Brought to you by a team who know a lot about what makes people happy, Biteclub Streetfood Discotheque is the new eatery in Electric Garden. John Leo Gillen is from the second generation of one of the people who brought us CP’s nightclub and Brannagan’s Restaurant, ultra popular eatery in the 90′s serving up kangaroo and ostrich when novelty meat was the fashion. The gentleman behind the food has spend decades also in the people pleasing business. Padraic O’Connor, aka Padraic Disconaut has been instrumental in the club scene in Galway and beyond for decades. A bon viveur with a penchant for facial topiary, many have spent lost weekends in his company. While many soldiers have fallen, their dancing and carousing replaced by sensible hours, children and mortgages, but ever the Peter Pan, the party is not over for Padraic. After training on the other side of the kitchen door in some of Galway’s trendiest kitchens and cooking along side Brian Broderick, fresh from the kitchen at Kai, the stars have aligned to bring Biteclub to life.
Biteclub is restaurant and bar culture united in quite a magical way. This is a very happy marriage of two of the most popular food trends. The new breed of trendy pop-up style restaurants like ‘Crackbird’ in Dublin or ‘Canteen’ in Limerick, and ‘food truck’ cuisine, elevated street food made popular by such purveyors as ‘The Dough Bros’ artisan wood fired pizza.
The decor is ‘shanty town glam’ in a room without a roof (you may clap along or not). From an unpromising entrance, follow the light up the stairs where the garden terrace has been transformed with swathes of fabric, twinkling lights, terracota potted palms into an outdoor oasis. There is a full bar here, but also some beautifully presented cocktails and slushies. Pretty ‘Moonshine Punch’ comes by the jug or by the jar. They have good coffee or you could upgrade it to an espresso martini. The weekly ‘Spiked Lushie’ special churn away in good old fashioned ‘Slush Puppy’ style, so expect frozen margaritas or sangria daquiris.
The food at Biteclub is inexpensive, nicely spiced and dangerously delicious. The short menu offers towering ‘Beef Patty LaBelle’ burgers, the ‘Pork Disconaut’ a slow cooked shoulder of Heteriche’s pork, lightly pickled cabbage slaw, a sprinkling of leaves and herbs with hot sauce all in a soft bun with crisp crackling on top. ‘Ike & Tina Taco’s, are available either married or divorced. There is a pizza oven, at the time of writing yet to be commissioned. Their sides of courgette and feta fritters are addictive and there is a new contender for the best fries in town. Everything comes in brightly colored, cheap and cheerful plastic trays. Jam jars with tea lights adorn the tables and wooden cutlery sits in utilitarian tin cans. The shabby chic style of furniture makes it a perfect place to let kids loose too, there is really nothing for them to break. There is no dessert menu, which is good for we have over-ordered. The spiked lushie special, a sweet, white peach sangria, with a proper kick, finishes the feast beautifully.
Their brunch menu runs from 2pm until 5pm on Sundays with menu items such as spicy chorizo beans and baked eggs and BLT with Herteriche’s smoked bacon (extra points for shopping local, lads). The smell from the grill and the festival food vibe sparks nostalgia and memories of Summers past. Although the space is covered and has heating, the weather has so far been in their favor. This too is the sort of place where memories are made, Biteclub could very well be the definition of Summer 2014 for a generation.
A casual environment, good, simple food with relaxed hipster style service. What could have been an over-thought cool concept is in fact a happy place. An atmosphere is the one thing that can’t be manufactured in a restaurant, it either has it or not. Biteclub has it in spades. Whatever fairy dust has been sprinkled here is working. Nice setting, staff, food, drinks, music and dancing. There are reasons to rejoice, it’s pop-cuisine at its finest.
First published in The Galway Advertiser , Thursday 26th June 2014.