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Thursday, 20 September 2012

The Cellar Bar and Restaurant

Gourmet burger with emmental cheese, bacon, pineapple and jalapeños.

To my mind, there are three levels of food in Irish pubs. At one end is the traditional pub, where your only dining decision is whether to have the cheese & onion or salt & vinegar. At the other extreme are the gastropubs. Here you can expect such delights as 'roasted marrow bones with curried clams in a grilled octopus reduction'. And then there is the proper pub-grub, from establishments that cater to both drinkers and diners. Comforting soups, tasty sandwiches and old favorites like fish and chips, bangers and mash or lasagna in man-sized portions. The Cellar Bar is one of Galway's best examples of the latter.

I have a soft spot for The Cellar Bar, it must be said, and I doubt that I'm the only one. There can be few people who ever spent time in college in Galway who have not had the 'all day breakfast' at least once. The location makes it a great city centre meeting spot for lunch or for after-work drinks. And of course, most importantly the food is that rare combination of both good and fast.

The staff are young and friendly and have lunch service down to a fine art. Glasses of water are lined up and coffee cups ready to go - there is not much of a wait for either food or service here, making it popular with city centre workers on a tight lunch break as well as tourists and students. The children's menu has something for even the pickiest child and there are half portions from the regular menu on offer as well.

Fusili pasta with chicken and vegetables in tomato sauce from the children's menu was the little one's choice, served with garlic toast. Chunky peppers and other Mediterranean vegetables in a freshly made and very tomatoey sauce with a little touch of cream and basil to it. The other lady had the mini breakfast from the main menu; rasher, sausage, fried egg, a choice of black of white pudding with chips, beans and toast. Both were very well received and much swapping and tasting of each other's choice was done.

There is a two course special offer which changes every day. When I went at the weekend it was a carrot and dill soup and a very lush sounding sandwich with ham, red onion marmalade, relish, brie and herb stuffing with salad and chips as one option. A chicken and roast vegetable korma on rice with a tiramisu chaser was the other, pretty good value for only €9.95 especially considering the generous portion size.

I hummed and hawed over that sandwich for a while but in the end went for the gourmet burger - a meaty, dense burger served on a wholemeal bap with the usual trimmings of lettuce, sliced tomato, red onion mayonnaise and relish, then stuffed full of extra flavor with Emmental cheese, bacon, pineapple and jalapeños. Who knew that pineapple and jalapeños on a burger would taste so good? This is definitely my new favourite way to eat a burger.

My current husband had the steak sandwich. Three big slices of seared Irish minute steak on ciabatta with garlic and wholegrain mustard mayonnaise and salad dressing. This came with chips, sautéed onions, mushrooms and a big bowl of rather delicious peppercorn sauce.

There is tempting selection of desserts, ice creams, deep dish apple pie, warm chocolate fudge cake. We ordered a mixed berry cheesecake which suffered quite badly from soggy-bottom syndrome and an excellent sticky toffee pudding. Warm, very sweet and delicately spiced, we fought over it bitterly, with the youngest eventually gaining control of the plate and defending it skillfully from invading spoons. Tea or coffee with a dessert is good value at €5 and as a pub you have the full choice of beers, wines, spirits cocktails and soft drinks that you would expect.

The Cellar offers reasonably priced, honest, hearty dishes in lovely surroundings. With good food and fast service, there truly is something for everyone on their menu.

Defensive play.

Food served Monday-Saturday : 10.00am-9.00pm. Sunday 11.00am-9.00pm

1 comment:

  1. The Cellar is amazing! Love the food and the service!


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