The snippet in the magazine describes us as being a “smart-casual fine dining” restaurant. This statement cannot be denied:
Our semi-private and private dining rooms are perfect to cater for any occasion, allowing for the catering of large groups. When you choose to dine in our private areas you have the option of the following:
Scott Talllon private room — Described as one of the most stunning rooms in the city, this private dining area can hold up to 44 guests seated or 55 standing. It is the ideal location for corporate meetings due to the privacy and discretion it offers guests.
The Mezzanine — Looking out over Merrion Row, The Mezzanine has an ‘alfresco’ feel with wall-to-wall picture windows which open out onto the street. If you enjoy peering into the kitchen while your food is being prepared, then this is the perfect room for you.
The Bar — If you prefer a more relaxed environment then you should opt for The Bar. It can hold more guests compared to the Scott Tallon room or The Mezzanine with 60 people seated or 75 standing. The Bar can also be cleared of furniture to make for a great dance floor.
Most of all, for our private diners, you have the option to either choose your own menu or select from our range of group menus.
We would love to know what you thought of your visit to Bang.
Did we anticipate your needs, make you feel comfortable and cared for? Yes – nice touch to ask us between courses if we were pressed for time – as an “office team lunch” we technically were on our “lunchbreak” – but once we were there, we were all that bit more relaxed & happy to take our time & enjoy the experience.
Can we pass on a message to Niall, our Chef? Compliments to the chef! All courses were delicious! Black pudding was amazing – beef main was beautiful – chocolate cake dessert to die for (to name just a few)!! Table of 14/16 – as organiser there was a lot of pressure to ensure everyone was happy! I got a firm thumbs up J
Did you enjoy the atmosphere? Lovely atmosphere for a Friday afternoon – nice, bright, airy décor & vibe to the restaurant
We try hard to deliver an enjoyable experience, did you feel it was good value? Very much so as our group booking availed of the 2 for €26 lunch menu deal! (although we didn’t quite stick to it, with ordering some desserts & coffees etc – but not the restaurants fault!!)
What 3 things would you change if you owned Bang? More offers for repeat customers on mailing list etc. I’ve been a couple of times with my husband – as a result I got the emailed offer through to my personal email and booked Bang for our team lunch – you now have another 15 new satisfied clients who will most definitely be back & will spread the word of their experience in Bang.You’re welcome J J J
Please feel free to let others know of your experience at Bang by leaving a review on our
There are few people who cannot be won over by a delicately prepared meal. The effect of a sumptuous meal on our senses is irresistible. Who is not more amenable after a delicious dish?
There is a good reason why the business lunch and the corporate dinner are such an important part of how many businesses operate. Sharing a meal with someone is a great way to get to know them. When that meal is exquisite and the atmosphere refined, these positive associations colour the relationship.
A business dining event can really make all the difference in closing a deal or bringing on a new client. That is why it is so important not to overlook the little details when you are choosing the location for your business meal. Read more…
You’ve taken on the responsibility for organising dinner for a large group. Maybe it’s for a reunion, a wedding, an anniversary or a work related event. You set out to book a restaurant and suddenly realise there are so many things to take account of that you hadn’t thought of before.
We’ll take a look at some of the things you should keep mind when you are booking a restaurant for a large group. Some are relatively straightforward but others might take a bit of research. It is usually worth the extra effort if you want to make sure it is a night everyone remembers.
Recently during a video shoot we did at BANG, it struck me that this is a great place of passion! I know that statement could be considered a bit risqué given the name of our lovely restaurant, but passion was definitely the word that came to mind at the end of the evening as we closed the doors and sat down, having seen our happy and contented guests off the premises for the night. Read more…
Dark Chocolate Pave – A Classic Fine Dining Recipe
Kicking off our series of classic fine dining recipes is the exquisite Dark Chocolate Pave. This has always been one of the great favourites at BANG. We’ve persuaded Phil our Head Chef to share the secret of his wonderful chocolate dessert.
1 packet digestive biscuits
100g cocoa powder
Melted butter (enough to bind mix)
6 whole eggs
9 egg whites
900g dark chocolate melted
1500g whipped cream
300g choc melted
500ml cream just brought to the boil
Make base first, mould onto gastro tray and set.
Heat water and sugar to 120 degrees.
Whisk all eggs on highest speed for 15mins.
When eggs are thick and pale add sugar mix slowly.
Add melted gelatine to eggs.
Divide mixture into 2 bowls, add chocolate to one then add remaining mix.
Fold in cream, pour onto base mixture and set.
For the ganache, melt chocolate and whisk in cream until glossy.
A frank conversation with Bobby Kerr, businessman, broadcaster & public speaker.
I met with Bobby Kerr in his office above Insomnia on bustling Stephen’s Green on a beautiful day in late June. An Insomnia coffee in hand, he looked relaxed and at ease with himself as he welcomed me graciously and offered me coffee.
Lots has been written about Bobby and his bio is readily available with a click, so as we sat down, I hoped he was ready to show me the other side of the public man. I wanted to know how a successful businessman progresses through the various stages of a working life and what he sees as the real lessons along the way
The Early Days
Bobby or Robert, as he’s known to his family, is the eldest of four and grew up in Kilkenny. The 4* Newpark Hotel was the family business and provided Bobby and all his siblings with their first jobs.
“…. the most boring, monotonous job imaginable” …
“There was nothing like starting at the bottom, sorting bottles into crates in a huge yard – you’re sticky, hot, being stung by bees- it’s the most boring, monotonous job imaginable” Moving up the ranks to garden maintenance and progressing to the kitchen, Bobby learnt the ropes as his creative and collaborative streak were nurtured. “I particularly loved working in the kitchen- the buzz, the pressure, the humour, the banter but also the fact that we were working as a team to create something”
“I thought we were polar opposites.”
I asked Bobby what influenced most from this early period in his life. Without hesitation he answered ‘the Old Man’- “He worked every day, he was an amazing man, although I didn’t think it at the time” he told me smiling a little at the thought. “I was 18 and he was in his late forties, maybe fifty and I thought ‘he knows nothing, you know everything’. I thought we were polar opposites. It’s only latterly that you realize that you’re the same. When you come back from working with other people, you appreciate that maybe the old man does know what he’s talking about. We got on famously after that.”
The early 80’s saw Bobby studying at Dublin College of Catering, Cathal Brugha Street, working a part-time job throughout his college years at the Coconut Grove, and continuing to work with food and drink. He worked a summer job as 2nd chef in Actons in Kinsale, adding to his experience and a final year 6-month college placement saw him working in AIB Bank Centre, in Ballsbridge. Bobby describes it as “…the standard bearer for quality mass catering at the time” feeding 2,500 people a day.
Giving it everything
After college, Bobby landed a chef’s position on a North Sea oil rig. “The joke on the rigs was that we were 5* chefs with 1* customers. It was great money but life was tough there. “You learned the value of hard work and ‘staying at it’. You learned to come in early to get ahead of the workload if that’s what it took. You learned to give it everything.” Thinking about it Bobby describes the lesson as
“You can still fail if you work hard, but your chances of success are vastly increased if you’re prepared to give it everything.”
It must have worked well for him because he continued with the same company to Canada learning the catering business of Parks and Stadiums in a junior management capacity.
By the mid 80s, Bobby was ready to come home and joined the Campbell Catering and Bewley’s Group. Starting with the operations side in Cork, Bobby progressed through the ranks to sales and operations. In the position of MD of Bewley’s for 6 years with an annual turnover of €40 million, he oversaw the business of running cafés and bakeries and gained expertise along the way in sales, the ‘High Street’, property and franchising as he oversaw the expansion of the Bewley’s brand to the UK, USA and Japan. Answering the question of what was the best lesson learned at Bewley’s, he replied
“Again, it was the hard school of knocks- if you weren’t committed 24/7, there was always someone else to take your job“
He credits the Campbell Bewley’s organization with teaching him all the elements of his working life today.
Taking the plunge- the birth of Perk
In 1998, Bobby was involved with Bewley’s in the acquisition of a small coffee shop in Boston called Rebecca’s. Seeing what was happening in the US with Starbucks gourmet coffee and others gave him some pause for thought. He considered what was happening to monstrous Cafes here being killed with rent reviews every 5 years. “Bewley’s Grafton Street had a rent of €350,000 then and it’s now in the region of €4.6 million.” He thought it might work if he could open somewhere that had a much smaller footprint and where the business would be primarily ‘take-away’.
“ If you think back to the mid 90s, no-one walked down Grafton Street with a cappuccino. In Bewley’s, there were two kinds of coffee- one was black the other was white.”
The first ‘Perk’ was opened in 1999 in the basement of Laura Ashley’s in Grafton Street, followed by shops in Dawson Street, Baggot Street and two outlets in UCD. In 2002 Insomnia Coffee Company, a competitor in the gourmet coffee business with five shops acquired Bendini & Shaw’s 6 sandwich shops. By 2004, Bobby sold Perk to Insomnia, reinvested all the proceeds into the company and joined them initially as Commercial Director and soon took on the CEO position. His view has always been one of collaboration and he has been quoted as saying
“I decided it would be better to be a small part of something bigger than a big part of something smaller”
All 17 shops were rebranded as ‘Insomnia’ in early 2005. Along with his partners, Bobby as CEO has since overseen, the expansion of Insomnia from 17 to 72 shops with turnover going form €5-€21 million. In 2008, they sold 51% of the company to an Icelandic conglomerate Penninn for €16 million and bought it back again from the bank when the Penninn company went into liquidation in the financial crisis and it’s assets were all taken over by the Icelandic bank Kaupthing.
Although the facts of Bobby story are well know, I wanted the story behind the headline success story. Was it all plain sailing?
(To be continued)
When the conversation continues, Bobby shares his Top tips and lessons learned in opening a business. We discuss his public persona, his down time and what the future holds in his estimation.
A frank conversation with Bobby Kerr, businessman, broadcaster, and public speaker. (Part 2)
In the past thirteen years, Bobby Kerr has gone from being a sole trader with one small start up coffee shop to being Chairperson and partner of one the Ireland’s commercial success stories- Insomnia Coffee Company, a very well respected broadcasting figure with a high profile TV program behind him and a current well rated radio show, partner in Bang Restaurant and an inspirational and popular public speaker. I was eager to continue our conversation- how did he manage it all and what had he learned on the way.
Lessons in starting and growing your own business
I asked Bobby what he would share with young business entrepreneurs about the initial lessons he had learned in starting your own business. Always the mentor and coach, he didn’t hesitate for a second.
It will take twice as long as you think to get the business open
If you’re not actually making money, you’re burning it
Ask for twice as much money as you need
Be all over the business at the start, when the business is small enough
If you’re at every dogfight, you won’t be able to grow the business
The initial time estimate for opening Bobby’s first business, Perk was two months- it took eleven months to open and costs built up. When it opened, taking his own advice, he was all over the business, which meant personally writing every cheque, controlling every cost and placing every order. He grins as he describes those early days “It was a very flat management structure…in fact there was no management structure.” There was a part time accountant doing a few hours a week and there was Bobby. Returning to a more serious tone, he adds,
“I quickly figured out that if I didn’t change the way I was doing things, I would never be able to grow the business”
He had to learn to trust other people.
The essence of a good business partner
Bobby still works with his initial partners in Insomnia today. I wanted to know what he thought important in choosing business partners.
Choose partners with different strengths & qualities to your own
Must be ‘street-wise’- alert to opportunity and market temperature
They have to be able to get on with people
“I think the later may be the most important of all in business. I’ve seen the most brilliant people become virtually unemployable because they can’t get on with other people.”
A Dragon’s fame!
An extrovert and social person by nature, it’s not really a surprise to Bobby’s inner circle that he has emerged as a public figure. A friend of Bobby’s wife Mary, worked with Bank of Ireland, who were sponsoring an Irish version of the UK hit show ‘Dragon’s Den’. He approached Bobby about joining the show “That type of thing had never been central to my world, so I refused at first.” He was soon persuaded however, and did an audition and a screen test.
“I liked it… really enjoyed the 4 years there as a ‘Dragon”
Four years and ten investments later, Bobby left the Dragon’s Den. “Some of the investments were good, some were ok and some were bad” He’s still involved with some of them and regardless of the outcome he says “I was always at one with all the people and still am”
Following on from being a ‘Dragon’, opportunities arose in radio and Bobby can be heard weekly as he hosts Newstalk’s ‘Down to Business’ every weekend. He hopes to do more radio in the future. At the time of this conversation Bobby had just finished filming a pilot documentary for TV- 6 shows looking at maritime Ireland, inland waterways and around the coast- a project he was very excited about.
He is still always on the lookout for good business opportunities and invested in Bang Restaurant in 2010 with partners. “It’s a well placed business and a good one,” he tells me. “Food has always been a passion for me and I like to be involved but it’s refreshing sometimes not to be the front guy.” Bobby is a Director of Bang Restaurant and can be occasionally seen running up and down the stairs working on the floor there!
Getting ahead of himself
So the question really is, how does he manage to accomplish as much as he does?
He gets up at 5.15am every morning to get ahead of himself. He answers mail, gets to the gym, and never gets stuck in traffic at a time when most people are still sleeping.
He made the gym part of his work life about 6 or 7 years ago and that gets scheduled just like another meeting. He is an avid sailor and makes time to sail once a week on a midweek evening from 6-8pm. He is also sails competitively.
“You should never feel guilty about spending time doing something you love- the value it brings to your life is immeasurable”
This particular lesson, he told me came from the Dragon’s Den.
At the time of our conversation, he had recently taken up running and had just completed his first 10K under an hour. Since then he has gone on to finish the Rock n’ Roll half marathon in 2 hours and 7 minutes, a time he is rightly very proud of and was also involved in the organization of the race. He’s still not sure if running is for him but will compete in some more races and review then.
Although always working, Bobby doesn’t worry too much about his businesses, thereby allowing him the time to explore other areas of interest. For this, he credits the very good people who work with him.
Married to Mary for the past 25 five years, they live in Sandycove with their four daughters and he has always made time for family too.
“Sleep was the only thing that ever got compromised, I suggest it still is!”
My final question to the man of many talents was if politics was a direction he would ever consider. He was very adamant in his response
“Never. Never- I saw what it did to my good friend Sean Gallagher- I wouldn’t touch it”
Looks like the Aras will have to do without Mr. Kerr.