|The g Counter club|
This new cafe and deli based in Wellpark Retail Park caused quite a lot of excitement when it opened four months ago and now has just about found its groove. Next to the back door of the G Hotel and directly across from the EYE Cinema, it instantly scores brownie points with some of the only free parking in the city and no booking required.
If you thought The g Counter was in anyway associated with the G Hotel, then you have made the same mistake as I have. Nothing to do with it at all, the only thing they share is a dividing wall and a letter of the alphabet. It is, in fact, the opposite of the G Hotel. No plush neon chairs, afternoon teas or twinkly mirror balls. If you prefer your morning repast to be accompanied by starched linen, heavy cutlery and smartly dressed service, go next door. The g Counter is pared back, open plan, industrial cool, reminiscent of New York's trendy 'Meat Packing District'. This is a Big Apple dining experience without the airfare.
The room has a lively and informal buzz. The breakfast menu caters for those after something light, maybe buttermilk pancakes with fruit salad or a bramble topped porridge. Diners who need something filling and hot before lunch are offered poached egg on pastrami hash with spiced butter and spinach or a 'Full Irish' with duck fat roasties. There’s a comprehensive selection of eggs - poached, scrambled and fried, Benedict-ed and Florentine-d.
We popped in for brunch on a busy Saturday. Unusually for a menu, everything seemed to present itself as a contender. Difficult choices had to be made, but immediately, the unusual addition of a goat cheese toastie to the vegetarian breakfast caught my eye, which also listed fried eggs, roast tomato, potato hash and garlic mushrooms. The goats cheese toasted on a very nutty walnut bread was lovely. It also came with a serving of beans, which used to be homemade but now alas are the regular canned kind. I would like to see a return to the house ones as it would have made that breakfast pretty perfect. The 'Oh, so wrong and yet, so right' breakfast salad was also pretty special, with quality breakfast ingredients piled on top of organic greens with a poached egg on top. Fresh watermelon, pear, grapes and pineapple lightly drizzled with yogurt came with the buttermilk pancake rolls and both maple and blueberry syrups for the girls. It's a great spot to bring kids with a well priced kids menu between €2.95 for pasta and tomato sauce or homemade fish fingers and chips at €4.95
They also boast a great hotdog with good bun-to-sausage ratio, filled to bursting with sauté onions and sauerkraut. A squidgy bun dwarfed by a whopping NY-style sausage with a delicately smokey taste, is probably the best pre-cinema snack in town.
The coffee is good and Peroni beer is available on tap by the glass for €2.95 and there is a small but perfectly formed selection of wines by the carafe. Lot's of smoothies and soft drinks too, including my current obsession, the elusive blood orange San Pelligrino.
As well as the theatre of the open hot deli counter, they have an on-site bakery staffed by head pastry chef, Eva Quaid, who keeps the Counter filled with a variety of treats. Cheesecakes, roulades and tarts are piled high on the table in front of her glass fronted stage where you can watch these or a commissioned cake being made.
|Shelves full of 'foodie' treats.|
The g Counter, Wellpark Retail, Dublin Road, Galway. Tel: (091) 770 891
Open: Mon - Sat from 8am - 6.30pm & Sun from 11am -6.30pm
This article was written for and published in The Galway Advertiser 22/08/2013