June 19th, 2011 combined Father’s Day with a visit to the Gaeltacht to take our daughter out for the day. Knowing that all the students at Coláistí west of Galway would be receiving visits from their parents, and lunches with Daddy, I decided to plan ahead and I reserved a table at Cava. This restaurant was recommended to me some time ago by a cousin. An open request, on Twitter, for suggestions on where to eat in Galway also came up with this place.
Shabby chic is the style of the restaurant. Naked tables, light chairs, brick walls – you get the picture. We were shown to our table and we browsed the menu for some time. My daughter and her boyfriend decided to have meatballs and we ordered mussels, chicken livers, quail and patatas bravas, all from the hot tapas section of the menu. While we waited we were supplied with a plate of soft, sweet bread which was yellow in colour and similar to brioche. We were also given a carafe of iced water with slices of lemon and orange and a herb (perhaps lemon balm?) submerged in it.
Having recently grazed on excellent tapas in Ochos in Ranelagh we were primed for a good experience. Alas! we were sorely disappointed. The mussels were dull in flavour and lacked succulence. The meatballs were nice and the sauce was tasty, but the teenagers had comandeered these for themselves and we weren’t really offered any more than a nibble for tasting purposes. The quail came with a very tasty sauce but the little legs with which we were served were tough and chewy. The patatas bravas were soft. Although we allowed ample time, the chicken liver dish never appeared. We decided not to chase it up as we were already tired of the place.
We dined at two o’clock and the place wasn’t busy. There were at least three staff members on the floor. During all our time there the nearby vacated tables were not cleared of used dishes or glassware. Other tables that had been cleared of dishes hadn’t been wiped down. All in all we had a poor experience at Cava and I certainly couldn’t recommend it to anyone.
Finally, in their favour, because the kitchen was running out of meatballs they didn’t have enough to make two portions (they were short one ball!) they told us they would serve two smaller portions and only charge for one.