Last Sunday saw the launch of Galway’s newest market in Clarinbridge. It will be held on the last Sunday of each month beside the garden centre at the rear of Centra. There was a superb turnout of 19 market stalls selling cakes, breads, home-made soups, oysters, farm fresh eggs, jams, pancakes, chutneys, and home-made fudge, plus several jewellery and hand crafts stalls. It was very busy with one trader telling me that she had sold 48 cakes of brown bread by 1.30pm. It starts at 12 noon and closes at 6pm, and a stall can be purchased for €20 which seems very good value indeed. I predict that it is going to be very popular, particularly in the summer months, so if you are thinking about a stall there, book your space now before it is full. As always I encourage you to attend and support all local markets in your area and I wish the Clarinbridge Market and all its stall holders every success.
On a completely different topic, I visited the Radisson in Galway recently to have some lunch. They have an interesting lunch arrangement in the main Marinas dining room where they offer a very wide range of food at acceptable prices. While not cheap, there are bargains there, and even the most expensive selections, ie, the roast of the day or fish course, are €12.99. I plumped for the soup which has always been excellent over all the years that I have had soups in the Radisson. They do seem to have the knack of making very creamy and full bodied soups. On offer was baby corn soup, mushroom soup, and vegetable soup. The vegetable soup had Indian flavouring in it which made it irresistible. The other reason that the soup is a good deal is that there are several freshly baked crispy cakes of breads that you can cut yourself at the carvery and they are excellent. I was not too hungry so the soup plus several slices of delicious bread cost me the grand total of €4.40. I was then offered coffee which is free with any lunch. Now that’s not a bad deal.
For the more peckish the other items on offer were a salad bar costing €6.50 to €9.50, depending on the plate size you choose, this looked good, especially the melon slices with Parma ham. There are two hot pots each day, Irish stew and a curry for €9.99. There is also a themed counter; this week it was German dishes and it changes every Tuesday to a different theme for a week. There is also an Asian buffet with spring rolls and more curries for €9.99. If you fancy going there on a Saturday there is the addition of a pizza station for €8 which should keep kids happy and, as I said before, all with free coffee. If you have a really big appetite there seems to be no restriction on extra portions so you can eat until you drop ( but don’t quote me on that ).
The one negative comment is that the desserts are definitely in need of updating, they looked unappetising and I have seen much better in previous times.
Finally, I had an e-mail from a regular reader of this article in San Francisco. He is a Galway man and a chef and if you are curious to see his unique restaurant and menu have a look at the website www.theshermanrestaurant.com His comments on the restaurant business in that part of the world is that there has been a marked change in dining habits during the past year. Most of the business is through early bird menus, two for one, free corkage, and special deals, which seems pretty much the same as here.
Finally my unusual taste of the week was a beetroot muffin from Foods of Athenry, and it was absolutely delicious, inspired by a beetroot cake from Harrods and made as an experiment, but it really works. It was delicious and just another example of the fact that beetroot is becoming quite popular again.