The Salt Yard, Kilkenny

The Salt Yard, Kilkenny
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A collage of photos from The Salt Yard in Kilkenny including an interior shot, cheese board, mussels and dessert.

The Salt Yard – Kilkenny’s newest restaurant, opened Friday 4 July 2014

Update 21 September 2014: While I appreciate the dozens hundreds of calls and texts that I’ve received to book tables at the Salt Yard, alas, I’m not the restaurant. Read to the end of this post to get the restaurant’s contact details, then tell them I sent you.

The Salt Yard is Kilkenny’s newest restaurant venture, located at the old ESB offices / Halifax bank building (depending on your memory of Kilkenny) on Friary Street, just opposite Rafter Dempsey’s.

The proprietor is Padraig Enright who opened the doors just last Friday so myself and Mrs. Any Given Food did a drive-by early on Saturday morning to get a number for a booking, grabbed a window table for 7pm and hit The Salt Yard to find out what it’s all about.

The first thing that hits you about The Salt Yard is the space. When it was a bank, I never banked there, but I remember the ESB store from years ago though never remember it being as big as it is. Everything is open and exposed, from the window seating at the front, to the bar in the centre, to a larger seating area out the back with an open view of the kitchen. The mish-mash of furniture to pallet-esque tables, giant blackboards recommending beers and locally-sourced wines or telling the back story of the restaurant and staff all make up a modern meets industrial type design.

Their philosophy? Well it’s not very complicated – wonderful, natural ingredients from right on our doorstep, combined with unique products imported directly from Spanish artisans. You’ll find cheese from Toonsbridge Dairy including real buffalo mozzarella and ricotta, made with milk from real buffalo that graze outside Macroom Co.Cork; Kilmore Quay’s freshest catches mixed with Iberian flavours for some of the fish dishes (my mussels service in a traditional Portuguese cataplana; the cured meats are imported direct from on of the chef’s cousins – all three of which are Spanish including head cheft Asier from the Basque country, Ernest from Salamanca and Jesus from Segovia.

The restaurant will tell you themselves that their portions are larger than traditional Tapas with two/three doing the job, and they’re not wrong.

We thought that 3 tapas dishes would be a good bet each, see how we were fixed for dessert. For starters, you are dropped bread and butter to the table along with two large empty plates to encourage sharing. Dishes arrive as they are prepped which would be fairly standard practice. The patatas bravas (which herself swears are now the best in town) landed at the table first and when we saw the size of the portion, it may have been wiser to scale down the original order.

For Mrs. Any Given Food’s part as a vegetarian she ordered the Patatas Bravas, the cheese board (which we shared) and and the Escalivada which is marinated roast vegetables with E.V.O.O and sherry vinegar, served potted with a homemade Romesco sauce. For my sins, I order the chorizo, which reminds me a lot of a traditional bangers-and-mash setup with the chorizo pretty much the size of a Clonakilty pudding on the plate (and just as tasty), along with the battered hake and the on the recommendation of Carolina who was looking after us for the evening, the mussels.

Honestly, one of the dishes would have done me but we were in no rush at all so made my way through all three dishes. The hake was great, the mussels plentiful – possibly 20-30 in the dish – and the chorizo equal parts spicy and succulent in its cooking.

We weren’t keeping track of the bill but when it arrived at a shade over €116 we couldn’t argue. Two fine Dingle Gins with tonic to kick off the night and a bottle of wine for dinner – take the drinks out of the equation and the food ordered would have easily done dinner for four.

Portions are plentiful, atmosphere has a good buzz about it, food tastes and is presented great, staff ultra friendly (not in your face, and they know the menu). There’s plenty of vegetarian options and large number of dishes on the menu that can be prepared gluten free though you’ll need to ask for them as they’re not clearly marked on the menu just yet. Overall it’s got the potential to make great inroads on the restaurant scene in Kilkenny, great for groups judging by the numbers going in over Friday and Saturday and hopefully the positive start is a sign of things to come for The Salt Yard.

When all’s said and done, we’d be back in a heartbeat. Take a look at the menu here for an idea of what’s available…

You’ll find The Salt Yard on Friary Street in Kilkenny, open (according to the menu) from 11am to 11pm with last orders at 10pm. Follow them on Twitter at @thesaltyardkk. You can also make a booking on (056) 770 3644, tell them you read the article on!

Written by Ken McGuire
Writes and talks a lot about food, spending way too much time in the kitchen or behind the lens taking photos. Digital Media Specialist by day, broadcaster by night, living in Kilkenny with Mrs. Any Given Food and two crazy rescue hounds.