Galway Hour Blogger Event in An Pucan

This week I got to attend my first event as a “blogger” at the Galway Hour Live in An Pucan. A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to be one of six bloggers who won a special ticket for the night. The prize included a pre-event private tasting session served by the head chef himself so being a foodie blogger the opportunity to sample some tasty food and tweet away to my hearts content sounded like my sort of thing!
However, bit of a problem in that I’m still fairly new to the whole twitter world, although I’m quickly getting hooked on it. For anyone else like myself (although I certainly feel like I’m in the minority here) I’ll briefly explain what Galway Hour is. Firstly, it’s a fantastic idea and if you’re in any way involved in business in Galway (there are other counties with their own hours too) then you need to get in on it. It’s the most laid-back networking event as you can tweet and interact with others from the comfort of your own couch or attend some of the live events like this one where it’s totally expected for you to be on your phone which is perfect if you’re feeling slightly awkward! It’s also a great way of breaking the ice before approaching somebody you want to talk to as you can just tweet them first. It happens every Tuesday night between 9 and 11pm with a different business sponsoring the night each week, this time it was An Pucan (who really did go all out and put on a brilliant night). Then basically everyone tweets and joins in conversations by tagging @GalwayHour and the sponsor and using the hashtags #galwayhour and the sponsor again. By using these you’re also in with a chance of winning a prize. It’s all about networking and spreading the word about local businesses and it usually generates so much buzz and tweets that it starts trending in Ireland (which I’ve been told is a big deal!). #Anpucan was still trending a few days afterwards!
Of course the selfie stick came out!
All that tweeting can be tiring so luckily for us bloggers we were treated to a tasting session where we sampled some of the most popular items on the current menu as well as some of the dishes planned for their new one. Being a foodie this is the part of the night I was most looking forward to but what made it extra enjoyable was that all the food was served to us by the head chef himself Tom Joyce with an explanation about each dish and where he got the inspiration from it. There’s something about listening to a person talk about a subject they love and are clearly so passionate and excited about that evokes the same feeling in you and makes you want to be a part of it and this is exactly what Tom did. Apart from having a passion for food he also boasts a pretty impressive CV. He has been working in kitchens since he was 14, including well known ones such as Morans on the Weir which makes it no surprise that seafood has a big place on the menu and that’s where our tasting adventure began…
First up were a selection of oysters, much to the horror of some of our little blogger group. We were offered native oysters from Kelly’s of Kilcolgan as well as Pacific oysters. Being a food blogger I felt I had to try them (and with the Galway Player standing by with phone in hand I knew it had to be without gagging or there would be a very quick tweet going up…) but I was actually surprised at how nice they were! As I expected they were salty but the texture wasn’t as “slimy” as I had expected and had a bit of bite to them. Galway has a huge reputation for having some of the best quality oysters and it’s no surprise as we have the oldest oyster festival. Apparently Ireland also boasts having some of the fastest oyster openers in the world (yes they actually have a competition for that!). If you’re not too sold on the idea of eating raw ones then I would definitely recommend their battered and fried ones which really were delicious and don’t actually have that strong of a taste.
Raw Native and Pacific Oysters
Fresh Oyster
   Beer Battered Oysters
Next we moved on to some of their main dishes including a buttermilk chicken flatbread sandwich with sweet potato fries, which if you follow my blog you’ll know I love. We also tried the 8oz beef burger with cajun fries which the chef advises us is the only accompaniment to a pint on match day. One of the dishes he was most excited about was a fish finger sandwich which, unlike the name suggests, is a world away from your Bird’s Eye fish fingers in white bread. An Pucan’s has a decent chunk of battered hake in a Bla bun which for a kitchen that doesn’t claim itself to be serving anything other than “pub grub” is definitely at the top of its market. We also got to sample their Irish lamb stew and Moroccan curry which for decent sized portions at around €12 are very good value and a healthy dinner option especially as all their meats are locally sourced.
Buttermilk Chicken Flatbread and 8oz Beef Burger
Some of the main dishes
 Fish Finger Sandwich with Cajun Fries
I mentioned to Tom that my blog is focused mainly around healthy living and that it can be hard to find healthy lunch and dinner options in Galway and straight away he went back into the kitchen and whipped up his tiger prawn, chorizo and baby potato salad which was my absolute favourite dish of the night. There was so much flavour in it that unsurprisingly within minutes of it being presented all the bloggers had wolfed it down. He also has a number of other healthy salads on the menu including a powerhouse salad, goats cheese salad, tomato and mozzarella salad and a tuna and roast pepper one with feta cheese which to be honest I hadn’t expected them to be serving but will be coming back to sample. I  find Galway is fairly limited for offering places that do healthy but wholesome meals especially for dinner so this could be another place to add to the list.
Tiger Prawn, Chorizo and Baby Potato Salad
Head Chef Tom Joyce explaining his menu
After our hour in foodie paradise we were introduced to Eoin Corcoran who is possibly the friendliest barman I’ve ever met and has an unbelievable knowledge of whiskey (there are over 150 you can sample in An Pucan so I honestly don’t know how he keeps up with it all!). I had absolutely no knowledge of it at the start of the night but once again his passion shone through and he talked us through (with some samples of course) the correct way to drink it, the different aromas and flavours in each variety and how to pair it with food. They do a whiskey tasting platter which comes with a selection of cheeses (all Irish), smoked salmon on soda bread and a chocolate brownie which demonstrate how different foods can alter the flavour of the whiskey. Keep an eye out during the Galway Food Festival as an An Pucan may be offering a whiskey and food pairing tasting session which would be a great day out for any foodies.
Whiskey tasting was a hit with the ladies
A selection of some of their more than 150 whiskey varieties
An Pucan Whiskey Tasting Platter
An Pucan isn’t claiming to be a “gastro-pub” or anything fancy but from my experience tonight it’s selling itself short. The food was delicious, the staff were extremely friendly and the atmosphere was very welcoming. The menu caters for everyone with dishes ranging from an all day breakfast, soup and sandwiches to gourmet fish finger sandwiches and oysters. They’ve also caught on to the ever-growing demand for healthier options with their range of salads, willingness to cater for gluten intolerant customers and have even put the obligatory sweet potato fries on the menu. Overall their upcoming menu sounds like it has included just what the people of Galway would want to eat. They may even show us things that we don’t even know we want yet as the chef says that anybody who thinks it’s all been done before just isn’t innovative enough, so it will be interesting to see what he comes up with next!
With some of the bloggers and staff of An Pucan, from left: Sinead Carroll of Yummy Mummy Fashion and Lifestyle Blog, Ruth Kemple of The Beauty Kemple, Myself, Eoin Corcoran the Whiskey Expert (e2thec) and Tom Joyce the Head Chef at An Pucan.

Thanks for reading!
Aisling

2 Comments

  1. March 6, 2015 / 12:08 pm

    Ahh it looks amazing! Sounded liked a great event…the blogging community in Galway seem so nice 🙂 xx

    • March 6, 2015 / 1:02 pm

      It's a great little community! Do you have a blog yourself? 🙂