Meal Ticket: Jungle Cafe, Galway

This place does exactly what it says on the tin - it’s a little palm tree-inhabited tropical oasis, offering welcome respite from the hustle of Eyre Square around the corner

   
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Jungle Café

This place does exactly what it says on the tin - it’s a little palm tree-inhabited tropical oasis, offering welcome respite from the hustle of Eyre Square around the corner (and two rowdy hen parties barrelling past into town).

On a rainy Galway day, the open-air seating is surprisingly cosy, underneath its corrugated Perspex roof. There’s a tiny indoor area, with a kitchen and some baristas making elaborate designs on Badger and Dodo coffees. There’s seating for only three or four people inside, so once you’ve ordered, it’s out to the jungle in the yard, filled with couches and wicker furniture. There’s chill out music and sack cloth covering chairs. All around, there are pots growing herbs (we spy chives, dill and mint) and heads of lettuce and even a small lemon tree.

The menu is small: half-a-dozen breakfast items, some gourmet sandwiches, fresh smoothies and juices, soup and some pastries. There are a couple of specials on the board - a Lyonnaise sandwich (€7) looks good - a tower of salad, mayo and pancetta topped with poached eggs, as does the Cowboy Soup - a thick stew of tomato, bacon and chickpeas (€5).

We’ve been advised to come here to try the omelette with onion, mushroom and cheese but are too late for the breakfast menu (which finishes at noon). Instead we order a pitta pocket with organic salad - with leaves that actually taste of something - avocado and dressing (€6.50). It’s a little steep for a vegetarian pitta, but it comes crammed with very fresh salad with shavings of carrot and cucumber, and also some homemade hummus. The only downside is that the pitta isn’t toasted.

The baguette with fig, prosciutto and mozzarella (€7.20) does see the underside of the grill - two long halves of fresh, doughy baguette are toasted until the cheese has bubbled and are then topped with sweet slivers of fig and lots of salty prosciutto and another mountain of those homegrown leaves.

As we leave, a waiter waters pots of edibles around us - great to see a small cafe being so self-sufficient.