Michelin Guide for UK and Ireland 2024 was announced March, 27th and marks the awarding of the tenth much-coveted star to Galway’s Aniar restaurant by JP McMahon.
Located in Galway’s West End, Aniar, which is the Irish for ‘of the west’, was awarded its first Michelin star in 2013 which it has retained every year since. While recent years saw the closing of many restaurants, Aniar has been flying the flag for Galway at a level destined only for the very best dining experience.
A ‘terroir’ restaurant, Aniar’s menu showcases west of Ireland ingredients, drawing inspiration from the Aran Islands off the west coast of Ireland. All of the ingredients used in the kitchen bar two, white flour and sugar, are from Ireland with most of them sourced from the west of the country. Traditional techniques of salting, pickling, curing and fermentation reflect the kitchen’s pursuit of innovation. Seaweed foraged off the coast of County Galway plays a major role in the dishes.
To be this proud of local ingredients and dedicated to retaining the purest form of homage to the west of Ireland, takes bravery few would undertake.
JP McMahon, says “We opened Aniar in 2011 and we were awarded our first star less than two years later. While the restaurant has evolved and the foodscape in Galway has unfolded, we have been consistent in providing the very best experience for our diners while remembering what the core of Aniar is, that is, to showcase the terroir of the west of Ireland. The Michelin star has helped us to showcase what we do to an international audience. It is a global sign of best practice and we are delighted to retain it for another year”.
Aniar began as a project to explore the possibilities of the Irish larder; to make sense of them and attempt to produce a new Irish cuisine. The restaurant’s twelve-year journey to date has seen many Irish and international culinary stars, participate in Chef Swap at Aniar, where prestigious chefs not only cook and collaborate with JP but also visit local producers and experience the very best of Irish produce.
Anair has also played host to many famous faces including Tilda Swindon, John Banville, Paul Muldoon, Martin McDonagh and many more.
In 2020 JP published a book “The Irish Cookbook” a beautiful hardback book showcasing the past, present and future of Irish cooking. In March of this year, he launched a companion piece titled “An Alphabet of Aniar: Notes for a New Irish Cuisine”. JP McMahon describes An Alphabet of Aniar: Notes for a New Irish Cuisine as a true labour of love, saying, “This book celebrates the last twelve years of Aniar. It highlights the adventures of Irish food in the restaurant as well as demonstrates the ways in which it has showcased wild and foraged food, and old techniques of preservation, and connected the restaurant to the history of food on the island of Ireland. Aniar has developed a base for future investigations of New Irish Cuisine for another generation of chefs, producers, and restaurateurs. This book offers insights, stories and recipes that demonstrate the depth of Irish food culture in the 21st century.”
The restaurant’s evolution has also given rise to The Aniar Cookery School which offers cooking courses for adults and children. The cooking classes and courses are booked out well in advance proving the popularity.
Perhaps one of the most powerful influences Aniar restaurant has had on a national and an international stage is that it was the inspiration for JP’s award-winning, thought leadership event – Food On The Edge. Food On The Edge is a two-day event which has become a firm fixture on the international food scene and attracts international media and delegates from around the world who come to hear the world’s best and most provocative thought leaders in the food scene globally and nationally.
JP says, “Food on the Edge grew out of my travels and interaction with many world renowned Michelin-starred chefs. It has since grown into a global community that cares deeply about food.”
As the restaurant celebrates its tenth Michelin star Aniar also celebrates the impact one restaurant can have on a global level influencing, and influenced by, progressive, conscious chefs and, in turn, how we eat their food.
Keep up to date with the latest news by following Aniar on Instagram and Facebook at @aniarrestaurant, and on Twitter @aniargalway.