Restaurants — by design and some cool deals

A successful eatery is one where you feel good and do not want to leave, and one to which you will return regularly. It must of course provide great food and great service at an acceptable price. The more intangible ingredient is the atmosphere, the look and feel of the place. Some places have it naturally, eg, Moran’s of the Weir; others have to design it, and a stunning example of this would be the grand salon lounge in the g Hotel. Not everyone may love it but for many it has a wonderful wow factor as well as being an extremely comfortable space to relax in.

Restaurant design is quite a specialised business and often times owners will create their own spaces and atmospheres. If they are lucky they will get it right, but having seen what experts can create I would recommend that any owner considering a facelift or a new venture should consider employing the services of a professional designer. There are so many aspects to be considered, eg, regulatory requirements, kitchen design, storage, seating quality, seating dimensions, dining room layout, intelligent tills, management software, and of course the ability to produce several sets of 3D drawings that let you visualise the project before you start.

Sometimes it is the little things that are unique that will make a customer remember your premises. An example is a restaurant I visited in Stockholm where the glass door handle on the toilet door glowed all green when vacant and once locked from the inside glowed all red. It may seem a small detail but it is the one place I remember from my visit, and the food was magic.

Outsourcing all of this allows the owners to focus on menus, raw materials, staff, and marketing. I realise that this is a slightly different type of article from my usual but I have seen some of the work of Galway based companies which specialise in this area and if anyone is thinking of spending money on a revamp of their premises it needs to be spent as carefully as possible, and to get the maximum bang for your buck.

Now for some good deals I have spotted around town:

A €20.09 special blues menu in the Twelve in Barna. For this you will get a starter and main course or main course and dessert plus a super cocktail, and it is available every night in the bar. You can avail of it on Thursday and Friday in the West restaurant and as an early bird on Saturdays in the West restaurant also. The menu selection looks excellent and when you consider the price of a cocktail it is a cracker of a deal.

Lohan’s Restaurant in Salthill has a great offer — any wine bought in Lohan’s off-licence next door can be served to you with your dinner at a zero corkage cost on Monday and Tuesday, or if you join the loyalty club it can be free corkage any night of the week. The loyalty club cost is zero and you can join on the night you visit, or online at www.lohans.ie I have had some comments from friends who say they feel embarrassed bringing a bottle to the restaurant; in this case you buy it in the off-licence next door and it is brought to your table as if you ordered it with your dinner — very clever indeed and my compliments to Lohan’s.

Please send your foodie/restaurant comments to [email protected]

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