Artisan restaurant is a charming little restaurant above the famous Tigh Neachtain pub on Quay Street in Galway. The entrance is a blink and you’d miss it doorway beside the famous pub, and the restaurant itself is reached up a wooden stairway. There is some seating outside, and on a summers day it’s a great spot to watch the city pass by.
The dining room is really very lovely, with perfectly proportioned windows running the length of the front of the building, that then turn the corner at the end and continue down the adjacent outside wall, bathing the room in light of a summers day, and providing a birds eye perch over the medieval buildings and bustle of people at other times.
The food is an example of doing what the name says. Good produce brought together in simple if intriguing combinations to create dishes designed to wow the diner with little explosions of taste.
New head chef Mark Campbell has got himself a fine group of suppliers and is producing a menu that thrives on the quality of the ingredients. Leaves and herbs come from the garden of the landlords wife, while local producers of meat and seafood benefit from the kitchens custom. The menu changes seasonally and indeed in some cases daily, so we’ll just try to give you a flavour from a recent visit; you can go taste it yourself.
A starter of Saint Marie goats cheese on crostini pack a cheesy punch; none of your is-it-or-isn’t- it goat’s cheese debate, this was cheese that screamed flavour from the pungent aroma to the last bite. Lollo rosso leaves coated in a beetroot based vinaigrette tasted of salad days gone by, and the presentation was pretty. A main dish of roasted monkfish sat atop a polenta cake flavoured with parmesan and red peppers, and little fried slivers of chorizo provided a contrast, while their oil was mixed with a béchamel to create a pinky/orange seafood sauce that just worked.
A zingy lemon tart brought up the rear, and good coffee finished off a really fine lunch. Artisan is one of the stars of the Galway restaurant scene, and we predict it will continue to improve. Well worth a visit.