Eater has learnt from multiple sources that Nuala has parted company with its executive head chef and co-creator Niall Davidson. The modern Irish restaurant — opened on Old Street roundabout as December bled into January 2018 — continues to trade; sources told Eater that Davidson has not worked for the company, nor at the restaurant for as long as two months — meaning the chef’s tenure lasted four months. Eater understands that head chef Colin McSherry and sous chef Anais Ca Dao Van Manen have also left, with the kitchen’s other former sous chef Tarryn Bingle taking over the role of head chef.
Nuala was Davidson’s first “solo” venture on an impressive CV that includes Ferguson Henderson’s St. John Bread and Wine and Nuno Mendes’ celebrity favourite, Chiltern Firehouse; he announced plans for the restaurant in November 2017 after a three year search for the perfect site. Reviews were muted in their praise: Fay Maschler of The Evening Standard praised a “warm heart” but suggested the food needed tweaking; Jay Rayner leaned into a strange horse-racing metaphor with the hope the restaurant would romp home, but was left to praise “beautiful moments” alongside a lot of “merely ok.” Julie Burchill indulged in some boorish xenophobia.
It’s not as if the restaurant has been in the doldrums: Sommelier Honey Spencer (previously of Sager + Wilde, and Noma Mexico) has been widely praised for her expansive, thoughtful wine list, while dishes like mussels in pistachio beurre blanc have captured the imagination.
Neither Davidson, nor a spokesperson for the restaurant has responded to Eater’s requests for comment.