It is said that a recession can be a good time to start a business and there do seem to be several new food places opening up, restaurants, delis etc. Perhaps it is the lowering in rents, or the fact that we all have to eat, and any new food business that is keenly priced with good to excellent quality and service should do well. The following are a few that caught my eye.
The Grainstore Café & Deli, Lower Abbeygate Street, Galway
The Grainstore Café & Deli is located in the former Meadows & Byrne building and has two separate food areas. Downstairs is a deli, where you can get wraps, salads, sandwiches, cakes, and coffee to take away, while upstairs is a sit down brasserie type cafe. Everything in the upstairs area is cooked to order and the menu is inventive and good value, for example the soup of the day plus a BLT is €6.50, there is a roast in a roll each day for €7.50, you get roast beef, caramelised onions, horseradish mayo and dressed leaves in a floury roll. It was good to see a child’s portion of pasta on the menu for €3.50. I tried the special from the blackboard of King Prawns and Chorizo with warm dressed salad, a big portion and nicely prepared. I noticed several people having the Bang Bang Chicken Noodle Salad which looked excellent. I suspect this may be a creation from the Bang Restaurant in Dublin as the chef worked there previously. I had a look at the Sunday brunch menu, which is served from 10am to 5pm, and the dish that caught my eye was ‘Tartiflette’, it is a French Alpine specialty of potatoes layered with onions, garlic, bacon lardons, crème fraiche and reblochon cheese, surely the perfect hangover cure with the added bonus that any smell of drink will be completely smothered by the reblochon, cost €7.95. Telphone number of the Grainstore is 091 566620
Le Petit Delice, Mainguard Street, Galway
This is a beautiful patisserie in Mainguard Street and run by an energetic couple from France. I say energetic as the breads are being made at 3.30am. The breads in particular are superb, baguettes cost €1.20 and half baguettes 70c, sourdough loaves cost €2.30, boules €2.30 and spelt bread €2.50. All are made with French flour and taste as good as any French bakery. The trick, of course, is to get there early while they are still warm; they open at 8.30am each day and 7.30am on Saturdays.
The patisserie counter is a dessert lover’s dream, with a wide selection and really good prices, eg mille fueille €1.90 or any coffee and croissant €3.50. If you are looking for something a bit more filling, try the filled half baguette for €3.75 or, my favourite a croque monsieur €3.80.
The shelves have some great looking chocolate Halloween creations, even a big chocolate pumpkin, and are all handmade in house. If you are on a tight budget you could drop in and see what is the ‘yesterday’s bake’ shelf. Anything that is not sold on the day it is made goes on to this shelf for an absolute knock down price, perfect for students who fancy something nice and do not have the readies . Finally, if you would like a decoration for your birthday cake that will brighten up the photographs, they have Eurobougees for €1.90 each; you put them on the cake, set a match to them and get lots of sparkles for over a minute.
Pizza & Pasta Napoli, Cross Street, Galway
Lastly, I want to mention a place that several people have said serve some really good pizza. It is called Pizza & Pasta Napoli, and is located beside Tigh Neachtain on Cross Street. The owner and chef is Italian and he handmakes all the bases as you watch. The item that seems to be most popular is a huge slice of pizza and Coke for €4.50. I can never understand why there are not more places serving slices of really good pizzas. Any city you visit in Europe will have slices of pizza to-go for sale; however, it has not been as popular here. Pizza & Pasta Napoli seem to have found a little niche for this and it is great value.
I received an email recently asking me to note if places are wheelchair accessible, I will note this in the future. My email for your comments and suggestions is [email protected]