If there was a designation ‘unadorned’ Tom Sheridan’s EIGHT Bar & Restaurant overlooking busy Dock Road is it: unmatched plain wooden tables and chairs, plain white ware and plain stainless steel cutlery. The tea towel-type napkins, though linen, underline the commitment to a quirky simplicity.
The premises is well run and maintained, and there has been little physical change here since opening: same 'cool' gastro-pub ambience, mix'n match wooden furniture and ancient couches, bar-counter regulars and fine harbour view through floor-to-ceiling, wide window.
What does change is the food quality and service - chefs seem to come and go. The current chef is Jordi Guerra whose suppliers (mainly local), are listed clearly on the menu and, although most of the dishes are the same or similar to before, the cooking is better and service much improved – and there’s a buzz about the place that had been missing for some time.
Platters of Mezze (about €5) and Antipasto (€7), served on slates, are wholesome and interesting, featuring good quality ingredients, notably very good hummous, Parma ham and deep-fried falafel dumplings.
This Galway restaurants well cooked main courses might include less usual fish (ray wing, for example, about €16) and an out of the ordinary aubergine and polenta vegetarian dish; portions are generous and excellent fat, homemade 'chips' remain a house speciality.
Desserts are also pleasing (crème brulée, perhaps or a chocolate combination, around €5), and good coffee (€2.50) should finish off your meal on a high note.
The small wine list is reasonably priced – and includes some ciders and craft beers, with O’Hara’s representing Ireland.
It is good to see Bar 8 revitalised - through more attentive service, consistently good cooking and lower prices – and the buzz is back. A meal here should be an enjoyable experience, and it’s real value for money too.