Pub food, only better

The Kings’ Head and Malt House Restaurant have just joined one of the more exclusive food clubs in Ireland – Good Food Ireland. It is not an easy club to get into either - you have to jump through a fair amount of hoops before you get one of these coveted stickers for your front door. And they're in good company too, with Kai, Aniar and Renvyle House also on the GFI list.

The King’s Head is a destination food pub steeped with centuries of history and atmosphere, professional management expertise and a personal touch from the Grealish family. With their contemporary sister restaurant, The Malt House attached, The Kings Head and Malt House's food philosopies are based on a firm commitment to serving a menu underpinned by conscientiously sourced Irish and artisan ingredients - ideals which are at the core of the Good Food Ireland ethos. Or as their new website says – as their new website says: "…pub food, only better!"

The 'magic door' to the adjoining Malt House Restaurant is the secret of The King's Head's new menu. They borrow their desserts, steal their chowder and rob their homemade brown bread. Then they add sandwich bread and ciabattas from Griffin's Bakery next door, sausages from Colleran’s Butchers across the street and dip their fish in batter made with local Galway Hooker beer. The seaweed comes from Westport, smoked salmon from the Burren, and fish and vegetables as local as they can find them. An authentic blaa from Waterford is about as far away as they stray to source the ingredients. Then they mix that all together to make one of the best pub grub menus in town.

All the old favourites are still on the menu though - moules frites using plump local mussels; King Charles' burger; and oysters on the half shell with dillisk scones and a pint of creamy Guinness that our American friends are fond of.

Passing through the Latin Quarter during the recent Galway Food Festival, out eldest expressed a hankering for some of the aforementioned mussels (she's their biggest fan! ), so we headed in. Remembering that she also liked the tasty bivalves, the younger food critic also ordered mussels - just so long as they came with chips! They do have a nice children's menu as well, with a bowl of mashed potato and soup free of charge for the smallest customers.

My current husband and I couldn't pass it up, so we ordered a 'Best of Irish' cold platter which featured Colleran's corned beef and suckling pig; McGeough's air-dried smoked Connemara lamb; St Tola’s Goat Cheese; Cashel Blue cheese; pickled beetroot salad all accompanied with Griffin's crusty bread with relish. These are top quality Irish ingredients simply put on a wooden platter, and simple and delicious they were.

Given the festive nature of the weekend, some lobster crackers and forks were provided to gain entry into some Galway lobster, the special of the day. Not an everyday lunch choice, but so worthwhile every now and again. It was very special indeed, dripping in browned butter, with some of the Malt House's fat, chunky chips smuggled in from next door kitchen and a light lemony aioli.

If you prefer your dining a little more lively, maybe with a pint, the match or some live music, The Kings Head is perfect.

Opening hours for food: Sunday-Friday 11.30am-8pm / Saturday 10.30am-6pm

15 High Street, Galway, Ireland [email protected]

Phone: +353 91 566630 http://www.thekingshead.ie /

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