Princes Street, and its many and varied restaurants and cafes, was quick to adopt outdoor dining and rapidly became the country’s poster child for the Covid enforced change to the undependable Irish exterior.
We had our first visit there on Culture Night and it turned into an evening of delectation under the shelters of Nash 19 and owner Claire Nash. Just the day before, Nash was awarded by the Georgina Campbell Awards as the person to represent being “the very best of community”, acknowledging Claire’s part in leading the Princes Street charge and in changing her dynamic daytime enterprise to an equally energetic day and night star.
|Heirloom Tomatoes and Purple Basil|
It was a double change for Nash, from daytime to night time and from indoors to outdoors. And immediately, they saw and began to work on the possibility of innovation that the double move allows. And it isn’t that Nash 19 just tagged along with the existing evening menus. No, if you know Claire, you know they jumped straight to the front and the menu is right on trend with a slew of small plates and no sectional guidance that you should follow the old three course pattern. Hop in to the menu, forget tradition, go free style and enjoy yourself.
But if you do like the comfort of a big feed, and we all do from time to time, some of us more than others, then Nash 19 have you covered well on that front also.
|Crispy Chicken Confit of Leg|
Claire is rightly proud of the menu and delighted too with the mini-menu she had drawn up for the Culture Night event going on simultaneously in her Stern Gallery (in the backroom of the restaurant). That included the new vermouth by two sisters from Valentia Island and that was our first drop of the evening.
Nash 19 have quite a wine selection now, some fifty bottles, mostly organic, some natural, all low intervention and quite a few by the glass. There’s sparkling wine, rosé, red and white of course, and sweet to finish. We thought we’d have white and enjoyed a glass of Izadi Larrosa Blanc (a Garnacha blanca from Rioja) and one of Von Winning Weissburgunder (Pinot blanc from the Pfalz in Germany). Glass prices vary from €6.50 to 11.50 in white, roughly similar in red.
|Smokers Plate via Hederman|
We were soon down to the food. CL’s first dish was the Seared Scallops with Annascaul Black Pudding and apple mint. Superlatives all around here, even that apple mint was outstanding and, in any case, CL is a big fan of the Kerry blackpudding.
Round one may have been a knockout but we were ready for round two, along with what remained of our colourful and flavourful side of the gorgeous Heirloom Tomato and Purple Basil Salad.
|Nash have employed new tasters for this menu.|
Illustration from the menu
And we did our delicious duty again. Mine was the Garryhinch Wild Mushroom Ragu on Sourdough Toast with a generous coating of Parmesan. And it came with a steak knife. Superb texture, moist temptation, hardly time to share a morsel or two as I fought back the urge to rush but instead took an unwavering steady stroll to satisfy my senses with its warmth and savour. All for 12 euro!
CL bit into her Crispy Chicken Confit of Leg with Korean Dressing and Charred Corn (also 12 euro) and her casual tongue was immediately stung into alertness by the Korean spice. But, once she got the various elements together, the spice became a key though not dominant facilitator of amazing flavour, and she was as happy as any diner on the busy street.
It wasn’t the only busy street on Friday as quite a few folks were out and about taking in the many events of Culture Night. We began heading back to our hill. We crossed the river and headed for Harley’s Street and its little market and found the place rammed, the crowd there enjoying the bites and exotic music.
Great craic evident too at St Luke’s Cross with Henchy's and the wine bar the main venues. Lovely to see Culture Night back on the streets and hopefully the English Markets will be back at the heart of it next year.
As is the case with Nash by Day, the Nash by Night Menu provides lots of variety, not just throughout the menu itself but also via its daily changes.
Our culture night menu started with a bunch of “small plates” of which no less than five were fish; we picked two and the others, just to give you a hint of what may be coming your way if you call in (and you should), are Irish Prawns with Sea Samphire, Wild Irish Tuna Sashimi, and a “Taste” of Monkfish Tempura. We had two of the non-fish small plates and the others was Ham Hock Terrine and Free Range Chicken Liver Paté.
After that, you are moving into more serious platefuls including Rib Eye of Beef, Pan Seared Hake, their familiar and always superb Producers Plate Tapas Style; also a local Charcuterie Board plus there’s a Heirloom Tomato Pasta Penne with Toonsbridge Feta and an Irish Cheese Board with Fig Confit. Descriptions have been abbreviated in these two paragraphs.
And there are sides of course. Our Heirloom Tomato and Purple Basil Salad was a super treat and others on offer were Fries (smoked butter, sea salt), Waterfall Green Leaf and Herb Salad, Mediterranean Olives or Salted Valentia Nuts, along with Bread, Seaweed Butter and Olive Oil (all at 4.50 aside from the tomatoes at 6.00).