The Anvil Restaurant in Saggart Village, run by Sandra & Denise Murphy, would have been well known and extremely popular up until their unforeseen closure a couple of years ago. The good news is that they are now back, and if it were possible, it’s bigger and better than ever before.
They are now located in the centre of the village, opposite the church. From the outside it just looks like a modern white bungalow with a red door, but when you step inside you are not expecting the wow factor that greets you. The décor is ultra-contemporary, with dark timber floors and a lot of glass giving a bright and airy feeling of space. The front of the restaurant is a casual café/lunch area with couches and tables and chairs with a bar area. To the rear is the formal restaurant, with a choice of tables or booths, with low exposed timber beams and large hanging black lamp shades over the tables.
The wine list was short and easy to read, starting with house wines, all priced at€18.95, and including a Pinot Grigio Argento or a Tour de la Roche sauvignon blanc. There is a great value prosecco for €22.00, and all the wines are also available by the glass for €5.45.
I had a glass of the house sauvignon and my husband enjoyed a glass of the house cabernet sauvignon and based on both I could certainly recommend the house choices as good ones. The Anvil has a full license so you also have the choice of spirits and beers if you don’t want to drink wine
A selection of homemade breads from Guinness, garlic and wholegrain were brought to the table with a basil pesto and sundried tomato dip. There were three menus to choose from; the EB is served between 5-6.15pm Tuesday to Friday, with 3 courses for €19.95 or as a meal deal for two with a bottle of house wine for €55.95.
There’s a set dinner menu with 2 courses for €25.95 or 3 courses for €29.95, which runs each evening, and of course there’s the A la Carte.
There are some great dishes here, with starters such as summer risotto of asparagus, tempura tiger prawns with curry oil, deep fried brie & goat’s cheese in pastry, roast salt cod & mussel chowder or a warm marinated duck salad, all coming in under €11.95.
The mains range from €16.95 to €28.95 and include a choice of steak, rump of spring lamb or a chicken Caesar salad. The rest are daily specials which appear on the blackboard, and on the evening we dropped in there was summer vegetable soup or a rabbit terrine parfait to start. Mains included pan fried hake with aubergine caviar and courgettes tagliatelle, while the catch of the day was smoked haddock with a poached hen’s egg.
Interesting dishes, and one of the reasons has to be head chef and co-owner Graham Flannery, who trained and worked in some iconic places including the K-Club and The Merrion. He has brought this knowledge to The Anvil with the objective of giving customers top quality, local and where possible organic food, and he lists all their suppliers on the menu.
I started with the potted Kilmore Quay crabmeat, which had all my favourite things layered in one pot. The bottom was tomato confit, with guacamole in the centre and crabmeat on the top while himself ordered the roast salt cod and mussel chowder. He’s a bit of an expert on chowder at this stage, and he liked this one a lot.
We followed with the pan fried hake served with tagliatelle, pine nuts and a balsamic reduction, and this was so full of flavor and taste that I had to share. Never good. Fred enjoyed the Anvil style chicken curry with naan bread and a mint & yogurt dip, which was an exceptionally generous serving but so good that he cleared the plate.
With 2 coffees and homemade cheesecake of the day to share it was the perfect end to a perfect evening. The Anvil is striving for high places, and based on our experience, Graham and the team have certainly arrived.