Café 8 and Galway West Wine Club

Café 8 at the Galway City Museum, Spanish Arch

Chicken and leeks at Café 8.

Chicken and leeks at Café 8.

One of the nicest new buildings in Galway in recent years, if not the nicest, is the Galway City Museum at the Spanish Arch. However I wonder how many of you have been there? The antiquities and cultural exhibits are, I am afraid, very scant although what is there is very well presented. There is now one very good reason to visit the museum and that is for some interesting food and to relax in what is quite a special building. The building is beside the Spanish Arch and the main entrance faces the big open courtyard area. If you are in town with some members of your family during the Christmas period it would be a good place to arrange to meet, if people are left waiting then they can amuse themselves by looking at the items on exhibit, then go in to the café for some refuelling.

There have been a number of different coffee bar type outlets at the museum since it opened, none of which seemed to do well. However I think we are going to see some really interesting things happen here over the coming months. The award winning chef from Bar 8 on the docks, Jess Murphy, is putting her stamp on the food and bringing her philosophy of using only the best artisan producers to supply the raw materials that will be the heart of the menu. I sampled a chicken, leek, and lentil dish last week and it would warm the cockles of your heart, however I think the sticky toffee pudding and toffee sauce was even better. There are plans to do a variety of interesting things such as cookbook reviews followed by cooking up some of the dishes discussed, vegetarian nights on the last weekend of each month, stitch and bitch night, and lots of inventive cooking. As Jess herself is a vegetarian I recommend every like minded person to go and sample what is on offer. It might be a good idea also to keep an eye on the Café 8 Facebook page.

I would actually recommend everyone to start considering veggie options when dining out, especially where there is a chef who is prepared to put in the work required to get seriously good results. The reason most vegetarian dishes around Ireland are boring is that it is actually more difficult to prepare really top notch vegetarian dishes than more traditional dishes. Next time you are in Bar 8 or Café 8 at the Galway City Museum give the vegetarian dishes some consideration and try one. Now that I think about it, one of my favourite dishes during the last year was a chestnut vegetarian dish prepared by Reggie at the g Hotel.

There is free wifi at Café 8 and lots of space to relax. The staff are friendly and well informed about the dishes on offer. It is spotlessly clean and the prices are excellent. There are gluten free dishes, soya milk, and every ingredient that can be obtained from an organic producer is the preferred ingredient. I predict that this is going to be a really hot place to go in 2011.

Organic cow’s milk note: Jess is looking for someone to supply organic cow’s milk, if you do or know someone who does contact me and I will pass on the information. My email is [email protected]

Galway West Wine Club, Moycullen

This new venture will be launched at the Co-op Bar and Restaurant in Moycullen today (Thursday ) at 7.30pm. There will be a selection of French wines to taste and a special tasting menu to complement the wines. The plan is to focus on a particular country or region each night and to organise at least one visit to a wine growing area during the year. For further information call Frank on (087 ) 240 2222 or head out there tonight.

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