It is hard to believe that Brasserie on the Corner has been around for as long as it has. It seems like only yesterday that the team were putting the finishing touches to it, yet that was way back in July 2012, and it has been going from strength to strength ever since. Opened on a disused corner of Eglinton Street, The Brasserie brought life back to this slightly down-at-heel area. It benefits by being run by the same people that have the popular Dáil Bar, The Front Door, and Tom Sheridan’s in Knocknacarra, a professional team that do not tend to miss a trick, and from being under the watchful eye of Eimear Killian, one of the best general managers in the business.
Considering it has enjoyed huge popularity from day one, the decor looks as good today as it did on the day it opened. The interior is beautifully finished with dark wood, leather backed chairs, attention to detail and quality in all finishes. Although a newly constructed bar it has some ornate features echoing classic pub design from different eras, which score highly with the tourists. Beyond the long bar counter with padded stools, the brick arches that divide the dining room look as if they have always been part of the building, the burnished ceiling casts a warm light, and the overall effect is traditional but stylish.
Brasserie on the Corner and Blake's Bar is unique on the Galway restaurant scene in that it is primarily a restaurant with a small bar attached and not, as usually is the case, the other way around. This is most definitely not a gastropub, it is a restaurant that places special emphasis on quality ingredients, and seasonality has always been valued here. Sunday lunch is a popular event at the Brasserie and in the evenings there is an a la carte and a well priced pre theatre menu, which offers some of Galway's best value dining. The team specialise in seafood and steak dishes, as they have since they opened, and are widely known for their sharing boards too. The wine menu has great choice from a selection of the smaller vineyards across France, Spain, Chile, New Zealand along with an extensive cocktail menu. In Blake's Bar whiskey is a speciality and it is part of the Galway Whiskey Trail. A selection of craft beers completes an impressive beverage offering.
We last visited for lunch and the menu remains above the standard pub lunch fare although you will find (more upmarket ) soup and sambo reliables. The chairs are deeply upholstered and comfortable, the tables are topped with thick, shiny wood, and smartly set with good cutlery and glassware. Water and breads made in-house are quickly brought to the table with a deeply comforting bowl of soup with the unmistakable top note of brassica. There is a selection of hearty main courses and creative sandwiches such as a croque monsieur and a take on the New York classic Reuben, no egg salad or chicken and stuffing horrors here. The salads too are well thought out and sensibly come in two sizes and price points. The famous sharing boards are available and with the addition of a few desserts and good coffee, this is definitely a place to keep in mind if you want something a little different from the usual in the middle of the day.
The tradition of a high level of quality and service continues, and this is evident as soon as you step over the threshold into this smart restaurant, cocktail, and wine bar - it has many strings to its bow. The team at Brasserie on the Corner have worked hard to gain their reputation, a reputation built on considered menus, ambitious food and, above all, impeccable service. Even as the general rise in standards continues in Galway, they continue to count among the best. Long may it continue.
Brasserie on the Corner and Blakes Bar, Eglinton Street, Galway. Tel: (091 ) 530333.