Last week, Aisling and I had the pleasure of attending a press preview food tour in collaboration with Galway food festival 2017. I can definitely say we got to try out some of the best places to eat in Galway along this tour! Read on where we tell you all about where we went, what we ate and what to expect at The Galway Food Festival 2017.
The first restaurant we arrived in was Aniar, one of the two Michelin star restaurants here in Galway. When I first sat at the table I couldn’t help but notice how aesthetically pleasing everything was. There are herbs and bottles of flavoured oils adorning the tables and homely blankets hung snugly on the back of seats to add to the intimate atmosphere of the place. We were served an inviting glass of sparkling white wine before receiving a bowl full of tiny green rocks with a large flat stone on top. This stone was used to serve a foamy mushroom cracker with carrots which were dehydrated and then rehydrated for an intense flavour explosion. Beside the cracker lay a small smoked cheese tartlet which also packed a punch while simultaneously melting in your mouth. These are the kinds of flavours that stick with you, I savoured them on my tongue as the conversation flowed and everyone on the tour got to know each other. Although there were many vegetarian options, the next thing we were given was very interesting. We were given a hay mousse with crystallized fennel, but for the non veggies these were topped off, wait for it, dried ants which apparently have a lemon flavour. So, Aisling can now tick eating insects off of her bucket list.
The next stop we went to was McCambridges where we met up with the lovely Sheena from Galway Food Tours & we were treated to goats cheese on crackers, hazel mountain chocolate, a shot of green spot whiskey and a shot of Longeville brandy. We were given a summary of the history of McCambridges and the McCambridge family too which was so interesting. McCambridges are a great supporters of local businesses and you will find an array local Irish cheese, veg, alcohol and many other things. Afterwards, I left having even more love and respect for this place than I already did (which is quite a lot as I go there for my lunch at least once a week for their delicious deli). We definitely recommend popping in here if you’re in Galway for the food festival, even if it is just to have a look around or grab a coffee.
Bunch of Grapes
We had a brief stop at an amazing local pub, Bunch of Grapes. There was a great buzz in here for the Galway gin festival and we all tried different gin and tonics, I went for beefeater gin with juniper berries and an orange wheel and Aisling tried Mor Irish Gin with a fever tree tonic. Delish!
Kappa Ya was the most unexpected part of the tour purely because I’d never been here before. I didn’t have a clue what it was like inside or how the food would taste. I was very pleasantly surprised! We tasted three different kinds of sake from least expensive to most expensive (delicious!) and I had a couple of vegetarian sushi rolls as well as vegetarian miso soup – YUM! The waiter was really friendly and eager to cater to vegetarians which was really nice to see as well.
The non veggies were presented with Monkfish liver with Daikon Ponzu. The sushi was made with bluefin tuna and red mullet. Then, we were presented with grilled blue cheese and miso black pollock. The soup was a gurnard miso soup with sweetcorn and foie gras.
Lastly, for dessert, we tried a bowl of Camembert and cherry blossom ice cream. It was a really interesting mix of tastes and I am really glad to say that I tried it although I’m not sure yet how I feel about it! Overall, it was a great place and had a real authentic Japanese feel to it.
Gigi’s at The G Hotel
After Kappa Ya, we got a taxi to our next destination and we were greeted on arrival with bright pink umbrellas, which we sheltered under from the rain as we walked up the steps towards the iconic G Hotel. We listened intently to the fascinating reasons for the inspiration behind each room’s interior design. While we walked through the oyster and sea side themed lounge, with lights which resemble bubbles and walls painted with specially made colours, through to the ladies and gentleman’s lounges, noting prints on couches that required the Warhol family be contacted before they could be used. Amazing! In Gigi’s, we enjoyed bread and wine as we waited for our mains, which they served with almond oil and red pepper hummus. I ordered the vegetarian option which was delicious gnocchi covered in black truffle shavings, which had such an intense flavour. It was almost like a vegetarian’s parmesan. The staff here were unbelievably friendly too which is always a bonus! The head chef of Gigi’s, Jason O’Neill, is doing a demonstration of wild salmon vs farmed salmon & you can find the info here.
Biteclub Speak Easy with Micil Poitin
The spot we ventured to after Gigi’s was a little more mysterious than all the others. We entered the venue through a door way which wasn’t signposted in any way. We walked down corridor after corridor with only candlelight to guide us on our way. Eventually, (somehow) we arrived in the glasshouse in Electric/Biteclub! The bartenders and man behind Micil Poitín, Padraic, were there to greet us. We all tried some of the poitín neat as well as a poitin cocktail. I went for a poitín sour which attracted me as it was lit on fire during the process of being made which was visually stunning. The staff behind the bar were genius mixologists! This drink really took everyone’s breath away, partly because it is so strong! We love that Micil Poitin is named after Padraic’s great, great, great grandfather. We had a really interesting talk about the story behind the brand which was so impressive. We highly recommend attending on of their workshops at the festival.
Gaslight at The Meyrick Hotel
Last but not least, we enjoyed our amazing desserts at the Gaslight in the luxurious Meyrick hotel. They were so well presented and delicate. I went for the french classic and Aisling had the blackberry mousse, which both went down perfectly with a glass of prosecco. It was the perfect ending to the perfect night.