Basilico at The Old School House, Clarinbridge

I have been asked many times if I knew why Basilico had opened a second restaurant in Clarinbridge, just a couple of miles away from its main operation in Oranmore. It did seem a strange move in these uncertain times, so I decided to ask the owners what lay behind this venture. The answer has many parts but the main reason is that they have been so busy every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday in Oranmore they have had to refuse bookings every week. That kind of problem is one most restaurateurs would give their eye teeth to have. They also liked the building and the though of having a ‘restaurant only’ premises appealed. However this in no way will affect Oranmore where they will continue to serve the same food at the same prices in the bar and restaurant areas.

So how is business since they opened a few weeks ago? I pass by several times a week and have noticed that the car park is often filled to overflowing at the back of the restaurant and diners have to park across the road. That is pretty amazing and seems to justify the owners’ rationale in opening it. Speaking of owners, the chef from Oranmore, Paolo, will be based in Clarinbridge so we can assume that the dishes will taste the same as Oranmore. I had a dinner there last week and sampled the panzerotti saporiti, €12.50, which is like a big ravioli stuffed with butternut squash, spinach, ricotta, thyme, and Parma ham with black truffle cream, delicious and great value. My guest had a pizza with her favourite toppings and it was eaten with relish. The pizzas are made in an open kitchen area in the corner opposite the bar. There are always plates of freshly baked bread or pizza dough for you to munch on as you wait for your table. I have tried to make pizzas at home but it is impossible to get the same taste as a restaurant pizza oven with a temperature of 450°. Takeaway pizzas average about €10 and they are really good. Most of the other dishes on the menu are available as a takeaway also.

The schoolhouse will be closed each Monday and Tuesday and the plan is for Fabbiano to give art lessons there in the very near future, there are also plans for cookery lessons. Details from Fabbiano at (087 ) 7795165.

I have always thought that the gardens at the rear and side of the schoolhouse were under utilised, and they plan to change that by putting in a family friendly play area for children (weather permitting ). I think it would be a great place to have a marquee during the oyster festival and the Galway Races with music and barbecue.

Basilico Restaurant in Clarinbridge is open Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday from 5pm to 10.30pm, and Saturday and Sunday from 12 noon to 10.30pm. Telephone bookings for the restaurant can be made by calling (091 ) 788 367.

Taste of Tuam

There are some great foodie plans for Tuam over St Patrick’s weekend. There will be a food and craft fair on Saturday March 19 with a roast pig on a spit being the main event. Local chef Kieran Lyons will start cooking it at 5.30am so you can enjoy it by lunchtime. Local children are invited into Born to Bake bakery where they can have a go at making buns and cookies. The highlight of the weekend is the 10-course gourmet meal in a marquee at the Coralea Hotel on Monday March 21. This is to celebrate local suppliers, producers, chefs, and restaurants. Each course will be prepared by a different chef using local produce and accompanied by a specific wine chosen by the Tuam wine club.

If you want tickets you will have to be quick off the mark as it is limited to 110 guests. Last year it sold out in two hours. Tickets are €50 and go on sale at Tuam Chamber of Commerce next Monday March 14, contact (093 ) 42220.

Elwoods Restaurant, Foster Street

Last Friday saw the opening of Galway’s first teppanyaki restaurant. It is called Elwoods after the owners’ grandmother who had a shop with the same name at the top of Shop Street many years ago.

A teppanyaki table is where the chef will cook in front of you as the centre of the table is a hot stainless steel hob. Diners sit around it and watch as the chef juggles knives and various other fun antics while he cooks your order. There is just one of these tables so you need to book in advance. However you can order from the main menu at all the other tables. The phone number is (091 ) 564111.

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