Post filled under : Award

Last week the McKennas took a brave leap with one of their much celebrated guides. This year the Top 100 Restaurants in Ireland guide has migrated from a paperback to a digital smart guide.

This means that it’s always in your pocket and even more interactive, so there is no excuse now for not finding a great spot for lunch or dinner anywhere in the country.

The guys have really taken all the aspects of how a guide should be used, and compiled a super user-friendly App. The smart guide gives you the option to search by venue or location, offering a fantastic description and gallery of photos for each venue.

A great feature in the app is the ability to phone a restaurant to make a booking directly from the app at the press of a button. These buttons are also available for you to visit Twitter, Facebook and web pages making contact so easy.

Kai in the Top 100 Restaurants in Ireland guide

We are so grateful for the kind words and support of John and Sally down through the years, and yet again their description of what we do has blown us away.

Read it here for yourself….

Jess Murphy is cooking out of the zone in Kai right now, her work a wild riot of flavours, colours and textures. There’s nothing else like it.

Jess Murphy was always going to get there. Well, with her cooking in Kai, we can say that she’s arrived. She is in that zone where her creativity is unrestrained and wildly exciting, where all the lessons of her life and work and travels have been assimilated into a cuisine that is hers, and hers alone.

She is pushing the envelope, and not just with ideas and flavours, but with presentation also, for her plates have a painterly quality that dazzles the eye even before the flavours zonk you.There is nothing she can’t cook to its zenith of flavour and texture, no ingredient that doesn’t make her mind race with a furious creativity – Silke’s halloumi; goat’s curd; Brady’s striploin; sea buckthorn and apple sea beet hogget chops; her own labneh with dukkah; West coast crab with Green Goddess dressing.

The food in Kai is not just elemental, it is instinctual, it broaches no argument in its total confidence and philosophical sureness. It is a thrill, it’s a Kandinsky riot of colours, a Frida Kahlo wave of unlikely flowers and dried fruits, a conception of how everything can be art. That’s what it is, art spun from beautiful ingredients.

We wish the McKennas the very best of luck with their smart guides. Make sure you download the app straight to your iPhone now to find out what it’s all about –


Filled Under : Award , Press

  • September 14, 2013

At the prestigious Food and Wine restaurant of the year awards 2013, it was announced that Galway’s own Kai Café and restaurant was awarded with the title of best restaurant in Connaught.

The announcement was made at a gala luncheon at the 4 Seasons in Dublin on Sunday afternoon, and we were only delighted!

Not only did we win the notable award, but our head chef and owner Jessica Murphy also received a commendation for her work running the kitchen at Kai.

Having previously scooped best chef in Connaught at the same awards, this is yet another plague for us to hang on our walls in a very short period of time.

In total 21 awards were presented at the ceremony, which was attended by over 400 people representing the restaurant industry from all over Ireland. The awards presented included Best Restaurant and Chef Awards for the four provinces and Dublin.

The Food and Wine awards are highly recognized in the food industry, with all awards voted on by a panel of judges from all over Ireland.

In operation for just over two years, Kai continues to attract national and international critique.

We’d like to thank all our customers, suppliers, and staff for getting us here. It’s been a very special time, and we’re going to keep doing it!

Filled Under : Award , Press

It’s always nice to be publicy congratulated for something you do with an award. It gives us a lift and makes us all feel fabulous!

Usually in the food industry we get awards for our food, or our contribution to the industry, so it’s great to be recognised for something new.

This week we received an award for the best designed restaurant in Ireland. The McKennas were kind enough to name us as one of the best rooms last year, so it’s great to have the love for our home reinforced.

There are so many beautiful places in Ireland that we love to eat, all special for their own reason. From rural retreats to urban diners, buildings vary between natural and designer, new and old!

It seems so long since we were preparing to open the doors for the first time!

When we set about creating Kai we were blessed with being offered this beautiful building on Sea Road with so many raw original features. When we saw the space it immediately told a story, the story of Kai – a place where our food and home could happily co-exist, and compliment each other.

The building was sympathetically restored by owner Frank Heneghan who also restored the Bridge Mills. Our beautiful roof beams were taken from the Bridge Mills and fit so well they look like they were a part from the building from its original build.

The flagstone floors and unique glass roof at Kai also told us that this was somewhere special, this was somewhere that Kai could grow, love, live, and be apart of something equally as special.

We had the venue, we had the vision, all we needed then was someone who could put it all together.

This is when Stephen Walton came along. Stephen appreciated our philosophy, and understood our passion for food. He loved the building as much as we did and knew that the only way to create an amazing dining experience in such a natural building was to keep it all minimal, natural, and unobtrusive.

Stephen took on the project as if it were his own, his love and passion for his work is inspiring. His eye to detail and understanding of space, concepts and the materials he works with are second to none.

Everything flowed with Stephens build, everything fitted, and felt right. He was always busy salvaging wood, and industrial items into lampshades, tables, seats and shelves, and making them look awesome!

The process was simple, sympathetic and reflected everything we wanted to communicate about Kai. It was the perfect space for our food, and to begin our journey

This week the awards ceremony, dubbed the ‘food oscars’, Kai Café and Restaurant picked up an award for Best Restaurant Design in Ireland.

According to Pádraic Óg Gallagher, president of the Restaurants Association of Ireland, this year’s awards were the biggest and most competitive to date.

“They are the awards everyone wants to be associated with, and everyone wants to be a winner,” Mr Gallagher said. “We’ve seen a huge increase in nominations and votes since last year, with 30,000 votes cast across 10,000 nominations for Ireland’s favourite restaurants, chefs, gastro pubs, hotel restaurants, and local food heroes throughout the country. The Irish Restaurant Awards are all about celebrating those who have brought acclaim to the Irish food scene from abroad and who keep the restaurant industry thriving at home.”

We have to say a special thank you to Steve and all his boys for their work on the build. And of course a thank you to all our customers from coming and enjoying the experience with us! What a ride!

Filled Under : Award

food award

After just two years in business one Galway eatery continues to cement its place as one of the best restaurants in the country.

For the second year running Kai Cafe and restaurant has been selected by the critically aclaimed McKennas guide and named as on of the “100 Best restaurants in Ireland 2013” with the couple describing Kai as “Utterly delicious cooking, served with style in a great room”.

About the restaurant the McKenna’s said that Kai is a destination that takes your breath away: “One minute they were open, the next minute they were famous, and everyone wanted to get a table”.

Last year the restaurant attracted a host of awards from the McKenna’s guide including the commendation of being named as the Best Restaurant in Ireland.

This year the eatery has been noted as one of the top 10 social media players leading the way for other restaurants in the country, while continuing to demonstrate a progressive and dynamic approach to the food business.

The food at Kai is described in the guide by highlighting the talents of owner and head chef Jess Murphy: “Jess Murphy’s food has real pizazz. The flavours just jump off the plate and bounce around your taste buds delightedly”.

The prestigious awards are recognised in the industry as an indication of excellence, and quality highlighting only the most creative, dynamic, and original restaurants in the country.

Owned by David and Jessica Murphy, the pair transformed a one time flower shop to a bohemian food heaven, that continues to attract national and international critique.

The restaurant prides itself on using local suppliers and showcasing local produce, and is described well by the McKenna’s guide stating: Kai is “beautifully curated, with a roll call of the best West Coast suppliers, assisting the Murphy’s as they make their unique magic”.

food guide award


Filled Under : Award