Rumours Bistro

After a leisurely drive from Dublin, we checked into our guest house in Glenbeigh in the late afternoon, had a cup of tea and  continued along the coast road to Cahirciveen to make the most of the day. By seven we were back at the guest house, freshened up and ready for dinner. Seafood, naturally.

Foodwise, a couple of days on the iconic Ring of Kerry was going to be one of two things: sublime or ridiculous. A glimpse at the menu at the Towers Hotel down in the village indicated it was not for us. The most basic of pub menus is not sufficient for three Doyle women and a young Doyle man, all dressed up and looking for fine dining. Rumours Bistro on the main street, however, looked a little more like it. Sure enough,when Ashling and I checked out the menu it was much more what we were expecting. Moments later we were at a table for four in the modern dining room.

Rumours is run by two sisters from Leicester in the UK, whose mum was from the local area. On a Tuesday evening (well, the night after the bank holiday) most tables were busy and the atmosphere was lovely. We agonised over our choices as the warmth of the evening caused the front door to be propped open, giving us a beautiful view of the clouds wrapped around the Dingle Peninsula as the sun drifted towards the horizon.

Mum’s vegetable soup was hearty and piping hot, as was the creamy-but-otherwise-flawless seafood chowder. Connor’s moules mariniere were perfect too. The choice of three breads was a lovely touch, but the brown bread was a tiny bit too sweet for my taste.

I had to send my glass of wine back as the glass smelled a little funny (sort of a stale smell from the stemware, not the wine itself), all of which was handled promptly and without fuss. Later I noticed I had not been charged for my first glass, a nice gesture. Two surf and turfs, one sirloin steak and a grilled monkfish later, we sat staring at each other wondering how we had managed to fit so much food in.

Every mouthful was divine, the portions huge, the service friendly but unobtrusive. The only observations we had were that:

  • The lemon butter sauce on my divine (and enormous) grilled monkfish was a little overpowering, but then I meant to ask for the sauce on the side and forgot, so more my own fault really;
  • The side dish portions were incredibly generous, thus encouraging those of us with no willpower to overindulge a little too much (again, our fault);
  •  Mum was not a huge fan of the music (“Those Dixie Chicks would put years on you. I don’t like girl singers.”  “Nobody should be made to listen to a full album from David Grey when everybody knows one song from him is more than enough.”). Am I the only person with a mother who can recognise David Grey in less than four bars?
None of us could fit dessert in, despite a few longing looks at the afters menu. I managed to force down a glass of peppermint tea in the hopes that it would cancel out my previous over-eating. We sat as the restaurant emptied and the sun finally disappeared outside, before wandering out into the most beautiful Kerry evening. We were back at the guest house in minutes, confident that we had dined at the best restaurant in Glenbeigh.
The verdict: don’t bother with the two local hotels. Rumours is modern, friendly and professionally run with a small but well-thought-through menu. And at just over €130 (approx. $160) for four adults, you really can’t go past it for value either.
Rumours Bistro
Glenbeigh, Co. Kerry, Ireland

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