Just Ask Restaurant of the Month for May - Kai

The “Just Ask!” Restaurant of the Month winner for May is Kai Café & Restaurant in Galway

Fun, quirky and always busy, Kai (meaning food in Maori) is the brainchild of chef Jess Murphy, a New Zealander who, with her Irish husband David front-of-house, converted this former tearoom café on Galway city’s Westside to create a rustic café and restaurant with a casual vibe and loads of atmosphere.

It makes a great setting to showcase Jess’s cooking of the very best of local foods: she is known for her dedication to seeking out the highest quality raw materials, which she then cooks simply, allowing them to speak for themselves.

In time honoured tradition, menus change daily according to availability of the best seasonal ingredients - but, while the daily ingredients will vary, regular suppliers are given the star treatment on the Kai website, where you will find photos and web links for a whole range of outstanding producers and suppliers.

These include third generation butchers, Brady’s of Athenry, who have their own EU Approved abattoir on site, where their famed local beef is slaughtered weekly and matured in the traditional way for 28 days.

Also in Athenry, Ronan Byrne, aka The Friendly Farmer, is especially renowned for his free range poultry, and other top quality meats come from Roscommon, where the Allen family rear beef, lamb and rare breed pork at Castlemine Farm, and game is supplied (in season) by Dromoland Game in Co Clare.

Kai Cafe & RestaurantSmoked fish, notably salmon, has a very short way to travel from the Roberts family’s Connemara Smokehouse at Ballyconneely (which, incidentally, is Ireland’s first Food Economusée and well worth a visit) and fantastic fresh fish comes from Galway’s leading supplier, the larger than life Stefan Griesbach of Gannet Fishmongers “who sells wild sustainable fish, and is continually introducing new fish to the market”.

Specialist growers supplying Kai include Lough Boora Organic Farm, Tullamore, and Green Earth Organics in rural Corrandulla, East Galway (both well known for their successful box schemes), and dairy products are equally valued.

Sheridans Cheesemongers are suppliers of course (of beverages and wines as well as cheese), and several cheesemakers are also singled out for individual mention including Marion Roeleveld, who makes her wonderful Killeen range at Portumna, Co Galway; Siobhan Ní Ghairbhith’s St Tola organic goat cheeses from across the bay in Co Clare; and Agnes and Wolfgang Schliebitz’s Knockalara sheep’s cheese, from beautiful West Waterford - an exceptional trio of cheeses that regularly find their way onto Jess’s menus.

The calibre of these suppliers (and more like them, including artisan drinks producers) tells its own story about the ethos at Kai - it is full of light and colour and has a sense of fun, but the food is seriously good and the well trained, focused and efficient front of house team know just how to underpin the quality of the hearty plates of deliciousness coming from the kitchen, ensuring a memorable meal.

Not surprisingly perhaps, Kai - which is the 2015 Georgina Campbell Restaurant of the Year - has not only earned a loyal following in Galway, but has become a must-visit destination for food lovers from all over Ireland when coming to the West. This extraordinary little restaurant ‘Where good food lives’ has taken a top place in the Irish food scene, and it is well deserved.


Dinner Menu


Ginger + Elderberry Bellini €8

Merlot Juice Alain Milliat 33cl €5.50

Galway Hooker Sixty Knots IPA 33cl €6.50


Toby’s Burratta + Peas + Candy Lemon €9

John Dory + Gin Crudo €8.50

West Coast Crab + Goats Bridge Caviar €10.50

Granny Jeans Ox Tongue + Pumpkin Jam €10

Silver Darlings + Duck Eggs + Toasts €10


Monkfish + Sea Spaghetti + Cockles + Broth €24

Quinoa Cakes + Ricotta + Salsify + Asparagus €18.50

Roscommon Hogget + Harissa + Yoghurt €23

Brady’s Dry Aged Strip Loin + Young Buck Butter + Sprouting Broccoli €26.50

John Dory + Spelt + wild Garlic + Sweet & Sour Fennel €25.50


White Chocolate Panna Cotta + Roasted Rhubarb €7

Chocolate Angel Delight + Grapefruit €7

Blood Orange Posset + Cardamom Shortbread €6.50

Game of Cones Sundae €7.50

Marian + Mike's Cheese + Quince Jelly €10

Green Goddess Soup: Celery, Leeks, Wild Garlic, Asparagus w/ Brown Bread €5

Spicey harissa beef "Sloppy Joe" on Al's focaccia bun w/ zesty slaw €12

Ardsallagh goat's cheese salad w/ tomato + blood orange, toasted seeds + brown bread €11

Sea Road Fishfingers: Buttermilk + panko crumb pollock w/ khol rabi + cucumber salad, wild garlic ranch + brown bread €12.50

West Coast crab salad w/ poppyseed, cucumbers, avocado mayo + potato + cheddar scone €11.50

Toasted almond, pomegranate, roast red pepper + couscous salad w/ crumbled feta, sumac yoghurt + brown bread €11

Spiced lentil + roast sprouting broccoli filo parcel w/ garden salad, stormy port + apricot chutney + nutty brown bread €11.50

Our Suppliers
the story behind the food

Bradys Meats, Athenry Meats
Castlemine Farm, Roscommon Meats
Friendly Farmer, Athenry Meats
Dromoland Game, Limerick, Meats
Gannet Fishmongers, Galway, Fish
Connemara Smokehouse, Ballyconneely, Fish
Lough Boora Farm, Tullamore Meats, Salads, Veg
Green Earth Organics, Corrandulla Salads
Redmonds Fine Foods, Salads, Veg
St Tola Cheese, Co Clare, Dairy
Killeeen Farmhouse Cheese, Ballinasloe, Dairy
Knockalara Cheese, West Waterford Dairy
Arrabawn Dairies, Ballinasloe Dairy
Sheridans Cheesemongers, Galway Beverages, Dairy, Wines
Cases Wine, Beverages, Wine




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.

Here at Georgina Campbell Guides we have always been avid supporters of the ‘eat local’ concept, and we always enjoy reading menus that have a real sense of place. The dining experience is greatly enriched by knowing that the food on your plate is inspired by the produce and traditions of the area, and sourced nearby – and we would love to see more chefs sharing that precious information with their guests.  

If you are a visitor to the area, learning a little about local food and the people who produce it adds a special extra dimension to the visit – and, for residents, it reinforces a natural pride in the good things of their locality and makes a meal all the more enjoyable.

So, we are delighted by the high standard of menus that continue to be submitted for our ' “Just Ask!” Restaurant of the Month Competition', menus that really speak of the best of Irish foods – and the dedication of both the people who make them, and the chefs who select them to create wonderful dishes with real Irish flavour for our enjoyment.


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