Cava Bodega

Cava Bodega

Cava Bodega

Photography by Alan Smyth

When Drigin & JP McMahon decided to to open Cava Bodega in Middle St, Galway, they knew they had to get the ambiance and atmosphere just right. It was important to have that realistic spanish bodega feel. Grainne O Neill of Architectural Spaces, in collaboration with Drigin, set about recreating an authentic spanish bodega right in the heart of Galway City. Grainne’s brief was to create a space that would make the diner/customer feel as if they had been transported to a spanish bodega.

Eclectic Design Cava Bodega

The space had perviously functioned as a restaurant but Grainne and Drigin felt it didn’t meet the needs of this restaurant. They literally had to strip back the whole place to its bones, thus exposing all the rawness and industrial elements of the building. They decided to make use of it’s rawness and keep the exposed pipes and air conditioning vents, making them part of the interior decor. They opened up the basement area and the ground floor, completely gutting it and giving it a contemporary industrial feel, while also giving it warmth with highly textured fabrics and materials with a strong use of colour.

They used natural timbers and concrete floors throughout the basement – the timber used are authentic scaffolding timber boards, made into counters and for the bar area. A fantastic selection of Spanish wines are housed in a display unit, which was built using scaffolding timber boards, with the drop lighting shaded in wine barrels that were cut in half to make large shades.

Cava Bodega 1

Colour was added with with lighting, seating, cushions, wall colour and the signage. The furniture is an eclectic mix of old and new. Some of the chairs came from an old library and are complemented with more modern seating.

Drigin’s sister was commissioned to design the cushion fabric and the lighting in the basement. She came up with a design that was in keeping with the interior of the whole space.

Careful thought and consideration was put into the colour for the exterior. It had to be obvious on the street without being outlandish or garish. The sunny yellow was just perfect, reflecting the spanish influences within.

A very successful collaboration brought Galwegians this authentic spanish restaurant with a genuine Mediterranean ambiance. “Deemed one of most authentic Spanish restaurants in Ireland at present by notable food critics, Cava fosters a way of eating based on sharing and gastronomic interaction: with tapas, food is passed around the table, communal style, the dishes breed discussion and provide an alternative approach to eating

Designer Cava Bodega

Restaurant Proprietors – Drigin & jP Mc Mahon. Tel: 091 539884

Interior Architect – Architectural Spaces, Tel: 091 533800

A New Tamarind A New Era – In Salthill

Tamarind - Asian Food - Salthill, Galway

Tamarind – Asian Food – Salthill, Galway

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.

Christine Coakelin owner of Tamarind

Christine Coakelin owner of Tamarind

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.

Colourful and Cozy Tamarind in Salthill

Colourful and Cozy Tamarind in Salthill

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.

Tamarind, Great decor and great food

Tamarind, Great decor and great food

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”.