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Ard Bia the Gaelic of High Food could not be mor September 4, 2013
Reviewer: Good Food Ireland from Republic of Ireland  
Ard Bia  the Gaelic of High Food  could not be more aptly named as Aoibheann s energetic enthusiasm and commitment to quality are evident throughout  and her passionate use of local and artisan produce has really put this atmospheric restaurant and cafe  on the food lovers map

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Cookbook of the month: Atrium were happy to allow October 22, 2012
Reviewer: Irish Examiner from Republic of Ireland  
Cookbook of the month: Atrium were  happy to allow the Galway based Ard  Bia crew design and produce and the  end result is an exquisite production in  keeping with the publisher s usual high  standards. Refreshingly  there isn t a  single clear shot of any of the principals  to be found throughout  each face  hidden behind a piece of ware; the  restaurant is very much the star here.  Using several photographers could have  been hazardous but the whole shebang  is unified very nicely by Eimearjean  McCormack s illustrations and a  coherent overall design.  The recipes   decluttered  for the  homecook  are very straightforward and  sound  a heartfelt emphasis on fresh  and seasonal  regular and interesting  little twists. However  the range is  eclectic. Best trick is distilling the  unique essence of Ard Bia s oasis spirit  onto the printed page.

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In his foreword to the Ard Bia Cookbook travel wr September 13, 2012
Reviewer: Georgina Campbell from Republic of Ireland  
In his foreword to the Ard Bia Cookbook  travel writer Manch n Magan ponders   If Druid is the mind of Galway  Salthill its lungs and Tigh Neachtain s its kidneys  might Ard Bia be its soul?      It s a good question. Certainly many people would think of this delightful spot as the city s heart  both for its lovely waterside location in one of the city s oldest  most characterful and historically interesting buildings right beside Spanish Arch   and for the extraordinary cosmopolitan mix of influences and talents that owner Aoibheann Mac Namara has brought to this atmospheric place. Although originally from Co Donegal and with vibrant connections in Europe  including an art gallery in Berlin  Aoibheann is very much an honorary Galwegian and has thrown herself into the life and culture of the city with great style.     But perhaps Ard Bia is more like a room in a house and  if so  it would have to be the cosy and welcoming kitchen of an Irish cottage  with its apparently artless eye appeal and aromas of wonderfully wholesome food promising comfort and conviviality   food for the body and soul  in equal measure.     Whatever the verdict  Ard Bia is certainly one of Galway s best loved restaurants and a beautiful book to celebrate its tenth anniversary is very welcome. Publisher Mike Collins of Cork University Press has earned a reputation for outstanding Irish interest books  notably in the food area  and this is another one with all the hallmarks of quality production.     A handsome book that s as much a pleasure to handle as it is to read  it s clearly special   and the team behind it is awesome  including not only Aoibheann herself and her talented restaurant team  but also the highly regarded food writer Aoife Carrigy and a whole rake of other special contributors from Ireland and abroad.     The formidable line up ranges from photographer James Fennell   widely known for his poignant  Vanishing Ireland  books  with historian Turtle Bunbury   several other photographers and artists and a diverse collection of related talents covering design  art direction  food styling and editing as well as hands on food contributions including recipe creation and cooking  of course  but also less likely examples like wild food foraging.     Yet  impressive as all that may be  the real value of the Ard Bia Cookbook lies in its versatility  practicality and the creativity with which it celebrates the wonderful produce of the Galway region. Accurately flagged as  A unique family friendly cookbook  a source of inspiration for modern healthy living  a keepsake for loyal fans of the restaurant  a memento for visitors to Galway  a celebration of the enduring energy of Ard Bia and all involved in it   it s quirky and stimulating   but  like the restaurant itself  never at the cost of the real business of the day: good cooking.     The main chapters capture the mood and foods of Ard Bia at different times of day   Morning  Lunchtime  Afternoon  Evening and After Dinner   but a very substantial amount of space  perhaps a third of the book  is given over to a series of Pantry sections and this  with its attention to basics and  All the little touches that transform food from good to great   is my favourite part of the book...     Here you will learn   or be reminded of   all the little things that lift apparently simple restaurant dishes into the  special  category: herbs  spices  seasonings; flavoured butters  sauces; the foraging year; many rewarding ways of preserving fruits and vegetables; important basics that are all too often side stepped by shortcut cooks  including stocks and baking techniques...     Whether it s used as a beginner s manual or a handy reference for the experienced cook  the Pantry is the engine room of the Ard Bia cookbook and the reason why   even in the unlikely situation that the main recipe section should never be used at all   it s sure to become a well thumbed favourite in any kitchen lucky enough to have it on the bookshelf.

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A few years ago I was in Galway city for the first September 5, 2012
Reviewer: edible Ireland from Republic of Ireland  
A few years ago I was in Galway city for the first time  giving a talk with a typesetter friend about the freelance side of the publishing industry to the masters students at the university there. We got to Galway later than we d expected and didn t have time to go searching for lunch before our talk  so we just popped across the road from our hotel to Ard Bia   even though we had dinner reservations there too.  See you again in a few hours   we laughed as we paid our bill. And since we were on to such a good thing and had enjoyed lunch and dinner so much  we went back for breakfast the next morning too. By then Aoibheann  the owner  recognised us and was calling us  darling   as she s famous for doing.     The introduction beautifully sums up their philosophy:  At Ard Bia we love our food and know that cooking for others is about more than just feeding  that eating out is about more than just the singular act of eating   A restaurant  a caf   a bar  a shop  any public house all have at their core a community. And at the heart of all community is   food for the soul.  It s the kind of restaurant you wish every town was lucky enough to have.     For the past 10 years the restaurant has been located in the old Nimmo s building at the Spanish Arch  its back right up against the river. In previous lives the building was used as a customs house  a mechanic s  a sausage factory  a printing studio  a boathouse  an art gallery and an antiques shop  but when you walk through the restaurant s bright red door  it feels as if Ard Bia has been there forever. All that history  added to Ard Bia s own brand of charm  with their enamel teapots  mismatched chairs and  coffee pots stuffed with Connemara flowers   make it a special place   part of the city s fabric .     The restaurant s charm is captured in the new Ard Bia Cookbook  with Eimerjean McCormack s delicate watercolour illustrations throughout  plenty of polka dot enamelware and every portrait of a person showing them holding something   a watering can  a plate  a lamp   in front of their face  as on the front cover.         The book follows a day in Ard Bia  much like the three meals I ate there in 24 hours   from breakfast  brunch and lunch through to afternoon treats  dinner  desserts and cheese  finishing with some pantry staples. Recipes I can t wait to try are dillisk scones with cheddar cheese; Patrick s burgers  with chorizo  anchovies and coriander ; mussels with harissa  chorizo and orange; torn lamb shoulder with sumac  pomegranate and Jerusalem artichoke pur e; grilled mackerel with seafood tagine and labneh; almond and chocolate cake  which apparently has developed something of a cult following in the west; and the very intriguing sounding rose salt. The book is sure to be a hit with the restaurant s regulars as well as anyone with a love of good cooking. This is food with so much flavour it leaps off the page  let alone the plate.     I still go out to Galway once a year to give my freelancing talk and I still have a meal in Ard Bia every time. Now that they ve written a cookbook  I can have a taste of one of my favourite Galway places at home.

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Ard Bia at Nimmo s is a small grey stone building September 5, 2012
Reviewer: Bibliocook from Republic of Ireland  
Ard Bia at Nimmo s is a small grey stone building  settled stolidly by Galway s Spanish Arch.  So far  so unprepossessing. But step inside that jaunty red door and you arrive in a rambling  welcoming space of light and warmth. I ve always loved the juxtaposition  particularly on a miserable day  between the impassive outside and the bustling but relaxed atmosphere of the cafe/restaurant.     The Ard Bia Cookbook does something similar. There s no food on the cover  no colourful line up of the people working there; instead it s a more ambiguous portrait of a staff member  holding a large flower filled vase where his/her face should be.  More pictures in a similar vein are scattered throughout the book  my favourite is the man lying on the ground  clad only in an apron and surrounded by old china plates  and they re an ideal example of owner Aoibheann Mac Namara s quirky aesthetic that runs through the Ard Bia decor and food.     Written by Mac Namara with food journalist Aoife Carrigy  this showcases not only the recipes of Ard Bia but also the suppliers who are named throughout and listed at the back  including Murphy s Ice Cream  Galway Free Range Eggs and Burren Smokehouse.     The cookbook is a snapshot of day at Ard Bia  from breakfast  Burren Brunch  Granola  to after dinner treats  Lemon Posset  Winterberry and Ginger Pudding   with a chunk devoted to pantry recipes and information. You can choose to recreate an Ard Bia lunchtime in your own kitchen with Masoor Dahl  recommended  even if you have to substitute split yellow peas for the lentils  and Minted Yoghurt or Patrick s chorizo  and anchovy flecked big meaty burgers or delve into the pantry section: check out Rose Salt and Fruit Butters  hot pepper dip Muhumara or tips on foraging and preserving.     This is a very handsome book  dotted with beautiful illustrations by Eimearjean McCormack  the faceless portraits and photos that capture Ard Bia in all it s red teapot ed  china cupped glory. For fans of the place  it will be a joy; for others  a lovely introduction.     Must try: Smoked Paprika and Orange Oil  Buttermilk and Poppy Seed Pancakes   Juniper Cured Sea Trout with Bergamot Barley Risotto

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Ireland has long had some of the best raw ingredi September 5, 2012
Reviewer: Discover Ireland from Republic of Ireland  
Ireland has long had some of the best raw ingredients in the world  says Aoife Carrigy. As a food writer and co author of the new Ard Bia Cookbook  this is one lady who knows what she s talking about. She shares her love affair with Irish food and a smoked trout recipe flavoured by the Burren.        Living on a small green island with an abundance of rain to keep the land fertile and the seas awash with pristine fish has always had its benefits. We Irish take grass fed beef for granted  we nonchalantly export seafood that has the rest of the world salivating  we wonder why no one else can make butter quite as well as we can. But lately we ve been waking up to just how lucky we really are.     One of the joys of embarking on any kind of food adventure in Ireland is that while we still have those wonderful raw ingredients to work with  we also have more and more world class artisan food producers to call our own. These people are taking those excellent ingredients and adding their own magic. The revolution in Irish farmhouse cheese making   which was born in the late 1980s  struggled with growing pains in the 1990s  and came of age in the more recent noughties   bravely lead the way for experimentation in other areas.     When I began to write about food full time just seven years ago  I couldn t have imagined that the likes of McGeough s air dried lamb or Goatsbridge trout caviar or Highbank Orchard apple syrup would soon become typical Irish produce. Today these take pride of place alongside traditional treats of old fashioned fresh blood black puddings  cold smoked salmon and unfiltered farmhouse honey. These  innovations have been inspired by looking beyond our home grown traditions and borrowing the best bits from other cultures. We live in a global village where local food cultures no longer exist as isolated outposts but as dynamic hubs. Looking outwards helps us appreciate what we have to play with on our doorsteps.            And so  on the cusp of its 10th birthday  when restaurateur Aoibheann MacNamara of Ard Bia at Nimmos asked me to help capture her Galway restaurant in a cookbook  I jumped at the opportunity. The community of food lovers that make up Ard Bia s staff and customers revel in the accessibility of brilliant produce from Galway and its neighbouring counties as much as they relish using exotic touches inspired by travels to India or the Middle East.            Think Juniper cured sea trout with bergamot barley risotto  or Galway mussels cooked with Gubbeen chorizo  homemade harissa and orange. Dillisk scones studded with Mount Callan cheddar cheese  or buttermilk and poppy seed pancakes drizzled with Highbank Orchard syrup. Hot whiskeys flavoured with foraged rosehip cordial  or elderflower prosecco.     This is the kind of modern Irish cooking I want to have eating out and cooking at home. These recipes sum up just how spoilt we are today  when we can play pick n mix with exciting new flavours  foreign techniques  traditional know how and our home grown bounty.     When we have produce this good at our disposal  we can do as little or as much as we feel like to dress it up and transform it.     Sometimes it is enough to saut  some spuds with some smoked trout and serve it with fresh leaves and a burst of sunshine in the way of some lemon aioli. It s my recommendation   and recipe   for today anyway.

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This book represents a day in the life of Ard Bia August 27, 2012
Reviewer: Irish Independent from Republic of Ireland  
This book represents a day in the life of Ard Bia  the innovative restaurant overlooking Galway city s Claddagh.    Restaurateur and entrepreneur Aoibheann MacNamara has combined forces with food writer Aoife Carrigy to pen this family friendly cookbook.    The book is both a source of inspiration for modern healthy living and also a keepsake for the restaurant s many loyal fans.    Try these recipes to enjoy some fresh ideas and flavour combinations plus new takes on old techniques.

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The word lovely comes up over and over again in th August 24, 2012
Reviewer: Darina Allen Irish Examiner from Republic of Ireland  
The word lovely comes up over and over again in the Ard Bia cookbook. Lovely extras to serve with cheese or lovely extra to serve with the perfect steak. Perfect poached egg and lovely extras  it s got a comforting homely ring to it which I love   in fact I really loved a lot about the new Ard Bia cookbook. The zany photos  the clean layout and design  the line drawings  and the eclectic collection of Ard Bia classics that so many of Aoibheann Mac Namara s loyal fans will love to have. Yet  I doubt it will keep them at home  they ll still want to go to Ard Bia one of Galway s most enduring and best loved restaurants.    The cookbook represents a day in the life of Ard Bia  favourite breakfast  lunch  mid afternoon snacks  supper and dinner dishes. The book also includes some thoughts on a cheese course   the secret of some of Ard Bia s much hankered after juices and finally the Pantry section. I particularly loved these chapters  there are 4  with herb sugars  pickles  vinaigrettes  a variety of hummus  chutneys  relishes  pickles  cordials  jellies and some thoughts on foraging.    I only ate once at Nimmos but I have never forgotten the beautifully simple but truly lovely food  a celebration of fresh local produce  spiced up with imagination and a sure hand.

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I had heard a while back there was an Ard Bia cook August 24, 2012
Reviewer: Galway Advertiser from Republic of Ireland  
I had heard a while back there was an Ard Bia cookbook in the pipeline. I had even debated it with a restaurateur friend of mine.  It s too expensive  I think it s mad. You can get cookbooks from big names for half that price   I said.  You can get a lot of rubbish cookbooks for half that price   he replied.  If it s a lovely book as well as a good cookbook  it s well worth the extra money.  Now  here are the most painful words I may ever have to write  Aran McMahon  you were right and I was wrong. It is not too expensive  it is worth every penny and more.     The book takes you on a culinary journey through the day   from morning to lunchtime  afternoon  and evening  and then on to a set of useful pantry notes. If you eat in Ard Bia now and again  you will recognise some of these recipes   the full fry and the Berlin platter  the lunchtime salads  soups  and stews  the bakes from the table inside the little front door. A thick section which waltzes you through the starters and mezze  fish  meat  and vegetarian and something for afterwards to keep you at the table a little longer than you really meant to stay   it is what they are really good at.     Aoibheann MacNamara has teamed up with food writer Aoife Carrigy to capture the essence of Ard Bia of Nimmo s. In my opinion Ard Bia really only got soul when it moved into Nimmo s  but when it did it really found its spiritual home. It is food with inspiration from around the world but is ultimately grounded in Irish produce and seasonal ingredients. It is never a chore to eat here either  no one will ever smother your food in a mist or a foam or a nonsense   you will only ever be in danger of being smothered with love.     For the cookbook lovers out there this one is a keeper. I will be filing it in my collection alongside the Drimcong Food Affair under the  bit of Galway food history  section. The paper is the yummy un coated kind  the little drawings are quirky  and the photos with the vintage props will cause terrible crockery envy. Even the typeface is one of my favourites. This is more than a collection of recipes  it is a memento and a keepsake  something precious and special. A snapshot of a time and a place in Galway that captures the energy and spirit of the place that is Ard Bia.

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I want to talk about a completely charming cookboo August 24, 2012
Reviewer: Kevin Ashton WannabeTVChef from Republic of Ireland  
I want to talk about a completely charming cookbook named Ard Bia. The name means  high food  and is the name of a quirky  eclectic restaurant in Galway which mixes the best of local Irish produce with influences from much further afield  such as Turkey and the Middle East.    The book is organised in an unusual way  taking the reader through a day in the restaurant  from  breakfast  brunches and breads  to after dinner treats. The final chapter is devoted to the  pantry  which turns out to be an important element of the book. More than just a collection of basic techniques it s an overflow of information from the previous chapters which ties the whole book together nicely.    Unlike many cookery books linked with a particular restaurant  Ard Bia isn t intimidating. The recipes are interesting but approachable  with lots of tips and alternative suggestions. They range from the sophisticated Poached Langoustines with Samphire to the homely Niamh s Mam s Chicken  Carrot and Sweet Potato Stew.    The book has a calm  uncluttered style  with plenty of white space on the page. The illustrations are a mix of photographs  several being of the people behind the book  and charming line drawings. Even the photographs of the authors offer a modesty and charm that leave the reader intrigued.    I think the beauty of this book is it leaves the reader with a desire to travel to the restaurant and connect with its authors  experiencing Ard Bia for yourself.    And perhaps if you re organised  you might remember to take along your copy of the book for them to autograph  giving you a lasting keepsake of your trip to Galway.

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