Counter culture

The g Counter cafe and deli, based in Wellpark Retail Park, caused quite a lot of excitement when it opened back in 2013 and almost instantly found its groove. The pared back, open plan, neighbourhood style café, reminiscent of New York's trendy Meat Packing District, proved popular right from the start. It was our very own Big Apple dining experience without the airfare, offering an exciting mix of food in a casual and contemporary dining space. Next to the back door of the g Hotel and directly across from the Eye Cinema, it scored extra brownie points with its plentiful free parking.

The original menu of oversized deli sandwiches, salads, soups, rotisserie chicken, and hot signature dishes soon had queues forming at the door. Club sandwiches on soft pillowy brioche buns; chorizo with melted cheese and roasted red peppers on sourdough; crusty bread piled high with herbed rotisseire chicken served on wooden boards lined with pretty greaseproof paper flew out from the kitchen. They boasted a great hotdog with good bun-to-sausage ratio, and other highlights were the spicy wings and the extensive brunch menu with a comprehensive selection of eggs — poached, scrambled, and fried, Benedict-ed, and Florentine-d.

Fast forward a few years and it has lost none of its early popularity. It has always been a great spot to bring kids where any noise blends into the lively and informal buzz. The g Counter has got the food spot on, and over the years has ironed out any rough edges. The coffee is great and Peroni beer is available on tap by the glass, there is a small but perfectly formed selection of wines, and lots of smoothies and soft drinks too.

The chilled counter is filled with takeaway goodies and the on-site bakery continues to churn out a variety of treats. Cheesecakes, roulades, and tarts are piled high, there are chocolate croissants, cakes, and tarts as well as pastries such as sausage rolls and savory strudels. Part of the appeal of the g Counter is that it is more than a restaurant. It also has a retail section where you can pick up a little something to take home with you — they sell teapots, coffee beans, tea leaves, artisan chocolate, salts, spices, sauces, and more.

There is an awful lot going on in this hard working space, from table service, takeaway, bakery and retail but the service still manages to stay relaxed and friendly.

If you have not been lately, now is the perfect time for a revisit to check out the new menu. Some of the mammoth burgers and sandwiches remain and are joined by some new items that are sure to become your regular order. An enticing bacon wrapped ham hock and black pudding terrine and a retro mixed grill have appeared on the morning menu. A seafood salad with beer battered capers or beetroot and risotto fritters with pumpkin seed pesto will need exploring on the day time menu also. As always at the g Counter, the very best things are found on the daily specials board, maybe monkfish tail scampi with garlic and mint crushed peas or Louisiana crab cakes with poachies and chirizo hollandaise if you are lucky.

Outside the cafe, cute Singer sewing machine tables sit under a sunshine yellow awning, instantly turning grey days brighter. There is a lot to love about this deli/cafe and it is no surprise it continues to be a firm Galway favourite.

The g Counter, Wellpark Retail, Dublin Road, Galway. Tel: (091 ) 770 891. Email: [email protected].

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