We are normally pretty chatty when it comes to telling you about a restaurant. This time though we’ll say just this. Aniar. Go there. If you don’t, we can only assume you’re totally bonkers. Okay, we didn’t mean to insult you. Let’s start again.
Recently awarded a Michelin star, Aniar restaurant joins Eat at Massimo in a duo of Galway restaurants owned by JP McMahon and his wife Drigin Gaffey. This, latest to join their portfolio, is the shining star of contemporary fine-dining in Galway city. In Ireland, in fact. Nowhere else do they do it quite like Aniar. Its name means ‘of the west’ – in J.P’s words ‘Aniar aims to represent food through its local landscape.’ He calls it a ‘terroir based’ restaurant. Meaning the west of Ireland speaks in culinary tongues on every plate.
Wild and seasonal local foods are key. Each component is treated with utmost respect. You won’t find fancy descriptions on the menu here, deliberately so. You’ll get the ingredients simply expressed. It won’t give you any indication of the complex and exquisite cooking you are about to experience.
Sous vide and dehydration techniques are used here to exactly the right effect. Vegetables are treated individually, with cooking methods that bring out the very best in all of them. None of the real details of whatever is on this, daily changing and totally seasonal, menu will be given away until you get the plate in front of you. Only then will you appreciate the imagination, skill, passion, dedication and utter focus of the team here. What a surprise you are in for, J.P has given his enthusiastic young team of chefs a free reign to transform the precious ingredients of the west into all this bewitching wonderment.
His wife Drigin was handed the job of designing a platform to showcase it all. She chose unfussy natural wood furnishings and muted blue and grey paintwork to represent the light on the water of the couple’s beloved coastal city. No fancy linen except the crisp napkin on each side plate. Posies of garden flowers and tea light candles add a feminine touch. It’s unexpectedly relaxed and uncomplicated. For one very good reason. At Aniar, the food speaks.
Service is delightful – chefs take turns with waiting staff to bring out and explain each course in all its finer details. House ‘snacks’ of whatever is available and best, and house breads freshly baked each day form the preamble.
The wine list itself makes great reading while you wait. Cameo shots of producers and suppliers, literary quotes, concise tasting notes and suitable food matches are all here. Wines are listed by colour and style in terminology we all understand. Aniar’s way of making good wine accessible. You can tell we really like this place. So as we said at the start, go there. If you don’t, we can only assume you’re totally bonkers.
NEW 2017 OPENING HOURS: Wednesday to Thursday: 6pm to 9.30pm Friday: 5.30pm to 9.30pm Saturday Lunch: 12pm to 2pm Saturday Dinner: 5.30pm to 9.30pm
Read more about Aniar, here is their Cookery School Review