Sunday lunch at The Radisson Blu Hotel & Spa, Galway

Located on the banks of Lough Atalia and overlooking Galway Bay, the Radisson Hotel certainly has an impressive location. It is just a stone's throw from Eyre Square and all the high profile shops, restaurants, and bars it has to offer, and a handy stroll to the bustling pubs and eateries of Quay Street. It enjoys close proximity to the bus and railway stations, all main city bus routes, and there are taxi ranks aplenty on the doorstep. Ireland West Airport is 88.5km from the hotel while Galway Racecourse is just a 10-minute drive (assuming that it is not during the actual races, when your guess is as good as mine ). Despite being so close to all of this activity, it stands slightly aloof, tucked away in a quiet cul-de-sac on top of the hill with tranquil views of the water.

In this area of the city that has recently got a new lease of life, with many new and diverse eateries, the Radisson has been a popular venue since it opened in 2001. This hotel gives out good vibes from the moment you enter the door and it exudes a friendly atmosphere. It is rarely quiet with a constant buzz of arrivals, departures, conferences, launches, weddings, and balls. Inside the glass frontage, the high-vaulted reception space combines international airport chic and modern design which has hardly dated since its opening. Attentive staff and the spacious room send out the right messages to arriving guests. Check-in, in the bright, comfortably furnished lobby, is a pleasure for both business and leisure guests, thanks to the efficiency and helpfulness of friendly receptionists who explain the hotel's amenities and make everyone feel at home. The rooms at the Radisson Galway all feature a wall-mounted LCD TV and free WiFi. The hotel also boasts a gym, a sauna, and a swimming pool. You are not short of dining options either as the Atrium Bar & Lounge serves an all day menu and Marinas Grill does both and excellent buffet breakfast and an evening dinner service.

The bar is always buzzing at the weekend, it is a popular lunch spot and meeting place on the east side of the city, an informal retreat open till late, and the outdoor patio is perfect for sunny days. The grill is quieter and more conducive to a relaxed meal. It is very child friendly (and buggy accessible ), popular with families and there are usually a few couples with young children in tow. The large play area annexed to the room is a great advantage, kitted out with toys and DVDs for children to amuse themselves while still in plain sight.

We recently popped in to the restaurant to sample the Sunday fare. The menu reflects the Sunday clientele, a compact but well-judged menu featuring a traditional Sunday roast with other family favourites on offer. It represents good value with two courses priced at €24 and three courses at €29. Friendly, smartly dressed, staff preside over the spacious room and we were quickly seated in the comfortable seats beside the extensive window. It offers a full bar and a good wine list, both Old and New World. Suffice to say that there is something to suit every taste and all are available by the glass. The starters offered were a short but pleasant list, such as cheddar and leek tartlet or creamy chowder. We sampled a beautifully cooked pork belly on braised savoy cabbage with a soy and honey glaze, and delicious Burren smoked salmon on blinis with wasabi cream.

From the list of mains we decide on one of the Sunday roasts, strip loin of beef with Yorkshire pudding and red wine jus, and the vegetarian option of spinach and ricotta tortellini. Both were well judged and very enjoyable. The children's menu at the Radisson is better than most, grilled chicken, burger, and half portions of the day's roast are among the choices, and the portion sizes are spot on. Children's mains come with a choice of two sides, but the big selling point is the self serve ice-cream with marshmallows and sprinkles — happy kids for €11.95 a head!

While all of this was going on, we were doing our best to ignore the elephant in the room, the large buffet table groaning under piles of desserts. There were profiteroles, fresh fruit skewers, tarts, pies, cheesecakes and gâteaux, and much more, all made in-house to an exceptional standard. We finished with a satisfyingly sharp lemon meringue pie and a slice of passionfruit torte, they were the perfect ending to a good meal.

This menu is based on classics with little contemporary twists, this is the area that The Radisson excels in. Everything is accurately cooked, correctly seasoned and well presented — and, with well paced service to match the confident cooking, the knowledgeable and friendly staff make eating here a pleasure. The set menu is good value and there is calm and assured service from beginning to end. This is food for all tastes in a cosy hotel setting and service with a huge, beaming, smile.

There was care shown to every dish sent out from the kitchen, all presented by efficient staff. If you want to take a break from your normal Sunday routine, and enjoy a quality roast in a relaxed atmosphere, then The Radisson Blu for Sunday lunch is among the best value in town.

Radisson Blu Hotel & Spa, Lough Atalia Road, Galway. Tel: (091 ) 538 300. E: [email protected].


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