Loam has only been open a year but it has had the start that all businesses dream of – rave reviews and a Michelin star have been just two of the highlights. Sandra Coffey speaks to Enda McEvoy of Loam
Husband and wife team Enda and Sinead McEvoy took a brave step last year and set up Loam in a Galway City location that’s not traditionally known for its restaurants. But it’s been a dream year, one where they have received great reviews and to top it off were awarded a Michelin star in September. Their brave decision is beginning to pay off for the couple.
Loam, located at Geata na Cathrach at Fairgreen, employs seven people. Head chef and owner Enda McEvoy says, “It has been a fantastic year. We have a lot of regulars who have stuck with us. That is the backbone of our business.”
Loam prides itself on its seasonality. Another plus point is the restaurant tries “as much as possible to be consistent with what we offer. That is what has stood to us”, says Mr McEvoy.
The premises is a glass fronted one located between the Coach Station and the Radisson, just off Eyre Square. Mr McEvoy admits that the location hasn’t made things easy for them, “We are in an area outside the traditional restaurant area in the city. We have had quiet periods.”
He explains why they chose that location, “Price was key. When we started looking, prices in the main traditional areas are quite astronomical and it didn’t make sense to us. We had to be in a position to build a strong business.
“We were looking at some non-traditional spaces and this space came up. We had a look and it seemed to make sense.”
The size of the premises is something they have used to their advantage. “We have more than one revenue stream in the building. We have the wine bar that has dining and also the restaurant. We can take big tables and small intimate tables.” In the wine bar, people can enjoy a meat or cheese platter with their drink. “It is a way of seeing if they will like the place without the commitment. People don’t have to come in for a big meal. They can get a feel for the place that way,” he explains.
It has been an action packed year for the restaurant, which serves creative yet simple cuisine using the best of what the land can provide. The team at Loam describe themselves as “obsessively seasonal”, working very closely with local farmers and producers to get the products they need to reflect and capture the feeling and magic of the West of Ireland.
“Getting through the first year is a high. We are so grateful to our regulars who are sticking with us from the start. Getting open was a highlight as we had a lot of hoops to jump through to get it open. It was listed as retail and we had to go through a cumbersome process but we got there in the end,” explains Mr McEvoy.
Last weekend, the restaurant had a party for suppliers and local businesses in the area. Mr McEvoy says, “We never got a chance to meet with any of our neighbours as we were so busy with the opening. It was a chance for us to say thanks to all neighbours and to those who have recommended us. There is a lovely community feel up here so we wanted to get to know people better.”
One of the highlights of dining at Loam is that the menu changes every day. “We are constantly evolving with new things. Our main goal is not to repeat ourselves. We won’t repeat dishes as the seasons go by. Our aim is to build a solid business and be a good addition to Galway’s attractions.”
Winning a prestigious Michelin star has been a major addition for their first year. Mr McEvoy says Galway is fast catching up to Dublin on this score.
Loam’s simplistic Scandinavian inspired interior lends to a very relaxing dining experience. Ahead of the festive season, Loam is putting their own twist on the office Christmas party and will cater for groups from 6 to 60 people.
For any post or pre shopping tipples, the wine bar at Loam is a real treat with the wine list showcasing mostly organic, biodynamic wines all from small family run vineyards. Bar nibbles and small plates of local and house made charcuterie, cheeses, pickles and snacks are also served, making Loam a great stop off on route to the Galway Continental Christmas Market.
Loam Wine Bar is open from 4pm to midnight with the restaurant open from 6pm to 10pm. To book a table or for more information call Loam on 091-569727, check out www.loamgalway.com or follow Loam on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.