Twitter is only brilliant, did you know that? It’s great for jokes, for inspiration, for taking the piss out of the RTE Guide, for seeing what your heros are thinking about at random given moments, and for getting tips and recommendations on all kinds of stuff. Twitter is great for when you need a maddeningly specific restaurant recommendation – such as, ‘somewhere good for vegetarians that also has a nice smoking area and will take our group of 28 two days before Christmas for no more than €20 a head’.
So you can imagine my surprise when I asked for tips for cheap places to eat in Kilkenny, only to be met with silence. Tumbleweeds. Crickets. A second tweet just asking for the best places in Kilkenny got a stream of recommendations from a load of helpful Twitterers. They included Italian restaurant Rinuccini, Cafe Sol, Yindees Downtown and Zuni. They all looked very appealing and came with many glowing recommendations online, but also all seemed to be charging over €20 for main courses. We were visiting with a small child and weren’t really in the market for fine dining.
We ended up going to the Marble City Bar, which is part of Langton’s Hotel. Langton’s is a Kilkenny institution, a normal looking hotel that is of Tardis-like proportions on the inside and capable of seating thousands. I’ve had good food at Langton’s in the past; have I imagined that their prices have gone up quite a bit? We didn’t feel like paying €17.50 for fish and chips, so opted for the more reasonably priced gastropub menu at the Marble City Bar. It also turned out to be more expensive than we expected; the prices have gone up since they published their website so you’ll need to add a couple of euro to the price of each main as they’re listed here.
I went for the Red Curry with Chicken (€15.50). I don’t normally order curries in pubs but felt the need for food with colours and spice. It was very tasty and properly hot, and I liked the layer of fresh coriander leaves in the tower of rice. Peter had a Bacon and Cheese Burger (also €15.50) with skinny fries, which he liked. There’s no kid’s menu, but they provide chicken goujons and chips for €5.50, or half portions of the main menu dishes.
Everything was tasty and the service was very good. We came away happy enough, but feeling that the food would have been more fairly priced at around the €12 mark. The basic prices in Kilkenny seem to be set at quite a high level; I suppose the fact that it’s both a very popular tourist destination and a small city with not much competition have kept prices up. And of course we could have overlooked some gems – any locals who know of great cheap eats, please let us know. I’d love to be wrong about this one for the next time we visit!