Bracing yourself for some Christmas sales shopping in Galway? Joe McNamee has some ideas on where to eat in the city.
There’s a case to be made for beginning a Christmas shopping day in Galway – or any day, for that matter - with scrambled eggs and feta cheese (with either roasted cherry tomatoes or smoked bacon) from Anton’s.
It’s something of a cult classic round those parts, but if your Christmas shopping expedition in Galway requires something extra special, try the elegant Corrib House Tea Rooms.
This is a gorgeous and stately space overlooking Salmon Weir, and whether you’re in the market for a light repast such as the buttermilk pancakes (served with plum and apple compote, maple syrup and Greek yoghurt) or the full-blown fry, you’ll most certainly, in the parlance, be ‘setting yourself up for the day ahead’.
Mid-morning coffee break is an essential pitstop for the spiritual and physical wellbeing of any Christmas shopper, and Coffee Werk + Press covers all fronts. This is an effortlessly funky little venue on Quay Street serving up superb coffees made that also serves as a showcase for Irish and international art and design.
One of the quintessential Galway experiences, lunch in Kai is precisely the healing balm required for the fiscally-frazzled looking to down the bags for an hour or so. The always splendid fare can stretch from a simple bowl of soup to any of chef/proprietor Jess Murphy’s inventive interpretations of sublimely-sourced local produce.
One example – the chickpea and goat’s curd filo pies with lentil pate, carrot and apple salad, parsley pistou, and garlic and herb focaccia - would soon have me back up in the saddle, shopping once more for Ireland.
Long before Galway ever ‘discovered’ food, it had a reputation as a party town, a rep bed-rocked by some of the finest and liveliest pubs in the land. It being a time of year when ‘tradition’ comes into its own, I make no apologies for plumping for one of Ireland’s finest traditional pubs, Tigh Neachtain’s, a giddy warren of angular rooms and random spaces where you’ll get a perfect pint of plain.
From traditional to 21st century, in one fell swoop, follow your pint there with dinner in the sleek, streamlined Loam. Chef/proprietor Enda McEvoy is one of the most original and intuitive cooks in the country.
If the thought of a blow-out tasting menu is simply too much after a frenetic day, the two-course simplicity menu should more than suffice, and can be washed down with a guzzle or two from the superb selection of natural and organic wines.