Conrad Gallagher to open new restaurant in Sligo


CONTROVERSIAL CHEF Conrad Gallagher is to open a new restaurant in Sligo.

Conrad’s Kitchen will be the second restaurant in Ireland opened by Gallagher since his return last year from South Africa, where he was declared bankrupt by the Western Cape High Court following an application by two companies seeking payment of debts.

Located at The Model arts centre in Sligo town, home to the Niland Collection, the restaurant will feature some of the 39-year-old’s signature dishes, including risotto of asparagus and parmesan with confit duck and parmesan foam, and roasted scallops with summer butternut squash, saffron aioli and pickled beetroot.

The Letterkenny-born chef says he will divide his time equally between the Sligo restaurant and his Dublin-based restaurant, Salon des Saveurs, which brought about his return to the 2010 Bridgestone 100 Best Restaurants Guide after what was a 10-year absence.

The former one-time Michelin-starred chef said the new restaurant aims to bring top-class food at great value prices to the northwest.

He said yesterday he did not see the new restaurant, which is due to open in late September, as a risk as “Sligo is a big town, under-served by restaurants in recent years.”

He added that the potential of the newly renovated model school as one of the country’s great art centres was one of the reasons he was attracted to Sligo.

The Model’s director, Seamus Kealy, said bookings were already coming in for the restaurant, adding that he hoped it would “attract tourists to Sligo from all corners of the country”.

Gallagher has previously worked in some of the world’s top hotels and restaurants, including the Waldorf Astoria in New York and Café de Paris in Monte Carlo.

He has also owned and operated his own restaurants such as Peacock Alley, Lloyds Brasserie, Christopher’s Brasserie and Mango Toast in Dublin, and Conrad Gallagher Shaftesbury Avenue in London.

Prior to his return to Ireland last year he had spent six years in South Africa, where his business interests included a restaurant and a consultancy. He ended up owing almost €200,000 to two main creditors.

In an interview with The Irish Timeslast year, he said things went wrong there after he joined forces with two business contacts and began investing heavily in property.

“There was a bit of a turn in the market, and that ran into difficulty and it needed cash,” he said.

“The bank was coming for me, and they were coming after me personally. They were getting their hands on anything that I owned. My home, my three homes, my two apartments, my restaurant – they were coming after it all. So as a result of it, I had to put my hands up in the air and say to them there was no way out of it.”