KILKENNY

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The Bula Bus

Billy Byrne’s 39 John Street Kilkenny billy­byrnes.com Billy Byrne’s is a fam­ily-run bar that has been trad­ing since 1954. The front bar is sim­ple and mod­ern, with plenty of light wood tones, whereas the cov­ered ter­race and the beer gar­den are crammed with mis­matched vin­tage fur­ni­ture, cre­at­ing an en­dear­ingly cob­bled-to­gether aes­thetic. The gar­dens host in­ti­mate mu­si­cal per­for­mances and parked in the cor­ner is the Bula Bus, a grafitti-splat­tered dou­ble decker . Podge Mead is the Head Chef at Billy Byrne’s, which serves break­fast and lunch ev­ery day from 9.30am to 4pm, in­clud­ing brunch on a Sun­day from 12pm to 4pm. The Bula Bus closes on Mon­days, but is open from 6pm dur­ing the week, and from 4pm on the week­ends. Bill Healey helps out in The Bula Bus too, and the vibe is street food with a multi-na­tional flavour. I’m too late for the Spicy Korean Chicken Wings (¤5 as a starter por­tion, ¤7.50 as a main) which have run out be­fore I rock up to or­der at the side of the bus, but the Chicken Pin­cuito’s (¤7.50) make up for my loss. Chunks of chicken are doused in a spicy dry-rub and fried un­til crispy. A tasty lemon aioli brings some mois­ture, and I re­ally like the house-made flat­bread, which re­minds me tex­tu­rally of the Moroc­can msem­men crepe. My din­ner dates en­joy their tofu and roast veg bur­rito (¤7), an enor­mous par­cel of beans rice and salsa the size of a small baby, and a lamb kofta burger (¤7.50), a pe­tite burger served on a house­made bun.

A plate of cro­quettes (¤3) is the only part of our street food sup­per that doesn’t blow us away. They are nicely crispy, and a good hunk of corned beef has been mixed with soft spuds to make up their fill­ing, but they are lack­ing the char­ac­ter­is­tic com­fort of a cheeky cro­quette, and the amount of spuds ren­der them a lit­tle stodgy. An ac­com­pa­ny­ing blue cheese sauce is de­li­cious in its own right, but it over­pow­ers the cro­quettes, so per­haps a milder cheese is what’s needed here.

The sweet potato fries (¤3), on the other hand, are so good that we are com­pelled to or­der a sec­ond batch. They’re de­li­ciously crispy with­out be­ing at all oily.

The Bula Bus hosts Taco Tues­days weekly, and you can in­dulge in two tacos for ¤6 and three for ¤8. Pre­vi­ous in­car­na­tions of this night fea­tured shred­ded pork with Cal­i­for­nia coleslaw, Bula Bus’s pick­les and their house-made ha­banero hot sauce. On Wed­nes­day nights, they fire up their wood­fired pizza oven to make piz­zas for the movie night hosted in the pub.

The Bula Bus has been in the back gar­den for four years now, and this bus is show­ing no signs of go­ing any­where. Keep them in mind for an in­for­mal speedy sup­per on your next trip to Kilkenny. AMcE

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