In terms of the Galway food scene, Rúibín could be defined as a relatively new kid on the block having only opened its doors in Summer 2019. In the short period between opening and the forced closure due to the pandemic, Rúibín made a great impression on Galway food lovers. Having never been, I was looking forward to the opportunity.
Overlooking the Galway docklands, the interior is warm and inviting. Exposed brick walls, large gold rimmed mirrors and frames accompanied by twinkling candlelight give the space an intimate and cool touch. Downstairs, the bar offers a more laid-back vibe whilst upstairs, where my party of four had opted to dine, presents as more formal.
The bar and restaurant have separate menus but as I was keen to sample some of the bar options, I asked if it would be possible to choose from both. Alas, I was informed that they do not mix the menus which means I will have to return to sample the bar offerings some other time. We began with four different cocktails from the creative and ever-changing menu: Salted Caramel Rum, Love & Lemons, The Notorious F.I.G and The Cloudy Orchard. The different flavours fuelled conversation amongst us with an overall agreement that the winner was the bourbon fused Love & Lemons.
To start we shared the Kelly’s oysters with frozen blackberry and cucamelon. Oysters can be intimidating but the flavour combinations were refreshing and easy on the palette. Another shared starter was easily the star dish of the night: the pig cheek fritters with green bean chutney and smoked garlic aioli. The ingredients worked really well together and left us wanting more.
For mains we all opted for fish with one guest ordering the poached cod served with potato, olive and tomato broth. The rest of the table went for turbot served with chicken butter, chanterelles, greens and crispy chicken skin. All of the mains were cooked and presented well and showcased great use of seasonal and flavourful ingredients. Choosing from the extensive wine menu we paired the fish with a well-balanced French Sauvignon Blanc which elevated the taste of the dishes.
I am a huge fan of the no-uniform policy at Rúibín. The friendly and knowledgeable servers can each express their individuality and wear clothes they are comfortable and confident in which adds to the cool contemporary vibe. A downside is that broke students may not be able to afford the prices at Rúibín, however it is a beautiful venue for a splurge whether it be a date-night, graduation dinner or other special occasion. Rúibín, Irish for a small ruby stone, is undoubtedly a jewel in the Galway food scene.