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Thursday, 11 October 2012

the house hotel...

The House Hotel is one of my favourite little bolt holes in Galway. Cool, quirky and fun, you can't beat it for location. The rooms are lovely and settling into one of their squashy pink couches in the lobby with one of their rather superior afternoon teas is a great way to catch up with friends.

While hotel food in general can be hard to get excited about at the best of times (dry, chewy carvery meat languishing under heat lamps and the inevitable ice-cream scoops of mashed potato), The House Hotel didn't earn it's popularity without having a more ambitious kitchen. They do a fine breakfast, full Irish or hearty porridge, a great family-style dinner of whole roast chicken on Sundays. There's also a great bar food with some retro-comfort dishes including a ploughman's lunch served with a proper pickled egg. Try the spicy chicken wings, they were responsible for the birth of my first child, but that's a story for another time. There is an excellent à la carte menu in the bistro, complemented by a fair-sized wine list where the majority of the wines are priced in the early twenties, and a great value early bird special.

More recently, they have been gaining quite a reputation for their cocktails with two of the country's best mixologists manning the bar. With the growing popularity of cocktail and food matching their new ‘Dine & Cocktail’ offer is on-trend as well as being pretty good value. A main course of either Irish Hereford Sirloin Steak or the House Fish of the Day, served along with one of the signature House cocktails, for just €15.

You can start with a classic sophisticated cocktail to whet your appetite and get you in the mood for the meal ahead. Sip on one of their tall refreshing concoctions throughout your dinner or have a sweet 'Mint Crisp' or the 'House Colada' in place of a dessert. You will have lot's of fun 'playing with your food' with this offer.

My current husband had the steak, opting for the pepper sauce over the garlic butter. It was eight ounces of tender pink perfection, and came with a generous amount of sautéed onions, mushrooms and creamy mash (not scoop-shaped thankfully). Along with the gentleman's favorite from the cocktail menu, a classic 'Old Fashioned' which complimented the beef well.

I had the fish of the day, a fat and flaky sea bream, served on a bed of wilted spinach with a herb-spiked cream sauce. Usually I am partial to a Dry Martini with my fish but I opted to have a sweet cocktail after my meal instead, although you can also have one of the hotel’s freshly made desserts instead of a cocktail. Starters are available for an additional €3.

Even though 'The House' is at the glitzy, glamorous end of the hotel scene, there is real substance in the kitchen. Serving good value menus in a casually, trendy space 'The House Hotel' always makes you feel at home.

For more details or to book a table, log onto www.thehousehotel.ie or call the House Bistro on 091-538900.

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