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“Full of surprises - the unpleasant sort.”
Review of Bully's - CLOSED

Bully's
Cuisines: Italian
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Restaurant details
Good for: Families with children
Dining options: Late Night, Reservations
Neighborhood: Douglas
Reviewed April 9, 2013

Full of surprises was Bullys Douglas recently although not of the pleasant sort. From prima-donna chefs, unresponsive waiting staff, unreasonable waits, poor cuisine, poor food quality and foreign objects in food, it was, well, an interesting visit.

Eco’s was full, so we did what most do in the area when there’s no room at that inn, go across the road to Bully’s.

Years ago, many patrons avoided any selection of dishes named as ‘Specials’ or ‘Earlybird’ as invariably the portions were of far poorer quality than the same dish available on the main menu... an opportunity for the chef to recycle what was left in the fridge. This seemed to change with time to become a menu choice that matched the menu and of high quality, but it seems that nobody told Bullys.

French Onion soup and Crostini eventually arrived after an overlong twenty five minutes. These Crostini were the distant Irish cousin of the Italian ‘little toasts’ but instead of French bread toasted slices attractively garnished with a variety of cheeses, vegetables and meats, what passed for the dish was an Irish Pride bread slice toasted with a melange of identical bland toppings with far too much Balsamic in the mix. Ms A voted it unexciting and Crostini is a dish that takes little imagination to improve on. Strike one.

The French Onion was like no French Onion I had ever seen or tasted for that matter. Instead of a beef stock base with generous servings of roasted onion topped with well toasted parmesan toast cubes, I was given a Minestrone soup base full of well cooked onion with more Irish Pride bread torn to pieces and dropped on the top – untoasted and without parmesan.

I caught our waiter’s eye (no mean feat in itself) and attempted to send the soup back to the kitchen as it seemed to be the wrong order. But this was to be just the opening act of an interesting dining experience. The lifetime rule of trying not to annoy waiting staff or the kitchen brigade still stands with me so our waiter was persuaded to return it. For the first time in my dining life, the dish was the subject of an animated discussion, removed under duress but returned promptly to the table with an amusingly patronising explanation ‘The Chef says that’s French Onion soup and he is French’. So in other words, like it or lump it. Strike two.

We should have walked out there and then, but I have to admit, this was a little entertaining. After all, we all have heard of prima-donna chefs remonstrating with diners in Michelin Star eateries but in Bully’s Douglas? Maybe this French Onion soup was his Mother’s special recipe, so tried the dish & it was excellent. Service picked up dramatically after that, attentive, efficient and main courses of lasagne and Supreme of Chicken appeared promptly. Pity.

Ms A’s lasagne was poor. Over salted, badly prepared with limp pasta smothered in tomato sauce. The side salad made up of odds and ends was dry and should have been thrown out a day or two earlier as inedible. Strike three.

My Supreme was over-cooked, dry and bland. Sauce was of the Bisto variety maybe flavoured with cranberry but with a selection of excellent roasted vegetables. Nothing to write home about, or so I thought.

However, the highlight of the dish was spotted three quarters through – a sliver of metal under the chicken. A shard of bright, shiny metal from a pot scrubber, 5cms long, wiry, springy and definitely not requested. Coincidence? Poor kitchen practice? The chatty manager joined us on request and examined the offending shard. What followed was surreal as we were lectured on the pros and cons of metal and plastic pot scrubbers, French & Turkish personalities etc. Suffice to say, we declined offers of dessert and coffee and agreed that no charge should be made.

It must have been an off day for Bullys, but shards of metal in a main course clearly says just one thing. Eat elsewhere. We will.

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3  Thank Ruairi L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviews (51)
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9 - 13 of 51 reviews

Reviewed March 18, 2013

This is my 14th year eating at Bullys restaurant, so isn't it about time I told you about the place !!

We eat here annually on the evening of St Patricks day, but I've eaten here at other times too. It's a friends/family event, and I always look forward to it. You don't always need to book a table, but we always book if its a weekend (just in case).

Bullys (not to be confused with the restaurant of the same name in Paul Street, Cork City) is located right in the middle of Douglas village. Parking there is sometimes an issue. We use on street parking in the vicinity or the nearby multistorey car park.

Do not be fooled by the narrow street frontage of the restaurant. There is room inside for about 80 diners. The restaurant is very nicely appointed and comfortable. It is always welcoming, hence the reason I look forward to going there. Diners there are mixed age groups which creates a very nice atmosphere, and they are very family friendly.

What I love about Bullys is it's location, comfort, and consistency of the food there. In the main all of the staff are very nice and friendly. The menu is very comprehensive and while the restaurant has an Italian-y focus, you certainly could not fit it exclusively into the Italian category. I suppose you could say its 'Italy meets Cork' !! The main food items are Pizza, Burger and then a very good eclectic section to the menu which will surely appeal to all palates. Quality of the food is always excellent.
There is a very nice 'starter' section where our group favour, the Brie, Mushrooms and Wings offerings and there is an equally good dessert menu. Cheesecake is always good there and the portions, very generous.

So, on my last visit there, I had the delicious deep fried brie with salad. This could actually pass for a very good lunch size portion. Three fine chunks of brie, deep fried and served with a little salad. Absolutely HIT THE SPOT. I then had the 'Taco' Pizza. This is one of the 'hotter' pizzas on the menu and I could not fault it. If I could have licked the plate after finishing every last morsel, I would have gladly done that. Thankfully for other diners, I refrained. I didn't have dessert but others at the table had Baileys Cheesecake, Chocolate Cheesecake and ice creams and they looked delicious. A very nice bottle of House Red (Cabernet Sauvignon) at just under €20 was a lovely accompaniment, and a very good coffee for me rounded off a really lovely meal in a really lovely restaurant.

Well done all at Bullys. I'll be back in 2014 for year 15!!

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Thank Bryno
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 11, 2013 via mobile

good food,big portions,good meat,good curry.....fast service,family friendly.......and clean! never booked a table before going there,we went more than 5 times, and they alwsys had a place for us.

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Thank alfamarija
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 10, 2013

My friend and i had dinner here yesterday evening. We were both really impressed, from the minute we walked in. We were both seated by the window which was lovely and cosy, with loads of space, which is a bonus as most restaurants, they have tables very close together. I had the prawn stir fry, which was excellent, one of the nicest stir frys i have had. My friend had the lasagne, which she commented that it was the nicest she had also. For dessert i had the chocolate cheesecake, and my friend had the strawberry meringue, both heaven. The staff are very friendly, and on leaving we paid to smiling people behind the counter, which can be rare in many places. overall we were very happy customers. oh and 16.95 for two courses, which is great. We shall be returning in the near future.

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Thank jncork
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 10, 2013

I've eaten at Bully's restaurant on countless occasions, and have never had what I would consider to be a bad experience. The restaurant is nice, the staff are generally efficent and the food is good, although I have to say I tend to stick to pizzas and burgers.

But I wouldn't go here for a special occasion, because to me, it's just not that kind of place. The staff can be a bit too casual and the restaurant itself isn't especially comfortable or impressive, It's also a very family friendly restaurant, and they are ALWAYS families with children there who seem utterly oblivious to the fact that it's a small place where everyone can hear the noise their toddler is making.

If you start adding desserts and teas and coffees, yes, sometimes the bill does sting a bit. (When there are two of us, it generally comes to the best part of €50.) They do an early bird set menu during the day, though.

To sum up, if you're shopping in Douglas and want a nice lunch stop, or you want to dine after work, this is a good place with good food. But I wouldn't expect any more than that, even if the prices might suggest you should...

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Thank catherineh1982
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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