70-74 City Rd, London EC1Y 2BJ nualalondon.com
NUALA is the new modern-Irish restaurant and bar from Niall Ferguson, a vast space on the corner of City Road and Old Street.
Entering Nuala, you’d think you were walking into a nightclub circa early 00’s as the door staff are tall, dark, leather clad and hooked up with earpieces. But it’s a much friendly atmosphere once you get past the security.
Inside, calming stone colours and deep burgundy leather banquets mirror the bar that wraps around the whole space. At one corner of the space, the bar transforms into the open plan kitchen, it’s a very fluid atmosphere. Very now. Every table faces the action so it feels inclusive and theatrical all at once.
Fire, stone, leather, it all sounds a bit masculine but in fact it’s a really neutral place Ã¢â‚¬â€œ perhaps something of its time. It could easily adapt to become a date spot, a meal with mates, a business lunch, or just somewhere to hang out over a cocktail.
Saying that, you won’t find too many suits in here, luckily, and it still has that cool edge despite its City Road location.
Food-wise, it’s a little on the pricey side so beware. If you’re not shy about spending a little money on food, which obviously I am not, it’s justified by the service, quality of the produce and techniques the very attractive chefs apply.
We started with the cod’s roe crackers which at £3.50 each was a bit of a stretch for some cod’s roe albeit very tasty. We quickly moved on to the much talked about beefsteak tartare, mussel and extra stout sauce with egg yolk and dripping fries Ã¢â‚¬â€œ divine.
Veal sweetbreads and cauliflower rarebit, a little bland but succulent, melt in the mouth, good. Sides aren’t supposed to steal the show (we didn’t have the mains) but the Maris Piper Dauphinoise with lamb fat gravy was the best heart attack I have ever endured.
After dinner, you’re more than welcome to roll downstairs to Nuala bar. Here is where the real magic happens. Not quite rough around the edges yet, a few more months of wear and tear will give it that extra familiar feel, but the cocktails are bang on. Those of you who often steer clear of whiskey will be pleasantly surprised with the cocktails that these geniuses have come up with.
Our favourite, Punch #1, with Redbreast 12yo, Guinness, Applejack, aromatic wine, oolong, citrus, does exactly what it says. There’s also regular live music with some great acoustic acts that of course, add favourably to the atmosphere.
I urge you to go to Nuala’s. She’s an absolute babe. Fun, friendly and after a few whiskies, a little wild.