CURE’s new Nua Irish cuisine tasting menu is an extravagant gastronomic tale of Irish culinary history, provenance, and chef-owner Andrew Walsh’s childhood memories.
Whether it’s the traditional colcannon, boxty, or coddle, Irish cuisine generally conjures ideas of simple yet hearty country fare. The Emerald Isle is known for many a good thing, but it is generally agreed that the country does not quite possess a cuisine that dominates globally. And if any of its dishes have travelled widely at all, chances are they feature as unexciting and stodgy (if beer-friendly) grub one finds at the ubiquitous Irish pub.
But Andrew Walsh, chef-owner of modern Irish-Asian restaurant CURE and a proud Irish native, wants to challenge such misconceptions about the food of his homeland. “I felt it was about time I presented my culture in the best way I knew how – a grand showcase of all that Ireland has to offer, from its produce and cuisine to its history, in one menu,” Walsh mused.
Enter Nua Irish cuisine, CURE’s latest tasting menu.
“Nua represents the evolution of my own brand of cuisine. My Irish heritage and the food of my childhood not only takes center stage but are coupled with culinary techniques and global influences that have been refined over my career. Even more so is its significance to me as an individual, an Irish chef far from and seeking the comfort of home during the course of this tumultuous year.”
With Nua, Chef Andrew takes homely Irish cooking and staple ingredients and gives them a whimsical, fine-dining whirl. Only the quintessential Irish soda bread – the Soda, Stout & Treacle Bread – that starts the meal doesn’t gets a fancy makeover.
Consider the potato. The humble spud, of course, had played a huge role in shaping Irish history. Its introduction from the New World in the late 16th century as a cheap and abundant staple allowed Ireland’s population to boom, but a severe potato blight in the 1840s conversely decimated its populace. Chef Andrew’s Potato Crisp Sandwich revisits a childhood favourite snack and is essentially an elevated version of the sour cream and onion potato chip; it tastes as glorious as it is nostalgic. It also comes back again as Potato in terrine form, smothered in an earthy mushroom foam, and dichotomously served with the far less humble caviar.
Indeed Nua can take you through a little bit of Irish culinary history. The Pork & Chopped Egg Salad, likely a cheeky twist on the Irish egg salad sandwich, comes as a pastry cylinder filled with confit pork neck and diced egg. Or Baked Salsify, which uses the root vegetable that helped feed the Irish since the Middle Ages.
Nua also shines the spotlight on some of the best produce Ireland has to offer. Like its seafood. Irish Brown Crab sees the exquisitely-sweet flesh of the wild-caught crustacean hand-picked and mixed with a kohlrabi salad as the filling atop a crisp tart shell. The binchotan-grilled Gallagher Speciale Oyster may look like a Rockefeller gone wrong, but combined with sea asparagus and Avruga caviar it is a veritable taste of the sea. Irish Blue Mussels, cooked into a delicate, almost ethereal, chowder that demands the licking of every last drop, retain their ocean sweetness.
Through Nua you also do get a sense of the superiority of Irish produce. We’ve been massively impressed when we previously tried the ducks of Co Monaghan’s Silver Hill Farm cooked by way of a Cantonese roast duck; we’re in awe again with Silver Hill Farm Duck here at CURE served three ways – grilled duck breast done in classic French technique, a soul-warming duck broth, and minced confit duck leg served as Japanese takoyaki. And with the very moreish A Porridge of Grains, Walsh lays a thinly-sliced dry-aged beef from premium Irish producer John Stone atop organic egg yolk and a thick gruel of rice, barley, and Irish Cashel blue cheese, for a mind-blowing course.
There’s dessert too. Childhood Memories of Peat, Lucky Gold & Chocolate Pot, Avonmore Buttermilk, and Oat Cookie & Jamieson Cream, all continue Walsh’s Irish tale of history, provenance, and nostalgia.
All in all, CURE’s Nua tasting menu offers an incisive look at Irish cuisine through the lens of a proud – and somewhat homesick – Irish lad who just so happens to be a culinary genius. If you harbour any doubt that Irish cuisine has the potential to shine on a global stage, go to CURE. Walsh will prove you wrong with Nua.
CURE’s Nua Irish cuisine tasting menu starts from S$178++ per person.
Address 21 Keong Saik Road, Singapore 089128 (Google Maps link)
Opening Hours 6pm to 10pm on Mondays and Tuesdays; 12pm to 2pm and 6pm to 10pm on Wednesdays to Saturdays; closed on Sundays
Tel (65) 6221 2189