NUALA PERMENANTLY CLOSED DECEMBER 2018
With a team whose CVs include The Fat Duck and Noma, Nuala sprinkles a little bit of stardust to a grimy corner of City Road by Old Street roundabout (choose a seat facing into the restaurant). But while the view through the huge windows may be aggressively urban, it’s softened inside by curvy leather banquettes, warm brick and wood walls, homely Cesca chairs and a firepit in the kitchen.
We preferred mains of cod with leeks and a beautiful, buttery sauce, and a roughly chopped steak tartare made sloppy with egg yolk and a stout sauce, to starters of sautéed sweetbreads mismatched with a sort of cauliflower cheese, and a pedestrian (but very pretty) bowl of salt-baked beetroot with ricotta and orange. Extras impressed the most: seaweed butter with good sourdough, a pre-starter cracker slathered with cod’s roe, dauphinois potatoes with lamb fat gravy, and fried cabbage and bacon (the last two would make a lovely main course in themselves).
We enjoyed what we ate, but didn’t find it very different to a good gastropub, while service from too many staff and long waits for drinks (from an interesting list) gave our lunch a rather disjointed feel. Guinness, whiskey cocktails and live music in Nuala’s downstairs bar might be a better first taste of a newcomer with promise.