Over 2 years ago, I was dragged into McCambridges deli and food shop by my very excited Galway-born boyfriend to pick up some of his favourite food. He had raved about their paté, their rashers and their selection of cheese from nearly the day I met him, and that day was to be my introduction to one of my favourite shops in Ireland.
On my return home in 2012 and our first visit back to Galway that summer, we immediately went to their newly opened restaurant above the shop, aptly named Upstairs @ McCambridges. Every visit to Galway since then, we have always made it our business to go there for Saturday lunch or, at least, for a slice of cake and cup of coffee.
On our visit to Galway two weekends ago for the first time since July, I was delighted to see that there had been some new additions to the menu. I ordered the Whole Prawns in a Hazelnut, Sesame & Sumac Sauce which was served with salad & crusty bread while the Galway guy ordered the Buffalo Chicken Wings from the daily specials and a side of Sweet Potato Fries.
When my prawns arrived on the table, I immediately loved the look of my dish and after de-shelling my first prawn (am I the only one who loves this?) and dipping it in the sauce, there was no hope I would share a morsel of this dish with himself. The prawns and sauce were the type of food I would love to be able to produce in my own kitchen. I normally skip on side salads but the dressing on these leaves kept me coming back for more. He meanwhile declared his chicken wings “amazing”, a sentiment I thoroughly agree with. The side of Sweet Potato Fries are already a firm favourite of mine on the menu, and this bowl of crispy and perfectly seasoned fries confirmed that.
Why do we keep going back? Because the food is amazing, the customer service is top level and it’s a very affordable treat on a weekend away. Normally the guts of €30 gets us 2 mains, a side, 2 coffees/ teas and maybe a dessert to share, depending on what we ordered.
There are downsides, of course, to this wonderful restaurant. During busier times, you will be queueing on the stairs for a table and sometimes you can wait 20 minutes for a table. However I assure you, it will be worth it.
Upstairs @ McCambridges
Shop Street, Galway City