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It’s like a mini rambla in Galway’s Latin Quarter as we work our way through the strollers, the chatters, the crowds circled around the musicians, to a small archway and the entrance to the King’s Head Bistro.
Some are eating outside this hot sunny evening but we make our way in to a warm welcome in the restaurant itself, taking in the long wall filled with a huge variety of plates. Here, and later in the neighbouring bar, we would have good food and good fun.
Starters. Trout, crab
“We are strong on fish here,” is the message from Chef Brendan Keane. The concentration we learn is very much on local and seasonal, light rather than heavy sauces, and, before he goes back to work, Brendan tells us the strawberries are perfect at the moment.
I go along with Brendan and order two of his specials, beginning with the Pan-fried crab claws in garlic and chilli butter with organic salad. Hard to beat crab claws but this modest chef’s simple treatment takes them to another level.
Meanwhile, CL is happily renewing acquaintance with an old friend, the trout from Kilkenny’s Goatsbridge Farm. The Barbecued Smoked Trout Salad, to give it its full title, consists of trout, rosemary roasted baby potatoes, pickled red onion, watercress, dill and mustard dressing.
At that stage, we were sipping our glasses of the local Galway Hooker Ale. Later, our server Sorcha would introduce us, guests of the bistro, to the King’s Head Blood Red Ale, the bistro’s own-label beer (by Galway Hooker) and a bloody good one it is, especially with food.
And more food was soon on the way. Again mine came from the specials list: Panfried king scallops, tender-stem broccoli, baby roast potatoes, crispy Andarl farm pancetta and butter sauce. A terrific combination of flavour and texture.
Fish-lover CL picked the organic salmon, a baked fillet of Clare Island salmon, colcannon and organic creamed spinach. Sounds simple. It was. Simply superb.
Nice head. Blood red ale!
Just in case you think it’s all fish here, it’s not. The menu is quite wide ranging and includes Lamb, Vegetable risotto, Veggie Dahl, Burger, Steak, Feather-blade of Beef, and Chicken. We are in on a Thursday evening and the place is busy, seats filling up again within minutes of being vacated.
After our delicious strawberry meringue dessert, we strolled over to the nearby King’s Head Bar, also owned by Paul and Mary Grealish. We had been in here too the previous evening and knew what to expect. It was just as busy and lively. The bar rambles on from room to room in this amazing building that dates back to medieval times. And, after the World Cup, the music comes on and the craic intensifies.
We park ourselves on a couple of vacant seats by the Havana Club section and watch them shake and make cocktail after cocktail before I finish the lovely night with a Drumshanbo Gunpowder Gin. The King’s Head is a brilliant place to have food and fun. Long live the king. Slainte!