Galway is a Mecca for foodies: it has its own farmers market and a huge selection of cafes and restaurants. I found Caribou on Galway’s Woodquay by chance while meandering and it stopped me in my tracks.
Trust Your Foodie Instinct
I have an instinctive, almost primal relationship with food. Whether it’s cooking something from scratch or getting a gut feeling for an outstanding place to eat, I seem to hit the jackpot, at least most of the time. And I am not boasting here, I am just narrating events from an empirical point of view – if I were to collect all the data and put in on a spreadsheet, I guess my foodie instinct is right 80% of the time.
Case in point: Caribou in Galway’s Woodquay where I had a breakfast burger and truffled chips. I rest my case!
Trust your foodie instinct if you are on the lookout for a great place to eat. Observe what other people around you are doing. As you walk through a new area, let the mood take you. Sometimes it pays off to do the opposite of what other people do!
Caribou Bar in Galway
First impressions were of a friendly and relaxed environment, with black and green as the main colour theme. For some reason, the black ceiling made the whole place look more inviting and intimate. People were chatting and laughing at the tables nearby and you could see that it is a favourite with the locals.
I was on the market, so to speak, for a pulled pork sandwich and, after looking at the menu (and fangirling over Caribou’s mouth-watering social media posts) I went for the breakfast burger.
I am not sure whether doing your homework beforehand is a mark of being a foodie or maybe it’s just a sign of being overly keen on food and eating. Whichever way we look at it, going into a food venue prepared saves you those agonising first 5-10 minutes of scanning through the menu while your servers waits for you to make your mind up.
One funny thing about waiters is that they are all over you in the first five minutes of your arrival, then they catch you with your mouth full to ask if everything is alright, then, when you need to order drinks refills or a dessert, or simply want to ask for the bill, they are nowhere to be found.
Thankfully, when I needed another drink I was served promptly.
Anatomy of the Caribou Breakfast Burger
I was in awe of Caribou’s Instagram story chronicling how they build a breakfast burger.
First of all, it’s the attention to detail and the care in choosing the right ingredients. The burger patties are made with pork mince and salt beef brisket, and flavoured with stout.
The breakfast burger is like a small tower block and a taste of the full Irish breakfast within itself. The chef didn’t just add bacon, but made bacon jam and lovingly spread it on the burger bun. Then there’s the fried egg, homemade chutney and the sriracha sauce.
To top it all, the burger is adorned with a black pudding fritter (or shall we call it deep fried bonbon like on Masterchef?). Nibbling on that crispy croquette exterior to reveal a tasty filling was heavenly. All the flavours packed a punch thanks to the sriracha spicy sauce, which elevated all the ingredients to a new level.
The one downside of this burger is that it’s only available at the weekend.
Pairing the Burger with Ale
I asked the barman to recommend a good, independent, local ale. His suggestion was to try the Trespass Farmhouse Ale (7.5% alcohol) from Eight Degrees Brewery. It’s a dark ale infused with blackberries from Ballyhoura mountains: it is quite sour at first, which helped to cut through the meat-heavy meal. Then, it develops into sweet and bitter flavours. This ale is the result of a collaboration between Cork-based Eight Degrees Brewery and California-based Jamil Zainasheff of Heretic Brewing. It’s zesty and aromatic, with added complexity from 13-month ageing in Burgundy Pinot noir and Chardonnay wine barrels. The Trespass Farmhouse was launched in November 2018 in a limited draught.
When I finished my meal, I ordered a coffee stout as I saw it on their display board. It’s called Beavertown x Cavan ‘Spresso Imperial Espresso Stout (9% alcohol). All the goodness of coffee and stout rolled into one.