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 delivered a '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 pilled 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 children where any noise blends into the lively and informal buzz. The menu has very much simplified over the years. Sandwiches and salads still feature with the Asian style warm beef salad being particularly popular. The crispy wings are still there along with a selection of loaded fries. Burgers are a speciality, beef, chicken, salmon, either in a brioche bap or in a salad bowl. The large plates include an all day breakfast for those who have not made it out of bed before noon. A few tasty specials from the board such as fish finger sandwiches or mushroom taggliattli round thongs out. Known for its good coffee, there is a brisk takeaway trade in the distinctive yellow cups. They even include a coffee special (white chocolate mocha at €3 the last time I was in - nice ). Peroni beer is available on tap by the glass and lots of smoothies and soft drinks too.

The chilled counter is filled with takeaway goodies and the on-site bakery continues to turn 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. They also have 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 upbeat and friendly.

If you have not been lately, now is the perfect time for a revisit to check out their new menu. Outside the cafe, cute tables sit under a sunshine yellow awning, instantly turning grey days brighter, a bit of an oasis in the Wellpark region. There is a lot to love about this spot and it is no surprise it continues to be a firm Galway favourite. The g Counter, Wellpark Retail, Dublin Road, Galway. For more information call (091 ) 770 891 or email [email protected].

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