|This is no ordinary sandwich, this is a gCounter sandwich.|
2013 was a fascinating year in the world of food. We met the Cronut, a delicious donut-croissant hybrid. We filled our boots with Korean Kimchi and pickled anything that could fit in a kilner jar. We munched our way through veritable bouquets of flowers strewn on our wooden platters and washed it all down with beer from the local micro-brewery. The biggest news of course was the food fraud of the 'Horsemeat Scandal' with food manufacturing companies finding themselves in deep manure as a Euro-wide problem was uncovered. There was a second blast of the stun gun to the meat trade with the Irish Farmers’ Association discovering that many Irish brands of sausages, bacon and ham are not Irish at all. But at least they are made from pork, folks, so that's something we should be grateful for, right? With consumers understandably more cautious, we can only hope that lessons have been learned.
|RIP DaTang Noodle House|
There were great complete newcomers to the scene also. The very trendy G-counter opened at the end of April in Wellpark with good food in a fun, casual setting. Its menu consisting of a variety of oversized sandwiches, salads, rotisserie chicken and an on-site bakery with lots of sweet treats became popular from day one. Similarly, less than a year open is West37, down the busy road behind NUIG, teeny tiny, with student life coming and going. The Chicken Melt sandwich cost seven quid, lasted just seven minutes, but I think about it every day. Why can't all sandwiches be that good? Chez Azur with its stunning views out over the docks brought a welcome addition to the upscale, high-end side of things and the prawn, mint and petit pois starter I had there was one of the best dishes of the year without a doubt.
The experts and trend forecasters have their lists all ready as they do every year. More chefs cooking invasive species? In 2014, they tell us, we can expect to see more locavore chefs doing their part to do away with invasive species by finding creative ways to cook with them. Grey squirrel with giant rhubarb anyone? The farm-to-table trend will continue to grow, with restaurants taking things to the max and continuing a trend pioneered long ago here in Ireland by the good people at Ballymaloe.
Here in Ireland we tend to like to do things our own way however, so while the rest of the world will apparently be sous-videing at home, devouring sunchokes, embracing beef as 'the new pork' and eating high-end Mexican food (apparently not the contradiction it might appear to be), here are my own predictions for the food scene in the West for the coming year. Yes, it's true! I can tell the future.
|Craft ciders continue to rise.|
Published in the Galway Advertiser 2/1/2014