Ard Bia, Galway City
“Just Ask!” is a public awareness campaign that aims to encourage consumers when eating out to look for information on where the food (particularly meat) on their plate comes from, and encourages chefs to provide this information on their menus. The programme supports both large and smaller artisan suppliers, encouraging both Irish diners and visitors from abroad to support restaurants that are in turn supporting their suppliers. The Bord Bia “Just Ask!” Restaurant of the Year Award has been chosen from the year’s winners selected for the Ireland-guidecom monthly e-zine.
Aoibheann MacNamara “strives to provide food that is ‘Great for Galway’” at her Spanish Arch restaurant ,Ard Bia, and thus doing a great service to Galway – and also to visitors to the city. Menus at the ‘Just Ask’ Restaurant of the Year read lip-smackingly well.
Before a long day around town what could be better than ‘McGeough’s lovely full fry’, featuring breakfast meats from the famed Connemara butcher? Or, later on, a St Tola’s goats cheese salad, with cheese from the milk of Burren goats in nearby Co Clare; or a bowl of creamy seafood chowder, full of local fish - smoked cod, sea trout, mussels and clams - supplied by the aptly named Gannet Fishmongers...
But it’s what on the back of the menus that’s really exciting. Not satisfied with just giving a list of suppliers (useful as that is), there’s a mini profile of a dozen of their main suppliers and enough information (address, phone number, website) to encourage interested diners to visit them, or see their produce for themselves in local shops or at Galway Market.
Now that’s what ‘Just Ask’ is all about.