We had been looking forward to trying Aniar having read rave reviews in the papers, and indeed on here. The recognition by the Michelin judges further bolstered our eagerness to visit. On a weekend trip to Galway, we were delighted to be offered a table at the last minute following a late cancellation.
On entering Aniar on a wet, winter's evening - so typical of Galway - I was a little perturbed by having to step over other customers' coats draped over their chairs, due to the apparent lack of a cloakroom, or even a simple coat-stand. However, we let this go, as I suppose it is in keeping with the laid-back atmosphere they seem so keen to evoke. We were careful to tuck away our coats to avoid them being trampled on, and took our seats. Beside the open kitchen.
What followed was simply inexcusable. A barrage of abuse from a seemingly over-stressed, ill-mannered, foul-mouthed head chef aimed at one of the waiters (who was, as it happens, extremely polite and obliging to the customers) went on sporadically for an all too extended period. All paying customers appeared to be perturbed by the torrent of foul language emanating from the "hub" of the restaurant. Not so much as an excuse was offered by either waiting staff or kitchen staff. I even went so far as to offer our waiter an opportunity to excuse/explain/dismiss the behaviour of their much celebrated chef, but I was made feel like I was the one in the wrong (dismissed with a remark pertaining to the chef being a "busy man" and "things like that are to be expected"). I'm sorry, but they very much are not.
We probably should have left at this point, however, the waiting staff did redeem themselves (and their nonchalant kitchen staff) by being polite, attentive and enthusiastic. We opted for the tasting menu with paired wines; both were excellent, well matched together, and generously proportioned. I will admit that the ham neck I did not enjoy as I found the beetroot coming through in the jus a touch overpowering; however, that is probably as much down to my own palate as anything. The food, overall, was really excellent. The dessert of what could best be described as a deconstructed baked alaska was not to my taste either, but then again I'm not really a dessert fan.
We left suitably satisfied by the gastronomic experience, but bitterly disappointed by the arrogance of the management. If you're reading, here's a suggestion: put a door on the kitchen, and let your chef know that he's not infallible. Michelin star standard? I think not.
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