After a pretty manic December and with all the obligatory Christmas visits out of the way we decided to indulge in a little Galway getaway to undoubtedly one of the most stylish hotels in Ireland, the g Hotel. Unfortunately we decided to do this on a pretty grim day in the West with torrential rain greeting us on arrival. However walking through the iconic, revolving doors and stepping into the comfort of the lavish g lobby to be greeted with a warm welcome made the journey more than worthwhile.
For those familiar with the building, located just five minutes from the main city centre on the Old Dublin Road you will know that is hard to miss on your way into Galway. For those who have yet to experience all the g has got offer well you are in for a treat. This is an ultra modern hotel and Galway’s only five star, but yet still manages to foster a warmth and steer away from feeling clinical. One of the things that struck us was how well designed each chic, contemporary signature lounge was, that along with the fact each one was bustling with guests. The g seems to be one of those spots where local people love to meet for a cocktail, enjoy some Afternoon tea or just catch up with a casual bite to eat. There are not many five star hotels which you will find such broad spectrum of ages and clientele and we don’t believe this to be a coincidence. Unlike many large hotels the g manage everything in house with a small but experienced team, who try to find something to suit everyone.
Much like the Dylan in Dublin, there is a lot of attention to all the finer details that make visiting here so special. This is a theme we found throughout the entire hotel, especially in the beautifully appointed rooms. We had booked in to one of their junior suites for the night, and were more than impressed that after 10 years in business, the standards in the rooms are maintained so impecabbly. Apart from the heavenly super king size bed and abundace of Philip Tracey designed fittings, the bathroom was probably as close to a mini spa as you can get.
Our plan had been to pop into Galway for some shopping, however one look out our floor to ceiling window and that soon changed, instead we decided to investigate the award winning spa, which simply put is beyond stunning. Even if you only spend a couple of hours in the thermal suite which only costs €10 for guests if you haven’t booked a treatment you will not be disappointed. Stepping inside it’s hard to believe this huge space has been integrated so subtly into the hotel’s design.
Another thing you will find in abundance in the g is cocktails, lots and lots of cocktails. With over 60 to chose from it’s no surprise there is a bit of reading to be done on the cocktail menu; which in typical, playful g fashion has a witty quote matched to each one. Our favourite had to be for a fine Tullamore Dew based cocktail called Barrell & Bottle with a great quote from Mark Twain- “Too much of anything is bad, but too much good whiskey is barely enough.” The g have a fantastic young mixologist called Roxy who certainly knows a thing or two about what makes a great cocktail and having sampled one or two, ok maybe three we can certainly attest to that!
Obviously being TheTaste the highlight of our visit would be the food and as we had sampled a couple of small bites from the lounge menu earlier in the day we had high hopes for dinner. All be it two small portions of Sobrasada Chorizo Croquettes with a delicious smoked paprika dip this was enough to set the tone for dinner in the very glam 2 AA Rosette Restaurant gigi’s.
The menu and food provenance at the g is very much a team effort with Head Chef Cedric Bottarlini and Sous Chef Pete Durkan leading from the front. It is always a difficult balance to create an exciting menu in a hotel restaurant, one that will entice guests as well as locals. With this in mind the dinner menu is very broad with an Indulenge (3 courses for €36), Delight ( 3 courses for €48) or Sharing menu (3 Courses for Two €99) on offer. They even have a “Irish Steakhouse Corner” thrown in to keep the serious meat lovers satisfied.
We decided to mix and match a little which was easily accommodated by the staff on the night. We began with a Tian of Liscannor Crabmeat which consisted of a delicate and creamy crab bavarois; beautifully presented with a lightly fragrant fennel snap, cucumber balls and orange puree, a light and refreshing entree which we both agreed hit the spot. Our second starter of Crisp Oat Crusted Black Pudding was definitely the more hearty of the two; lightly coated oats disguised this much loved Irish ingredient which had a superb consistency to it which worked wonders with the apple sauce and diced foie gras.
As tempting as the 16oz T-Bone steak sounded we used restraint and settled on a slightly more elegant cut with the Venison. This as it turned out proved to be the stand out dish of the evening. It was also a real showcase of the serious talent in the kitchen. A cannon of venison coated with hazlenut, the most succulent slow cooked Osso Bucco, perhaps a nod to Cedric’s Italian roots with a wild mushroom salad and topped off with a more Irish tradition of sloe berry jus.
Although Pan Fried Sea Bass can be slightly hit and miss, it seemed wrong to come to a city like Galway, with an abundance of good seafood and not to give it a try. Restaurant gigi’s approached it in an interesting way, with a lobster cannelloni beneath the fillet which was excellent and devoured in seconds. The Champagne velouté very much lived up to its name with a velvet texture in the mouth, this with the cannelloni were a marriage made in heaven. More cannelloni and less kale and this may have pipped the venison to the post.
We had been forewarned not to pass up the chance of dessert as the g hotel’s new Head Pastry Chef Amol Kate has some fantastic creations and Twitter being the reactive force that it is we were showered with suggestions from previous diners and it seemed the Key Lime Colada dessert cocktail was coming up trumps. Layered with limoncello, lime, creamy coconut and pineapple and injected with Bacardi silver rum for a little bit of show, in a word – sublime (forgive the pun)!
The mention of a praline cigar lured us into ordering a spicy Tonka Bean Crème Brûlée. A more than generous portion of this classic dessert arrived topped as promised with a crispy praline cigar sitting proudly on top of some tart blackberry sorbet saying EAT ME! As we had been advised the desserts here are definitely worth indulging in.
We finished off our evening in the stunning lounge with a night cap looking out at the rain soaked Lough Atalia. As the whole point of our little escape was some rest and relaxation we treated ourselves to breakfast in bed with Eggs Benedict before heading into the city. We may have only stayed only one night but this luxury escape felt like we were a million miles away. The g Hotel has all the ingredients for the perfect girlie getaway, romantic escape or spa break. One thing we can guarantee is you will be hard pressed to find a city hotel as dazzling as this with such a down to earth attitude.
Overnight accommodation in a Junior suite with full Irish breakfast and a three-course early dinner in Restaurant gigi’s is available from €187pp.
This is a Seductive Taste we highly recommend.
the g Hotel
Old Dublin Rd
T: 353 91 865200
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.