Nuala — a new Modern British, Irish-influenced and well-travelled restaurant on Old Street roundabout — is now open. The team behind it — which is led by Niall Davidson, who moves from Chiltern Firehouse, comes with a significant range of experience, having worked at a catalogue of London’s (and in some cases the world’s) most well-known restaurants.
The vast open kitchen is organised around a giant fire pit, often with a dissected hog positioned upright in the firing line of rising smoke. Although Davidson is co-owner and executive head chef, the kitchen is being led by Colin McSherry (ex-Fat Duck and Dinner by Heston Blumenthal), supported by two sous chefs, Anais Ca Dao Van Manen and Tarryn Bingle. The menu is fortified by grilled meats and fish; flavours are bold, but there’s a refinement owing to the fine-dining experience evidently present in the DNA of the restaurant’s key personnel. They say Nuala will focus on preparing produce sourced from within the UK, using techniques and flavours from around the world. There are, for example two potato side orders: a robust, spring onion-flecked mashed potato (Irish champ); and a mousseline with cheddar cheese and caviar (aka espuma decadente). Unusual menu bedfellows that thrill for different reasons.
Front of house operations are managed by Charlie Sims and John O’Dowd (formerly of Noma and Bistrotheque respectively), while Honey Spencer (of both Noma Mexico and Sager + Wilde) has curated Nuala’s expansive wine offering.
As a late arrival to the scene this year, Nuala’s evolution will be interesting to observe throughout 2018. The early signs are promising. Take a look around:
Nuala’s menu offers something new: here, a steak tartare with lilliput capers, stout sauce and chips; a tranche of grilled fish with Padron peppers.
A highlight among the starters: a bowl of clams with a pistachio beurre blanc, samphire and toasted sourdough bread.
The industrial design aesthetic is tempered by warm lighting: a style that appears borrowed both from the lofts of Manhattan and the coastal strips of Venice Beach, LA.