This appealing Pan Asian restaurant in Galway city centre is loosely based on the ancient Chinese Tea House concept (a café centred around tea drinking) and decorated with furnishings from Asia, Cambodia and Thailand.
More sophisticated than most Asian restaurants, its green tiled floor and dark wood define the décor in plain polished tables and comfortable, rattan-backed chairs - contrasting with bright blue and orange paintings on the walls, pretty pottery and quality cutlery.
This Galway Restaurants got a tiny bar/reception area and attention to detail shows in excellent toilet facilities. Background oriental music is pleasantly muted, and it is a good venue for a quiet lunch or a more convivial evening meal - dinner here, while busier that at lunch, exhibits the same understated welcome with complimentary Jasmine tea and charming service.
Quite lengthy menus representative of Malay, Vietnam, Thai, Japan and China, feature a large range of dishes, which are all MSG free and based mainly on locally sourced ingredients - and, despite the wide choice offered, all dishes are cooked to order.
An extensive drinks menu offers a choice of ten specialist China teas (including the prized Fen Huang Dan Cong, €9) and eight ‘Blossom Teas’ made with Silver Needle Green Tea and various flower combinations; coffees, juices and beers are also offered plus a short wine list and a limited choice of spirits and liqueurs.
Some dishes are old favourites – the popular traditional Chinese aromatic duck, for example, which is offered in two sizes – while others will be less familiar and, in some cases, hot enough to merit a warning device of one, two or three flames on the menu; Malay sambal chicken, for example, is a very hot dish cooked in home-made dried shrimp paste.
A well-priced lunch menu of Asian Lunch Bowls offers a substantial and tasty range of about two dozen Salad Bowls (warm prawn avocado, perhaps or Vietnamese shredded duck), Noodle Bowls (such as Japanese tofu ramen noodle or chilli pork noodle) and Rice Bowls (typically spicy sweet & sour cod, kari meatballs), all under €12.
The extensive dinner menu includes similar salads along with Noodle and Rice dishes for vegetarians, fish-eaters and carnivores (and there is also a Take-Away menu), and diners are encouraged to “put aside rigid table manners and improvise with hands, spoons, forks and chopsticks & slurping noodles is good!”
This relaxed restaurant offers something different in Galway city, and is good value – its success is well deserved.