A couple of weekends ago Ste and I popped over to Galway for a weekend break. I’ll post about what we got up to soon, but first I have to tell you about the amazing brunch we had on Sunday morning. Now, obviously I can’t claim to have eaten in every brunch venue in the city, so the title of this post may be stretching the truth a bit perhaps, but this place is up there with my favourites, both in terms of the food and the venue, so I’m sticking by my assertion – this IS the best brunch in Galway!
Warning: please do not continue reading this post if you are currently very hungry or in desperate need of brunch. (Also, Ryanair flights to Galway are very cheap. Just saying).
Ard Bia at Nimmos was on my to do list before we even arrived in the city, because it turns out it’s not really a secret – everyone knows the food is fabulous, and it is right next to one of the most identifiable city landmarks, the Spanish Arch (which is much smaller than I had imagined!). We were staying on a boat a little further down the harbour and had already wandered past Nimmos twice before we actually went in for brunch on the Sunday morning.
They start serving at 10am, and typically we woke at 8am, starving. We almost popped to the shop for pastries but instead made do with a coffee while amusing ourselves at the novelty of having woken up on a boat, and I am so glad we did – we could never have managed the huge portions if we had pre-breakfasted! Having gathered it would be popular, and realising that only the upstairs was open due to refurbishments, we strolled in at bang on 10 hoping for a table. It was almost empty at that point, but very quickly filled up while we were there.
I chose the best table in the house – a lovely whitewashed antique surrounded by banquettes covered in kilim pillows and blankets, next to a cute little window and the quirky little stained glass window wall separating us from the entrance.
The writing on the blackboard behind me says ‘loveens’, which I am informed is Galwegian for ‘lovely little ones’.
Ste got stuck straight into the menu while I took a few photographs. Then I sat down and realised I probably should have focused on the menu – it all sounded so good I couldn’t choose! Everything was locally produced and sourced which is exactly our kind of thing. I was tempted by the house ‘fry’ and a pancake stack and the ever-instagrammable eggs on avo toast, but ended up going for eggs benedict with local country ham on homemade bread, and Ste went for the Ard Bia fry.
I was so glad I chose this, it was a plate of absolute heaven! Ste’s was fabulous too, and we ended up discovering that potato farl is a bit like a potato flatbread. We had no idea when we read the menu.
We polished off our food way too quickly even though I was trying to take my time over it, but I definitely slowed down towards the end. It was about then I went along to the kitchen end and saw the huge table of cakes too. Sadly we were way too full, but I wish we had bought some slices to take away.
The entire place was cosy and homely, furnished with eclectic and reclaimed items and impressively dribbly candlesticks, with white planked walls drawing your eye to the little vignettes of the harbour glimpsed through the small windows. If I ever own a BnB or a little cafe, I want it to be just like Nimmos!
Not only was it visually beautiful, but the staff were really friendly and helpful. I asked if I could take a photo of the bar and they quickly tidied away an orange juice carton and some glasses for me first! They also explained to me that ard bia means high food, like food you would eat at high tea – the usual but that little bit more special. I’d say that’s the perfect way to describe what they offer.
Next time we’re in Galway (I feel sure there will be a next time) I want to go back and sample their dinner menu. It claims to be Irish with global pizzazz! In the meantime I’m contenting myself with adding their stunning cookbook to my Amazon wishlist.