Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Kai Cafe comes to the rescue with a fantastic finale in Galway, Ireland (8-19-20)

I had chosen KAI CAFE for our last night since it seemed like a "lighter" dining spot, but boy was I wrong. We had scheduled for late at 8pm since we ate lunch that day and also gave ourselves time to finish packing and then enjoy a relaxed dinner. It was the perfect plan. We walked in and Will immediately recognized the guy from the counter next to us at lunch and we ultimately laughed off the incident as he and our server Sheena were a super team along with chef/owners David & Jess Murphy who whipped up each amazing dish in the open kitchen not far away. It's a small cozy place, but that seems to be the norm in Galway, and even with that, it was impressive.

Will ordered a vodka & tonic (they had run out of Dingle!) and I tried the house Bellini with Blackcurrant liqueur (it was so nice I bought a bottle the next day at duty free). Of course, Samuel wanted a coke, but this is all-organic and settled for an Ubuntu Cola which he said was fine.

The menu was awesome and decisions were difficult to make. We ordered a bottle of Domain de Coussergues Pay's d'Oc Chardonnay/Viognier and enjoyed our drinks until we spoke at length with Sheena. She said not to worry; we would be taken care of. I ultimately chose the Wild Clare Rabbit Rillettes & Toast while Will went for the West Coast Crab & Goat's Bridge Caviar (did I write that correctly?). They were amazing dishes and beautifully adorned with yet more edible flowers of all sizes as well as radishes and shoots; a true garden on each plate. I had a yen for the scallops, so Sheena sneaked out a plate of the creamy rich divine Scallop Ceviche & Tiger's Milk which had avocado & cucumber as well. These were three of our favorite starters indeed and they were also quite large, so we were almost full by the time the mains arrived.

Samuel ordered a Brady's Strip Steak (with a chimichurri like crust) & Tonty's Tomatoes and Chanterelle Butter, which was all to die for and came with creamy rich potatoes just in case you needed more (as if we had not eaten enough in 18 days in Ireland). Oh, did I forget to mention the Black Bread served with Sea & Celery Salt Butter. Now that we are home we have bought Kerry Gold Irish butter, but it just isn't the same!

Will & I chose to split our main courses and they were both sublime:
Monkfish & Mussels & Dillisk (seaweed) Broth which was light but dabbed with a rich Aoili

John Dory with Butternut Squash, Kale Inzimino (chick peas stew) which was slightly spicy and rich as well. It is rare to get John Dory over here and if available it tends to cost a bloody fortune, so this was a special treat as well.

The setting is quite nice with a large glass roof that looks up to a Gothic church of sorts; it was sadly not light that night as Sheena said it sometimes is. The walls are stone and there were hanging bulbs in mason jars that were really cute. If I have to complain, it would be about the not very comfortable chairs (that was the curse of both meals that day) and the loo was quite dilapidated with a broken seat (the acrylic of a large jellyfish can go as well :-)).

Everything was so great we had to choose one dessert and since Will & I had enjoyed so many scrumptious ones with rhubarb we chose the Rubhard with Custard & Shortbread which was a parfait compote with custard and cream crumble....a wonderful end to our last supper. But there had to be more. Kanppogue Greenspot Irish Whiskey was indeed (save for breakfast the next day and the crisps from the duty free at Shannon) our last taste of Ireland, and what a fitting drink it was.

I have to say that as "ard bia" was good food in Gaelic, "Kai" is Maori for food, and there is a Maori connection with a large wall painting of the owner's great-grandmother from New Zealand.

Once again kudos to Sheena who treated us like Irish gold, and made our last night so memorable!