The lovely Catherine Cleary wrote a great piece about the 50 mile Feast for the Irish Times – have a read

They did things the hard way in Galway for a stellar pop-up restaurant night recently. Not only was the venue – the Columban Hall on the Sea Road – a genuine pop-up restaurant, they also pledged that everything (excluding wines) would be sourced within a 50-mile radius. What followed was a brilliant night around two long banquet tables in this lovely old church hall. Although some of the locals had to banish memories of sitting their Leaving Cert exams here, the transformation into a magical restaurant was achieved with real style.

The food came from kitchens nearby and was plated in a tent to one side. Highlights included farmed abalone, a risotto made with barley instead of rice (no paddy fields within 50 miles), braised beef cheeks and a magnificent hazelnut ice cream made with wild Burren hazelnuts.

Sorcha Molloy from the Herons Rest BB and Kai chef Jess Murphy were the brains behind the night, and were joined by six other cooks: Seamus Sheridan of Sheridans Cheesemongers; JP McMahon of Cava; Junichi Yoshiyagawa of Kappa Ya; Jamie Peaker of Builín Blasta; and Paolo Burnato and Perluigi Suzanna from Ard Bia at Nimmos.

Wines came from Cases Wine Warehouse and the transformation of the hall was the work of designer Stephen Walton. Everyone worked for free and the cost of dinner, plus proceeds of a silent auction (bids in a sealed envelope) went to Galway Simon. This flash mob of cooks has the look of a collective about them. I’d book early for their next event.

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So… the food at Kai is great, we all know that, there are some funny accents on Sea Road, and plenty to be found in Kai itself. That may have something to do with Jessica Murphy, Head Chef, and owner who was born and raised in the middle of nowhere in New Zealand. Along with her husband David, together they opened Kai, a place with a moral sensibility and a commitment to a better culinary world.

What is it that makes the food of Jessica Murphy so great? Voted the best chef in Connacht by Food and Wine, Jess has worked in some of the finest kitchens and offered up the highest standards of food.

Originally from New Zealand she made Ireland her home working for Kevin Thornton, the Michelin starred chef. Following her experience she moved to Galway where she was head chef at Ard Bia for 4 years, before setting up the kitchens at Bar 8 where she won her Food and Wine award.

The love and passion Jessica has for food is easily reflected in her daily menu at Kai. Depending on what seasonal, fresh produce is delivered by trusted local suppliers each day, the menu changes.
Jessica’s ethos is very simple; all produce is fresh, seasonal, local, and where possible, organic.

Each dish is freshly prepared, with much thought put in to flavours enhancing each offering. Both the lunch and dinnertime menus are planned in a similar manner.

All chutneys, jams, curds, and sauces are all prepared in-house, and quite often can be found for sale in Kai’s mini pantry of goodies.

Jessica truly believes in sustainability and endeavors to support local artisan food producers wherever possible. Her passion for local produce has attracted amateur foragers both young and old to arrive at the door of Kai with handpicked blackberries, apples, sea spinach and other wild things.

A wholesome goodness surrounds the cooking of Jessica Murphy, an old-fashioned idealist with a modern twist, cooking the way it should be, and that’s why we all love it!!

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Here ye here ye – welcome one and all to the Kai Cafe + Restaurant blog.

Over the coming weeks and months we promise to treat you to a variety of tales, both fact and fiction, fantasies, recipes, and news.

The blog will be about things happening at Kai, all about our philosophy and lots about food.
We’re talking about recipes, foraging, what’s in season, and how to create awesome food combos.

There are lots of exciting events in the pipeline at Kai, and this will be your chance to find out about them.

Be sure to sign up to out monthly newsletter so you don’t miss a thing

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