The Real Wine Drinking Guide: Nuala
Having opened officially in December 2017 Nuala is a relative newcomer to the London dining scene. The culinary action takes place around a large open fireplace where chefs cook seasonal British ingredients over wood.
The spacious L-shaped dining room upstairs seats 75, whilst, downstairs is Nuala Bar, featuring bar stools, stalls and snugs, serving a serious number of Irish whiskeys, punchy punches, cocktails and the best Guinness in town. Eclectic playlists and live music are streamed from downstairs into the restaurant at weekends.
Head Chef Niall Davidson’s Northern Irish origin is referenced in such tasty dishes as beef tartare served with reduced mussel stock and Guinness extra Stout sauce, as well as T-bone steaks from Nuala’s own breed of Torloisk Highland cows. Other dishes may include bone marrow doughnuts; flamed clams in cider; king crab with Pernod butter; rotisserie goose with barley pancakes; and suckling pig with fireplace cabbage.
The wine side is headed by Honey Spencer, the aim being to demystify a tricky subject, and to persuade the City punters into drinking natural wine without realising it!! The short and sweet list (around 100 bins), encased in an A5 booklet, splits its selection into the following friendly categories: Tried & True, being favourites and easily-reachables such as Riesling (Millton, NZ) a Tissot Chardonnay from Jura; The Classics - famous vineyards and recognisable appellations, such as Barbaresco (Olek Starderi), Montepulciano D’Abruzzo (Emidio Pepe) or a Chablis (Clos de Beru); A Touch Out Of The Ordinary, featuring a Xinomavro (Ktima Ligas, Greece), Xarel-lo in amfora from Joseph Mitjans or a Zelen from Slovenia. And, finally, Wild Things, the unadulterated natural wines - all unfiltered with no-added SO2, such as Gut Oggau’s Brutal or Hervé Souhaut’s Souteronne. And there are always a couple of orange wines by the glass.
Producers we love: Dard et Ribo; Gentle Folk; Coturri; Caleb Leisure Wines (Cali), Fred Cossard (Burgundy), Frank Cornelissen (Sicily).
Look out for the lesser spotted: Els Jelepins in Catalunya are making tiny batches of magic in Penèdes; La Begou by Maxime Magnon in Corbières, Overnoy/Houillon and Bruyere/Houillon.
We really like: The succinct categorisation that makes it easy to navigate the list.
Do: Try a wild thing by the glass!
Key wine person: Honey Spencer.
Nuala | 70-74 City Road | London