Galway is known for many things, arts, culture, a vibrant food scene holding its own on the world stage and of course its thriving bar scene. Throngs of bars line almost every street in the city, from traditional to eclectic to the hidden gems only the locals seem to know about.
The Galway scene has been on fire in recent years and is without doubt one of the best city’s in the country to enjoy some mighty craic, as many of the world’s top chefs found out a few weeks ago when they descending on the future European capital of culture for the second year of trail blazing chef JP McMahon’s Food on The Edge symposium. It is no mean feat to draw speakers from all over the world to highlight the quality of Irish produce and what our land has to offer and many people in the capital where left scratching their heads as to how they had not seized such an opportunity themselves. The sense of community in Galway has always, in our opinion, been one of the main factors why its attracts people year on year from far and wide. That and the genuine welcome you can almost be guaranteed to receive in every venue you stumble upon.
There is another driving force in the city all be it a more low key one, by the name of Gerry Barrett, a former school teacher turned property developer who has amassed a huge portfolio of land in Galway over the years, most notably The Meyrick Hotel and the iconic g Hotel, two landmark building in the city. Gerry although an unassuming character is not known for doing things by halves and bold design is something he is certainly not afraid of.
Last year Galway got a new addition unlike anything the city had seen before courtesy of Barrett; a slick, modern and vacuous venue called Tribeton. The building itself had been vacant for several years having previously been a building merchants store among other things. Billed as a bar, café & restaurant, tucked away on Merchants Rd Lower is now an all day eatery with late night bar. Tribeton is being headed up by Barrett’s son David who was heavily involved in all aspects of the design.
First impression are of the Titanicesque staircase that meander around to reveal a striking mosaic threshold, bold artwork, filament bulbs to beat the band and elongated pewter bar which is probably the longest in the city and arguably carrying one of the largest gin selections on this island with over 82 bottles housed behind the gleaming bar.
As much as Tribeton is a bar, the dining aspect is hugely important, set out in several different sections and booths it is ideal for groups, families or larger parties which is something many of its rivals may struggles with. That said we popped in on a Sunday evening which is traditionally quiet enough in the city but with FOTE about to kick off there was certainly some mischief in the air with a fantastic buzz around the city and Triton was no exception with many choosing to sip a cocktail or three from there well crafted menu. Having won “Best Modern Bar” Sky Bar of the Year the guys are clearly doing things right, this was our third time here and each time we head to Galway we always seem to end up here.
We kicked off wth a couple of cocktails priced from €10, while we perused the all day and a la carte menu, deciding on the latter which is a little less casual. Well seasoned Seared Scallops with a spicy Toulouse sausage and a simple butternut squash puree set the tone for some hearty fare and also worked up a little thirst to sample a glass of Markus Huber Gruner Veltliner at €7.50 not the cheapest but well priced for this wine and refreshing to see some decent by the glass offerings which can sometimes be a hinderance in certain Galway bars.
Across the table arrived a rustic dish of Brodetto Atlantico, although ordered as a starter potion €6 beware this is a trouser expanding dish, packed with thick chunks of hake and shellfish all poached in a rich tomato and fennel broth. Perfect winter warmer with a real comfort factor.
A whole chargrilled Seabass arrived peering out from the plate, personally we prefer without the head, maybe it’s a guilt thing but we didn’t like the way he giving us the eye. Nevertheless the flesh was white, pearly and soft and tasted fantastic. A simple side of fennel and orange spinach salad was all that was needed.
Our other main was a sous vide Rack of Lamb, but we were not sold that cooking sous vide added any extra flavour or dimension to the dish. More impressive was the confit lamb and mint croquette perfectly crisped on the outside with a sweet filling that was spot on. So much so that the addition of a potato gratin was not needed as all the other elements on the plate are than done their job.
We skipped dessert and instead finished the evening with two well crafted old fashioned from Tribeton’s top class whiskey selection.
Tribeton is a great addition to an already buzzing scene in Galway, it is somewhere that even though the cool kids may hang out, all generations would feel at ease here. The city of Tribes is lucky to call this one its own.
Dinner for two including two glasses of wine and two cocktails came to €104.45
Keith & Jules Mahon are the founders of TheTaste. We want TheTaste to be a culinary kaleidoscope to champion every taste, food, wine, cocktails, whiskey, etc. We are delighted to be part of such a creative and fast moving industry and are very passionate about sharing with you our unique journey around Ireland finding the best culinary hotspots.