your place. Background music is played at just the right level, iced water and delicious breads are soon on the table - the breads come on a pretty little bamboo tray, together with a choice of good Irish butter or an olive oil and balsamic vinegar dip.
Carefully designed to offer quality, balance and value, Bruce's compact menus are fresh and imaginative, offering his trademark spicy dishes inspired by extensive travels but always with a firm foundation of seasonal local foods - and some dishes are offered in two sizes.
Being so near the sea, fish features prominently, typically in a starter sushi of salmon, prawn and cod enlivened with pickled ginger and wasabi, which is also available as a main course. Halibut, lemon sole and scallop often feature on the main courses and are well worth looking out for.
A children's menu is not offered but dishes from the main menu can be adapted for children, with chicken and pasta the most popular choices - a solution that many will find preferable.
The excellent cooking is backed up by charming and knowledgeable staff, working under Laura Mulcahy’s direction - and the wine list, which is varied for the size of restaurant, is carefully selected to match the food. House wine starts at €21; wines are offered by the glass, with quite a few half bottles size with some dessert wines also available.