A good news story

Head chef Paulo and sous chef Fabiano at Basilico.

Head chef Paulo and sous chef Fabiano at Basilico.

Following on from last week’s article, where I looked at some of the food businesses that have expanded during 2009, I decided to focus on one establishment that has had a phenomenal success since it opened less than two years ago. Basilico is the name and it is located in The Coach House, Main Street, Oranmore. Since the very first day it opened its doors the people have flocked there — why? To find out I asked Fabiano and Paulo to take some time out and have a chat.

Fabiano and Paolo are both Italian and are partners in the business. Fabiano heads up front of house while Paolo runs the kitchen They came to Ireland in 2004 and worked in the Da Roberta’s successful restaurants in Salthill. Paolo had been a chef in Italy and Fabiano, believe it or not, had completed a painting degree in London. He had also worked in many restaurants where his people skills make him an ideal front of house man.

The story as to how they decided to open Basilico is quite interesting. The owner of The Coach House Hotel called in to Da Roberta’s and as the place was packed Fabiano said the best he could do was to give him a table that would have to be vacated in 45 minutes. Fair enough, he said, and in less than 45 minutes he had an excellent steak plus all the trimmings. He was so impressed that he asked Fabiano if he would like to have his own restaurant, and the rest is history.

Moving in was traumatic as one of the conditions stated that they had to hit the ground running, ie, walk into an already working kitchen and take over the next day. I am sure some of the regulars will remember the slightly chaotic service back then. As the customers piled in Fabiano and Paolo and the staff did not know what hit them. When I asked them if they were confident it would work, the answer was a resounding “No”. It was a big gamble but as they were young they went for it. Their philosophy is to take very careful note of all criticisms and to change things if the customers do not like any aspect of the restaurant. They also meet every week to discuss ways to improve their offerings.

During 2009 they expanded by taking over the complete business, hotel rooms and the front bar, so they will not be idle for 2010. Some of the deals they have launched are excellent value. The midweek special runs from Monday to Thursday inclusive (all night ), costs €17 for two courses, €21 for three courses, and is being availed of by 85 per cent of all midweek customers. The value is probably the best I have seen in Galway, for example a starter of mussels in spicy tomato sauce, followed by roast suckling pig or venison casserole, followed by tiramisu, is a really enticing meal for €21. One of the midweek offers in the hotel is for two nights’ accommodation, traditional Irish breakfast, and evening meal costing €85 per person sharing, plus a third night free. They have rally weekend specials, over 55s specials, and weekend offers, and all can be booked by calling (091 ) 788367 or e-mail [email protected] hotel.ie

I checked out the rooms and they are nicely decorated and very clean.

Finally, if you fancy a good Sunday lunch while keeping the kids happy why not try roast suckling pig for €14.95 and a pizza for the kids for €6. Congratulazioni to everyone at Basilico.

PS: Basilico means basil (the most famous Italian herb ) in Italian.

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