I recently went on the Galway East End Food Tour run by the lovely Sheena Dignam, and it was too much fun not to share. The idea of the tour is to showcase some of the best places to eat in Galway. Over the course of one evening, we walked to five different spots in Galway to try cocktails, oysters, french treats and much more. Read on to hear all about the tour, what it entails and everything we tasted.
I’ve heard of wine tastings, I’ve heard of beer tasting and pub crawls but I honestly had never heard of a food tour before I moved to Galway. I remember spotting a sign for the tour in a pub in Galway’s West End with some friends from work and thought, this is something I need to try.
Raw – Sushi in the Sky
Our first stop was the fantastic ‘Raw – Sushi in the Sky’ at the Radisson Hotel where we sampled an array of sushi and a lovely little shot of sake. We were greeted at the door by Sheena, our guide for the evening, and brought to a table where I met many other fellow foodies! The table was already set out with freshly prepared sushi, but first, Chef Hisashi Kumagai gave a couple words on the dish and explained what it was that was so deliciously sitting in front of us. He then told us to take our shot of Sake and dig in!
The sushi was nothing less than divine! I’m a huge sushi fan and can tell you I’ve tried a lot of sushi in my twenty four years (I think I tried my first piece around age 12 – but that’s another story) so when I say this is good, I mean it was good. Each roll was packed to perfection and full of wonderful flavours. The Tuna and Prawn Nigiri was very tasty. Prawn Nigiri is a go to of mine and I love my tuna! This was accompanied with a spicy ball of wasabi and pickled ginger to cleanse the palate after each piece. I will definitely be returning to Raw to sample more sushi soon. This was without a doubt, a great start to the evening!
I’ve been so excited to try Loam for a long time. With a Michelin star, it is one of Galway’s most talked about spots to eat. Loam was honestly the place I was most excited for on the food tour and the real selling point for me when purchasing my ticket. Loam is somewhere I would absolutely love to go to for dinner sometime, but honestly is just not in my budget right now, so when I saw Loam on the list I had to sign up! That being said, I have been told Loam is a fantastic spot to go for a reasonably priced cheeseboard and charcuteries accompanied by delicious wine. I think i’ll have to go try that out so I can write another blog post, right? Personally, I think that sounds like the perfect Friday evening, or a lovely little date so I will definitely be heading back to Loam!
One thing I did not know about Loam was that everything they have (bar the wine) is sourced in Ireland. Only ingredients from Ireland are used there. That means no olive oil, no lemons, etc.. only Irish food is used. They find a way to convey each flavour through different Irish foods. I found that so interesting, and extremely impressive!
We were greeted with a gorgeous glass of wine, I choose white, and seated at a beautifully rustic table. One thing I always note in a restaurant is the decor. Loam has a wonderfully industrial and rustic interior. Very fitting to its menu. We were served three tasters of what their full menu entails. First, we were presented with a squid cracker with a cod emulsion, followed by a bouquet of local herbs and plants, and finally, a cheese coulis. All bite size tasters of what to expect from a dinner experience at Loam. Delicate and delightful!
On our next stop we ventured around the corner to a renowned Galway pub for whiskey tasting paired with Micheal Brown’s Oysters. Michael greeted us with a big smile and a huge tray of fresh Galway Bay oysters! I have to admit, I had never tried oysters before and was a bit afraid, especially when Michael told us we were trying them with…buttermilk! He told us how oysters are a ‘filter fish’ and that they would filter the buttermilk and leave behind a tasty cream. I was a little afraid, but I took an oyster and I knocked it back! I feel like the only way to describe my first oyster was like eating a little part of the ocean. An oyster is definitely something that you need to try for yourself, no one can properly describe to you what it feels like. It’s a true culinary experience!
To wash down the oysters, we tried a tasty Hyde Irish Whiskey. This whiskey had been matured for 5 years before transferring it into a rum cask to give it a wonderfully fruity flavour. We also tried a lovely gin gin mule! This is possibly one of my new favourite drinks, it was so refreshing and different! They were created right in front of us and they basically consist of gin, ginger beer and mint. I have yet to try make one of these at home but when I do, you’ll hear about it!
This was not my first time in O’Connell’s, but it was my first visit since they completely revamped their outdoor area! The outdoor area has lots of seating, heated areas, a bus that doubles as a DJ booth and it is set up in a cute ‘street style’. The indoor is a typical style Irish pub with cute quirks such as a penny sweet bar and a range of craft beers to choose from. Also, did I mention it’s a dog friendly bar? As long as you’re in the lovely outdoor area, you can have a pint with your pooch. It’s a definite favourite of mine!
Le Petit Pois
Next stop – Le Petit Pois! I was so excited to come here. It’s one of those spots that is just off the beaten path and feels so comfortable and cosy. Le Petit Pois is owned by a french couple who moved from Paris with a dream of opening a restaurant – so they did!
We were greeted with a glass of red or white wine, I went with the white as usual. I don’t know if you’ve been counting but we’ve had quite a few nice drinks at this point. I just thought I would point that out because it’s something I really appreciate. Each drink is perfectly paired with the food. The white wine was delicious with the homemade fois gras, sundried tomato tart, pea soup shot and some beautiful comte cheese. My kind of dining! And that wasn’t all, we were delighted with a delicious chocolate bite after. YUM!
The House Hotel
And so, our tour comes to an end. Our final stop of the night was the fantastic House Hotel. This was not my first time here, it is an amazing venue with the brightest, quirkiest and coolest decor while staying a so very elegant. We walked in meet the guys from ‘The Shed Distillery’ who were making lots of funky cocktails for the Galway Gin Fest! The House Hotel presented us with a cute little Pimm’s jelly in a jar, ice cream and a sprinkle of crumbled meringue. It was the best looking jelly & ice cream I ever had!
Next, we were handed a very impressive looking ‘Aviation’ cocktail made with Ireland’s own Drumshambo Gun Powder Gin. The perfect end to a perfect night!
Overall, the food tour was an amazing experience. As I mentioned before it is such a cool idea and something really different to do with your friends! If you have any interest in food I can guarantee you that you will have a good time. As someone who hasn’t lived in Galway a long time, I loved hearing from people like Michael who has been selling local oysters at the Galway Market for years, the story behind one of my favourite pubs, O’ Connells, and so much more.
The tour itself varies in price. This particular tour was close to €60 including booking fees but the last tour I was on was €35. I would recommend checking out the food tour website or Facebook page to find out when the next tour is on or book a tour for yourself and friends! Sheena is a fantastic and friendly host and I cannot think of a better way to spend a Thursday night.
The Galway Food Tours are true food enthusiasts delight. Unsure where to go for dinner? Why not try a little taste of everything. I cannot tell you how much I have enjoyed both tours I’ve been on. You’ll just have to go and try one for yourself!