Being a Galway girl, myself and my friends are regulars to The Skeff. Its location, cosy secluded vibe, comfy couches and extensive cocktail list are what draw us there. I actually had my first “proper” drink in The Skeff – I wanted a cocktail and naively ordered a Long Island Ice Tea, naively not realising that it’s one of the most alcoholic cocktails you can get. Safe to say I ended up having a good night and my love for cocktails was ignited.
Even though I’ve been to the Skeff a lot, I’d never actually eaten there until now. I think it’s because I always associated it as a meeting place for drinks or a night out but they actually have a full breakfast, lunch and dinner menu and are well known for their pastries and desserts. I had a look at their breakfast menu and realised that they’re one of the few places in Galway that actually do pancakes for breakfast (seriously though, I don’t know why more places don’t offer them?). I’ve actually spent ages on numerous Saturday mornings trying to find places that do and the Skeff actually do them every morning from 8am (with berry compote, creme fraiche and maple syrup for €5.75! How did I not know this!). They also do lunch and have a new hot wok station which I haven’t tried yet but a fellow Blogger called Amie who blogs at Floralesque.com did a great review on it.
As part of the Galway Food Festival I went along to The Skeff as an ITWBN Blogger to try out their dinner menu. I roped Brian into joining me, although he didn’t exactly require much convincing. While The Skeff do an evening bar food menu, there is also a lovely little restaurant at the back which is where we ate. If you’re staying in Galway as a couple it’s a great location as it basically is the city centre and the fact that it’s attached to a popular bar means that after dinner you can just walk out into it, grab a couch by the fire or sit at the bar and have a drink just the two of you without having to go out and walk down Shop Street (as most likely since it’s Galway it’s going to be raining). It’s also a popular bar with hen and stag parties and the entire back row of the restaurant was actually taken up by a hen party (but not the rowdy type – they were classy ladies).
While I clearly love the atmosphere here, I have to say that the food is also very good. The absolute highlight of the meal for me were the sizzling garlic prawns I had for starter. There were 12 decent prawns in lashing of garlic butter with crispy bread for dipping. Together with my glass of Merlot (in nice big wine glasses by the way) I actually felt like I could have been in a tapas bar in Spain (if the rain hadn’t been beating down outside. It was also the night where there was intense thunder and lightning but I didn’t hear a thing!). The prawns were so good and at €7.75 were a bargain. Brian got the fishcakes which also got the thumbs up (and they are a good big portion for a starter).
For mains I got the pan-seared salmon on a bed of crushed potatoes, shallot cream sauce & baby root vegetables. I wasn’t actually going for the “healthy option” but if you are eating out and don’t want to go completely off track with your healthy diet then this main course is a great option. If you wanted to be really good you could ask for it without the sauce. Salmon is a great source of vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids which are really, really good for heart health as well as skin, hair and nails so eat up! I also noticed that they have my one of my favourite dinners, bean stew on the menu which is another good option for the health conscious and a refreshingly original vegetarian option other than the generic vegetable pasta or curries (which don’t even appear on the menu). Brian went for the beer battered fish and chips and even though the menu said it would be cod, the waitress told us that they had gotten in fresh haddock that morning which they were using instead – which was a big plus. Again it was lovely and with main courses ranging from about €11-€16 (excluding the more expensive steaks) I feel that they are really good value.
Even though we were pretty full at this stage I felt we had to sample the desserts (purely for blogging purposes). Also, the lure of the salted caramel brownie was too much to resist. I had to be a bit evil and snapchat a photo to my salted caramel obsessed sister (like literally, I even created some salted caramel overnight oats just for her). It didn’t disappoint either – you could definitely get the taste of salt which so is often pretty lacking in “salted caramel” flavoured foods. The brownie comes warm with vanilla ice cream but it is a dense, heavy dessert so I would recommend sharing it if you’re feeling full (or just wrapping up the leftovers for later…). Brian got the cookies and cream cheesecake and since we’re cheesecake experts it had to live up to our standards. (By experts I mean that it’s the one thing we’ve ever baked together and are super proud of our lemon cheesecake – which is pretty darn tasty). I often find cheesecakes in restaurants don’t live up to the homemade versions but this one definitely did. The main test for me is the base – it has to be thick and biscuit-y which this one was. The topping layer was also lovely and light and you can tell that it is made in house.
Once contently full and pretty merry after a glass or two of wine, we headed out to the bar to meet some friends and finish off the night – although trying to shout at people in close proximity in a packed bar with garlicy prawn breath may not be ideal, I would happily do it every Saturday night if it meant I got to eat them.
To see all the menus and prices or for more information on The Skeff check out their website here. You can also follow them on Twitter @TheSkeffBar (or snapchat @theskeff). They’re also opening a new cocktail bar on the 22nd of April with an event hosted by Suzanne Jackson of SoSueMe and they have 10 pairs of tickets up for grabs so check out their Facebook page to enter!