I met Jamie Peaker, owner and chef of Builín Blasta Café, at a tasting of his chutneys and salad dressings during the McCambridge’s food and wine tasting last Christmas. I loved his products and said I would call sometime to see his café in Spiddal. J-Me (as he spells his name ) hails from New Zealand and made his way to Galway via two years in London working at that fantastic London restaurant The Ivy, then a stint in Africa visiting 20-plus countries and meeting his Galway partner Nina. The Ivy has an incredible name for producing uncomplicated food in the best way possible. It is so successful at this that some of the dishes on the menu have not been changed in over 26 years.
He started out in Galway by offering his service as a chef who would prepare dinners in people’s homes, then had a brief encounter making dim sum, and finally opened his café in the Ceardlann Spiddal Craft and Design Studios. If you are not familiar with the location, it is just on the right hand side of the road as you enter Spiddal from the Barna side; the car park winds its way to the rear where you will find the café.
I asked why the Irish language name, and J-Me said that he feels very strongly that as he is located in a Gaeltacht area he should do his bit to help the language. To this end, all of the waiting staff speak fluent Irish, and J-Me is getting to grips with the cúpla focail by learning a new word each day. Many of the locals chat in Irish, and when any of the thousands of children who come to the area to learn Irish during the summer arrive at his café, they will only get served if they speak Irish.
This is a café with a difference; it serves very good food consistently and their motto is to do that with everything they serve and to do it to the best of their ability every single time. Every item they sell is made by J-Me and his French pastry chef. The croissants are made from the raw materials (not defrosted ), all the breads (more about these later ), the jam labelled ‘Subh’, the chutneys, dressings, chocolates, cakes, and desserts are all fresh and made on the premises. They make four breads; foccacia, a baguette, red onion bread, and stout bread. I watched as another diner was served chowder and noted that as an accompaniment there was one slice of each of the breads. You can even order a bread board with two slices of each type for €1.50.
The menu contains soups, high tea, sandwiches such as hummus with marinated artichokes and cherry tomatoes on red onion bread, €7, Irish lamb stew, €8.50, and pizzas shaped in a triangle. The one in the photo is salami, cheddar, caramelised onion, and tomato, €8.50. The pizza was excellent with a really crisp base and lots and lots of topping. Also in the picture you can see a slightly misnamed bacon, egg, and potato omelette cake with tomato relish and salad for €8. If you want a fluffy omelette this is not for you; if you fancy a wholesome lunch in the form of a Spanish tortilla on steroids, then this is it. Lastly I sampled the organic Irish salmon fish cake with wilted greens, sweet chilli cream, and salad, €8.50. This was my favourite dish; you could really taste the salmon with a flavour that I always remember from the open salmon sandwiches in Ballinahinch Castle. The secret is that J-Me poaches the salmon in wine first and uses the best organic fish he can find.
With the recent addition of the French pasty chef, there are some superb desserts such as chocolate and beetroot brownie, €4.50, chocolate, blackcurrant, and almond cake, and of course a selection of just-made truffles and chocolates. If you fancy having a special cake made for any occasion just call in and ask for a list of their creations.
Where else will you get great tasting food at these prices cooked by one chef who has trained at The Ivy in London and another who is a very experienced French pastry chef? So take a spin out to Spiddal, and whether it is raining or sunny you will be able to make it a trip worthwhile. When you call be sure and buy some of the chutneys, all are only €3 and the dressings are all only €4. Telephone (091 ) 558559.
The café is open from 10am to 5pm from Tuesday to Friday, and from 11am to 5pm on Saturday and Sunday.