In and around Salthill there have always been plenty of cosy pubs from where you can watch storms roll over the bay, but while Salthill has many good points, up until the last few years, a wide choice of places to eat was not one of them.
The Galleon, the granddaddy of all Galway restaurants, had been doing a steady trade there for half a century, and of course, there are fish and chips, it is beside the sea after all. Add a couple of good Italians, a noodle house, and the always reliable Gourmet Tart and for a long time, that was the story told. Nowadays the Salthill menu extends to pub grub and craft beer, new openings include Asian street food, traditional and quirky cafes - The Full Duck is the latest addition to one of Ireland’s best-loved coastal destinations.
Opened in late 2015 in Renmore, just down the road from the Bon Secours hospital, the Full Duck made an immediate impression in the area. It is not the biggest cafe in the world, even though it has an extension to house the kitchen, but it might just be one of the busiest. On a nice day there is outdoor seating - space to park a buggy or tie up your canine companion for a coffee after a jaunt to one of the local parks, not too far away.
A sister cafe The Sitting Duck opened for business on Eyre Street at the end of January 2017, proving very popular and well able to hold its own on a street already full to the brim with good cafes. Then in September 2018, after spending a short time as Wildes on the Bay, The Full Duck again expanded into the building that formerly housed the Fisherman Seafood Bar and Grill, from fine-dining restaurant to casual café and all the better for it. Gone are the driftwood effect panelling and red sails on the ceiling, the uninterrupted views of the bay provide the most dramatic decoration through the glass frontage. The interior is simply decorated in a bistro style. It is a cheery room with high ceilings and plenty of light, bright, cushions and clean lines all just steps from the promenade. This chic restaurant is part of the new wave of quality cafes where the emphasis is on quality ingredients from local sources.
The menu is similar in style to the original Duck, wholesome dishes, good service, and great coffees. Customers will find poached eggs and avocado, veggie breakfasts with more interesting ingredients than is usual, pancake stacks, and of course, a full Irish. There are extra special lunch specials like steak sandwich on ciabatta with mayo, crispy bacon, fried onions and spicy cheddar, served with house fries; or pulled chicken burger with tobacco onions and barbecue sauce. There are breakfast specials too, to mix up the menu for regulars, like bacon, egg, black and white pudding, and relish in a wholemeal wrap.
It is not just soft drinks here, there is an extensive range of spirits, beers, cider, wines by the bottle and glass, and even Peroni on draught. As well as coffee there is a menu of specialities including hot chocolate, tea, and tisanes.
The Full Duck comes into its own with bakes and desserts. Desserts range from a light fresh fruit salad to a decadent caramel fudge sundae. This is a busy kitchen with all of the desserts, pastries, cakes, and scones made in house. Customers will find a full range of pastries and sweet treats displayed on the counter, from rice crispy buns, rocky road, and gingerbread men for children, good scones and muffins to rich millionaire shortbread for the extreme sweet tooth.
The Full Duck has much going for it – convenient location, friendly atmosphere, and a great menu. Whether it is breakfast or lunch, coffee or cake, it is a pleasure to eat here. It is great to have another quality café like this added to Salthill. Finally, this space seems to have found its groove.
Drop into The Full Duck, Salthill Promenade, or call 091 527 100.