Post By CM The Galway casual dining scene has recently been dominated by the West Side of the city, but I have a feeling that An Púcan, just off Eyre Square on Forster Street is set to give the more established venues in The Latin Quarter and beyond a run for their money. I was invited along by Bec Boop Fashionista (also known as Rebecca!) to a Blogger’s Evening, where we fortunate few got to chat in a welcoming environment, sample an enormous amount of the extensive menu and wash all the deliciousness down with a mighty fine cocktail or two. Chef Tom Joyce took us through the menu with great panache, really impressing me with his enthusiasm and passion for the food he’s proud to serve. We started with seafood – oysters, both fresh and battered, both delicious. I’d never had battered oysters before, and on a bed of dressed spinach they were to die for. In addition to the oyster dishes there were prawns and crab, and salads which are all dressed regardless of being a main dish or a side.
The newly published Galway Player and I were in firm agreement that An Púcan would make an ideal first date venue, with its laid back pub atmosphere, friendly and accommodating staff and restaurant-quality food. There’s such a wide and varied menu that you can’t go wrong. Not to mention the cocktails. Oh, the cocktails…
We tried burgers, stew, curry, vegetarian tartlets and more. The presentation was as mouth-watering as the taste, and in supporting local suppliers Tom and his team is really flying the flag for sustainable local economies. I was fit to burst by the time the tasting had come to an end, but what kind of fool would I have been to pass up the cheese plate? God I love cheese, and with good quality, traditional Irish cheeses on offer I was in my element. The Ballymaloe Relish topped things off very nicely indeed. Oh and then there were brownies. Scrumptious. We really were spoiled! And you can be too; everything’s extremely reasonably priced and I can’t recommend the food highly enough. There’s a good wine list (I had two glasses of a decent Shiraz) and the surroundings can fit into whatever mood you’re feeling. There are little snugs in the front area, as well as open plan tables, and there are good sized nooks and crannies in the back that would suit parties. There’s also a stage suitable for gigs (Kodaline played there recently as part of the Guinness Amplify programme). And I must point out; the music was at just the right decible – loud enough to hear but not oppressive. To my old ears this is something that pubs rarely tend to consider, so it appears that An Pucan certainly aims to please every customer.
Another thing I like to see is a clean, well kept restroom, and An Púcan’s makes the grade. It has a separate area for make-up reapplication – also very welcome; no soggy-bottomed handbags here! And, in Blanche du Bois fashion, I was entirely in favour of the flattering low-lighting! It’s great to have a quality venue on this side of town – perfect for bringing friends or relatives just off the train or bus! If you haven’t already, check it out.