This old Galway restaurants in a quiet, flower-filled courtyard off High Street, an oasis away from the often frenetic buzz of modern Galway.
The old-world character The Malt House was once known for may be gone – now more casual, with cream walls set off by a series of colourful framed Reg Gordon photo-prints, it has bare black tables, comfortable cream and black chairs, a stained wooden floor, banquette seating along one wall and lots of light from windows looking out on the little courtyard – but it is a well run establishment, relaxed even at busy times and there’s a pleasant air of confidence about the operation.
Long-serving head chef Brendan Keane is still in charge of the kitchen, and many speciality Irish foods and organic ingredients feature on seasonal menus – an à la carte is offered at lunch and dinner, plus backboard specials, also a short keenly priced set ‘value’ dinner menu.
You might lunch on starters such as prawn cocktail and organic leaves, blue cheese & pine nut salad, followed by main courses like mussels with hand-cut chips, and fish of the day, roast haddock - all nicely presented in good size portions, although “Sides” of rosemary and garlic potatoes, organic leaf salad, home-made chips and seasonal vegetables are all charged extra.
To finish, attractive desserts include popular dishes such as strawberry meringue, chocolate brownie in fudge sauce and ice cream selection with an oatmeal cookie - and very good coffee. The wine list includes some good quality wines by the glass, served correctly, and service is efficient and attentive.
The evening à la carte is quite pricey in the current climate, but the set menu offers good value, with an interesting selection of both starters and main courses including novel dishes like duck egg and bacon salad and vegetarian tagine, and also fresh fish choices.
It is good to see seasonality and local produce getting credit (suppliers are listed) and an outing here is always enjoyable – and, seen as a safe bet, The Malt House has earned local support.