Kytelers Inn is in the heart of Kilkenny’s cathedral city and this family business has been run by Nicola Flynn and her team for the past 25 years. The building is steeped in history and full of stories that date back to 1324, when Dame Alice le Kyteler was branded a witch and sentenced to death. Apparently between making the Inn a den of merrymaking, she saw off four husbands, and then proceeded to escape her death sentence. Unfortunately for her maid, the good citizens decided to burn her instead rather than miss out on a day out so to speak, and her ghost is said to prowl the Inn to this day.
Now it is spread over three stories; the basement with it’s low ceilings and little nooks and crannies to the ground floor, which is more contemporary and is divided between dining area, function room and main bar, while upstairs is another large bar area. This is not a formal restaurant, but Kytelers serve wholesome bar food in a casual dining environment.
With it’s solid stone walls, traditional wooden beams and wrought iron railings, it’s a must see pub for the visitor. There are all kinds of antique paraphernalia; old malt whiskey bottles, oil lanterns, Kilkenny football shirts, flags and even an old penny farthing hanging from the ceiling.
The evening we visited we were seated on the ground floor beside a massive open fireplace, with a roaring fire which was perfect on the miserable evening. The menu was short and precise and everything served is prepared freshly and all ingredients are sourced locally. Children have their own section of the menu or have the option of half portions on the main menu.
Starters range in price from €4.50 for garlic bread with or without cheese, €5.00 for their homemade vegetable soup to €7.75 for all others choices like deep fried rounds of brie, spicy chicken wings or vegetarian spring rolls. We ordered their homemade chicken liver pate with Cumberland sauce and toast, warm vegetarian goats cheese tartlet and a bowl of the vegetable soup, and while the first thing that came to mind was the generosity of the portions, we were then struck by the freshness and real homemade feel.
Main courses were all priced between €11-13, except the steaks, with sirloin at €20 and fillet at €22. Here the options are very much traditional fare; bangers and mash, breaded fillet of chicken or chicken & ham vol-au-vent. I ordered the smoked haddock & salmon fishcakes; 2 chunky fishcakes served with sweet chilli sauce and homemade chips. There was a deep fried fillet of plaice with chips and peas with tartare sauce, which was nicely cooked and the chips were very good. A bowl of Kytelers traditional Irish stew was a huge bowl of lamb stew full of meat and vegetables, a real comfort dish perfect for a winters day.
Homemade desserts were so tempting, we couldn’t not try some. We loved the warm apple and berry crumble that came with cream and custard, while a Baileys and mint cheese cake was delish, and death by chocolate was exactly what it said on the tin.
Kytelers offers good food and value, with a warm welcome in an historic setting. One of the places to see when in Kilkenny, there is music most nights and it’s always busy and fun. Enjoy a pint at the bar, have some food and soak up the atmosphere.