Aniar Restaurant in Galway Unveils Aniar 2.0
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Aniar Restaurant in Galway Unveils Aniar 2.0

Chef and restauranteur JP McMahon officially unveiled Aniar 2.0 this week in Galway.

The Michelin-star restaurant was closed for a number of weeks in January for a complete refurbishment of the dining area,  kitchen and the brand. The result is a space which reflects the ethos and style of the west-of-Ireland-inspired food allowing for a more immersive dining experience for guests. 

JP McMahon said “For the last 13 years, Aniar has been a benchmark for the many possibilities for the future of Irish food. We have just signed another 10-year lease and I wanted to mark this with bringing a more accurate reflection of Aniar’s evolving food concept into the design. The next ten years will be about bringing the outside in, in terms of a more dynamic dining experience for our guests and be part of the next chapter for new Irish cuisine.”

JP enlisted the help of Drigin Gaffey (co-owner of Cava Bodega) and architect Aidan Conway of Marmar Architects to realise his vision. 

Aidan said, “From our earliest discussions with JP, the key touchstone for the restaurant’s redesign was that the food was always the centre of the experience, a space in low light where the table and its contents are brought into focus by careful illumination. JP had also made clear his vast array of influences and interests, ingredients, landscape, theatre and painting. His personality and story are completely intertwined with that of Aniar.

Dark green stained oak is divided by curvilinear cuts, with their openings offering a glimpse into the restaurant’s story, the landscape of the Twelve Bens and Inis Mór, JP’s The Irish Cookbook, shells from some of the many shellfish on the menu and a fragment of bog oak from Connemara. 

While the walls tell the story of Aniar, a cabinet of curiosities displays the many growing influences that have informed the restaurant’s storyThe tables, cast by artist Paddy O’Malley of Aillebrack, contain fragments and outlines of oyster shells and periwinkles against their dark polished concrete surfaces, a simple low pendant lighting their surface.  Soft Irish Linens from Jennifer Slattery drape from the ceiling, while the cabinetry, crafted by Monarú and carefully installed by Eamon O’Reilly, sits as a subtle backdrop. 

The decor reflects the restaurant’s 24-course tasting menu, drawing on the terroir of the west coast of Ireland. Diners are presented with curated hyper-seasonal dishes such as Irish asparagus, goat’s curd and pickled alexanders, or lamb croquette with rhubarb or oyster, seaweed and sea herbs. As an immersive experience, the bread course is served along with a sensual poem by Brendan Kennelly while the oyster course is presented with an equally evocative Seamus Heaney poem. Both are printed on paper embedded with camomile seeds which can be planted at home.  The course ranges from delicate light bursts of deliciousness to robust meaty flavours. Seaweeds are present in many dishes, a signature West of Ireland ingredient and the final flourish of petit fours are served in a hidden compartment-type jewellery box. 

In the spirit of keeping the element of surprise and theatre, diners are given the menu once the final course is served. The menu is encased in an illustrative map of Ireland, designed by Edel McMahon which marks the location of the produce the diner has enjoyed. 

Diners have a wide choice of wines that can be carefully chosen with the help of the in-house Sommelier, Martin Fernand.  Aniar 2.0  offers a Classic Drinks Pairing menu for €85 per person, a Juice Pairing menu for €48,  an Irish Drinks Pairing menu at €80 and a Prestige Wine Pairing for €160 per person. 

Aniar 2.0 is located at 53 Dominick St Lower, Galway, H91 XH52 For more information see www.aniarrestaurant.ie Keep up to date with the latest news by following Aniar on social at @aniargalway and JP McMahon at @mistereatgalway

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