I didn't realize Columbia was sorely in need of good Irish-y pub food until I stepped into the British Bulldog Pub last week. If you asked me prior, I don't think I could possibly name an Irish place off the top of my head in the Capital City, one that really did potatoes and meat pies some justice at least. Fortunately, this problem has rectified, and everyone can sleep at night again.
In a nutshell, Bulldog is pretty great. And by great, I mean the best thing you'll find on Harbison, hands down. In a land of not just awful chain restaurants, but all the awful chain restaurants, Bulldog is positive step in the right direction. The menu is kind of surprising; a host of meat pies along with the usual suspects headline the list. Shoving a fish and chips craving aside, I grabbed an order of the chicken, bacon and leek pie. The pie itself was an easy decision, but Bulldog sweetened the deal with something I've never seen before as its side - an order of mustard mashed potatoes. Hand mashed potatoes with a burst of tangy mustard seed, it was kind of awesomely good in a way I wasn't expecting at all. The meat pie was great too, full of potatoes and stuff, in a flaky dough and slathered in nice gravy just because. The photo I think says it all. If a potato, chicken, leek and bacon pie sounds good to you, then you'll like it, no doubt.
This being my first visit to Bulldog, it might be absurd to call this one of my favorite places in Columbia, but I definitely liked what I had on this visit and have plans to come back often as long as I'm in the midlands. The beer is a touch pricey (decent collection though), along with the food, but as an occasional splurge, I think it's totally worth it, especially if you're wandering the Irmo area for something to eat.