Just off busy High Street, this old Galway restaurants had a major makeover - known for decades as The Malt House, it's owned by Paul and Mary Grealish proprietors of The KIng's Head next door.
Summer 2015 saw the closure of The Malt House, which the Grealish family had owned for eleven years, and, just one week later, its re-opening as The Chop House - the name as much a tongue-in-cheek reference to the history of the King's Head as it is a promise of the menu to expect.
Two reclaimed wood-clad dining rooms on either side have a clear view through to The King's Head, and the former courtyard makes a charming beer garden strung with twinkling coloured lights.
The menu is short and to the point, offering many gastropub classics from Caesar salad to lobster and chips. As it is of such historic interest, 'The Head' is a popular tourist destination and there’s traditional Irish stew, oysters on the half shell with dillisk scones and a pint of creamy Guinness for a truly Irish treat.
The ongoing commitment to sourcing the best local produce is still very evident: chicken from the Friendly Farmer in Athenry features, as does corned beef and sausages from Colleran’s Butchers across the street, smoked Connemara lamb from McGeough's of Oughterard, Killeen goat's and Cashel Blue cheeses, Linalla ice cream from across the bay in Co Clare and, of course, Griffin’s bread from the famous bakery next door.The seaweed comes from Westport, smoked salmon from the Burren, fish and vegetables are as local as they can find them. An authentic blaa from Waterford is about as far away as they stray to source their ingredients. They then mix all that together to make some very good pub grub.
With Brendan Keane, head chef of the Malt House for 15 years, back at the helm, the cooking is rock steady. Despite the name, fish is given equal billing to the more meaty options and drink pairings have been carefully considered: while there are dishes like brill on the bone with summer vegetables, that demand a chilled glass of white wine, others such as brisket and smoked bacon toastie beg for a pint of craft beer beside it - and there is plenty of both to keep everybody happy.
The old-world character The Malt House was once known for may be gone, but The Chop House is set to be just as popular as its predecessor.