Right on the seafront, with commanding views of the beach, from Bray head around to Dalkey Island and beyond, it really is a great setting for Bray’s newest restaurant, or gastrobar, Butler & Barry.
Butler & Barry, the story goes, were two eccentric gentlemen who travelled the world in the 1920s and 1930s. They returned to Bray with memorabilia from far and wide which is now displayed here. A very large pinch of salt required to believe this tale!
A significant investment has been made to refurbish and redesign this space from it’s previous form. Wooden paneling, soft leather, velvet fabrics, distressed wood, greys, teals and cream colours throughout. I like that they have steered clear of the obvious blue & white nautical styling that would have been so easy for the setting, opting for this darker, luxury feel.
To the side, through a door and up a small stairway, there’s a swinging chair, a statement piece, with incredible views out to sea. I predict this will be appearing in a lot of Instagram pictures! Overall I was really impressed with what they have done in Butler & Barry; it’s much smarter than previous incarnations.
The wine list is short but with reasonable choices, I found the whites to be more to my taste than the red selection. The bar drinks menu is great, lots of Irish gins, their house gin is Tanqueray which is definitely a great start. G&T, Coors Light and a glass of Australian Chardonnay to start us off on the upper terrace.
We moved inside then to eat, with a table by the window. The menu is quite limited, and is very much an ‘all day casual dining’ style of menu. Butler & Barry is only open a few weeks so the menu may evolve. While the the food was good, some tweaks to the menu, less fried options in particular, would make it more appealing.
We started with two small portions of chicken wings (€8.95 ea.) to share to start between the 4 of us – one Buffalo and one Smokey. Both were tasty but the Buffalo was the winner. Tasty wings, lots of flavours and good portion size for the price. The blue cheese dip though was too light and watery. It needs a bigger hit of blue cheese and a thicker consistency.
I chose the Chargrilled Open Steak Sandwich (€15.95) which came with a huge mound of crispy onions on top that I had to wade through to find the steak and pepper sauce. The onions could have been halved in quantity and there would still have been too many. The steak though was flavoursome and tender, served medium rare. I wasn’t asked how I wanted it so make sure if you like it otherwise, say so.
Two chose the Spicy Chicken Ciabatta (€13.95) which was a hit, but more of a lunch dish than dinner… And finally there was Beef Nachos (€10.95). We all liked what we had but struggled a bit with the menu and choices. There’s a lot of very similar dishes, variety is needed. The Shrimp & Avocado Sandwich was not available that evening and there was no replacement on. For the setting and place, the menu lets it down at the moment.
To finish with something sweet and to try a dessert, we ordered an Eton Mess (€5.95) and 4 spoons. Good balance of sweet and tart, perhaps a little heavy on the cream and light on the meringue but enjoyable. A bottle of the Peter Lehman Wildcard Chardonnay (€26) was light and crisp. And a glass of Tempranillo (€5.75) to end the evening when we moved back up to the bar for a nightcap.
There was definite positives and some downs. Given it’s only a few weeks open there’s always going to be time needed to bed in, train staff, establish the menu so I would forgive a lot at this early stage. The signs are positive though and I look forward to returning to Butler & Barry again.
Contact & Information:
Butler & Barry | Strand Road, Bray, Co. Wicklow | (01) 286 5413 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Open 7 days – Sun-Thurs: 12:00 – 23:30 / Fri & Sat: 12:00 – 00:30