Christine Coakelin has had a passion for catering from a young age. Since her first job as a kitchen porter, nearly twenty years ago, she has climbed the ladder, working in every aspect of the catering sector, from housekeeping to chefing assistant, from waiting tables to being the owner and Managing Director of Tamarind Restaurant Galway which has recently reopened in Salthill.
While Christine liked Tamarind’s previous location at the Spanish Arch she was extremely excited about starting fresh in a premise that she considered a blank canvas, giving her the opportunity to design it as she pleased.
As a hobby she loves to paint and this creative side is obvious in her choice of vibrant colours. Interior designer Deirdre O’Donnell helped Christine as she had the experience to develop on the concept Christine was after and sought out materials that would fit this idea. The main influence for Christine came from when she visited the Palace Hotel in Krakow Poland many years ago and fell in love with their use of green and pink. She incorporated these into her logo and design. As the budget was very tight she knew that keeping up with the Jones’ was not an option and there wouldn’t be any designer labels.
Centrally located the new Tamarind location exuded potential on the bright sunny sidewalk in Salthill. Christine’s chosen theme of pink green and black complemented the location admirably. Attention to detail was at the forefront of the design and so everything in Tamarind Salthill was handpicked for a particular function. Priority was with combining good quality, a consistent theme while remaining on a tight budget and so many of the design elements came second hand. Christine proved that beauty and attention to detail in interior design can be found at a very low cost if you know where to look and see the potential in each and every item. Everything was stripped down, sprayed, repainted, refurbished and so took on a very unique Tamarind authenticity.
The lamp features were hand-painted by Christine and her staff, as was the bar, the shelving, the balcony decking, it was a close-knit affair. It was like a family put the restaurant together, some of the wait staff found a new calling in wallpapering, painting and even sanding. Everyone was very excited to get the restaurant open and it literally happened overnight.
Christine had created a scrapbook over the years of her favourite places and with this in mind her idea developed, evolved and now has become three dimensional. Every little thing in the restaurant is purposely placed, the collection of antique Buddha ornaments which Christine collected herself, the photos on the wall, the ornaments on and around the bar, all have a special meaning. Other design elements were sourced locally. B&Q and Next provided the lighting, Woodies the wallpaper, and the flooring was completed by local hardware store Higgins. The same colour palette of pink, green and black was used throughout and can be seen in almost everything down to the candles, menus, uniforms, cushions, seating, even the bathrooms.
Ultimately for Christine the important thing in a restaurant is its atmosphere, what you feel when you walk in before you even try the food. “The success of a restaurant I feel, is based fifty percent on the atmosphere and fifty percent on the dish. Great balance is needed”. As Sakhorn, the Head Chef in Tamarind Salthill, has already succeeded in creating mouth-watering dishes consistently, it is fair to say that Christine too has succeeded with the design element throughout the restaurant. “Although we still have minor details to finish regarding the interior design, I am delighted the way it has turned out and I now feel I have crafted my own vision in a three dimensional way , and that the restaurant is much more than a space but rather a piece of myself”.