Over the last few years Artisan in Quay Street has gradually been building a name for great food, and now with the recent news that it is the regional winner of the Sunday Independent Life magazine Best Restaurant in Galway award the restaurant can be proud of its efforts. It was one of the first restaurants to do some serious pairing of wines with all the courses and I simply cannot understand why every restaurant does not do so. It must surely increase wine sales and it certainly makes it easier for the customers to decide.
Anyway, back to the lunch menu, it is a well known fact that if you want to sample the very best restaurants on a budget the thing to do is to visit for lunch. You will usually get similar dishes to the evening menu but at a fraction of the cost. The ambience and service will be the same as the evening, and it will probably be more relaxed. The menu has a good cross section of dishes and we chose one starter to share, it was a duck liver paté with duck foie gras mousse, served with toasted brioche and the most delicious fruit compote I have ever tasted (they should put the compote in jars and sell it ). The helping was generous and, at a price of €6.95, excellent value. We then ordered pan roasted cod fillet with a bed of mash and walnut and sage butter, €9.95, and the star of the meal, hake on a bed of roasted baby potatoes with palourdes clams with the most delicious fennel beurre blanc sauce. This also costs €9.95 and is my bargain of the year for lunch in Galway. The clams were big and juicy, the hake also large and cooked perfectly, but the sauce was the real star. We were served a dish of roasted parsnips and roasted carrots which were delicious, and it goes to show that it is possible to serve a dish of veg that is not steamed broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots. No offence to Artisan here, but why does this seem to be the veg of choice in nearly 90 per cent of places?
Apparently it is the aim of Artisan to keep all main courses below a tenner, and all I can say is I will be back to have this dish again. If they keep up this standard it will soon be as hard to get a table for lunch as it is to get a table on a Saturday night.
Sushi in the Sky at the Radisson
It sounds like the name of a Beatles’ song, but this is the name of a new venture at the Radisson to serve sushi in a seriously stylish setting and with the very best view in Galway. It is on the fourth floor, and what a view! If you are looking for cool, this is as cool as it gets in Galway and I do not mean the temperature. The Japanese chef is Hisashi Kumagai, whom I met in St Cleran’s many years ago where he served some wonderful food over several years. He has been at Doonbeg for the last three years and now presides over Sushi in the Sky. You can see a bit of him if you look at www.sushiinthesky.ie and of course you can see the menu. It is even a cool website.
The name is Raw and yes, most items are not cooked in the traditional way; many are marinated, which is really not all that different from eating cold smoked salmon. The duck was my favourite; it is marinated for five hours and served with the most delicious dressings, marinated ginger and finely sliced vegetable pieces. The menu is, of course, mainly fish, and items cost from €6 to €14 for the fabulous scallops dish which you simply must try. If you are a newbie to sushi then have no fear as the waiting staff are excellent at both explanations and suggestions. They also serve a miso hot broth that is the best one I have tasted, do not be shy to drink it from the bowl to get the last precious drops, and it is only €3. If you feel like splurging out on a brilliant wine then order the d’Arenberg The Hermit Crab Marsanne and Viognier, it is a perfect match.