Cure's new Nua Irish menu review : Chef-owner Andrew Walsh plates up the best of the old and new
An homage to savour
Some meals are pure pleasure, gratification, finesse, and if you're lucky enough, you get a meal that embodies all of the above. Except, this one's as much as a meal as it is an education. Five years on, along the eclectic street of Keong Saik, Cure has recently shifted its gears into a menu titled Nua. Which stands for 'new' as well as 'Irish' — an homage to chef-owner Andrew Walsh's homeland. In light of the tumultuous year as well as the feeling of being far away from home all at the same time, Nua was conceived. And it's extensive — to celebrate and present the evolution and history of Ireland on a plate.
Most of all, on a less sombre note, it's executed in upbeat, snappy fun. There had to be the soda stout bread to start, except Cure has its infused in Guinness, then glazed with sticky treacle and showered with oats. For a sweetener, there's even a miniature glass of Guinness to down. We devoured the following snacks in single-bite mannered fashion: chopped egg salad mashed with chives, parsley, pork neck, Japanese mayo, and Dijon mustard encased in a crisp pastry cylinder, as well as an unmissable potato crisp sandwich, inspired by chef Andrew's favourite childhood snack in a terrine of potato and parmesan cheese custard. Every mouthful was delicately savoury and layered with textures, while elevating humble classics like egg salad and the notorious potato.
In that playful vein, your vegetables here come in the form of baked salsify, a lesser-known root (from the same family as parsnip and asparagus). We later then found out it was common to the Irish, since the middle ages. It's crunchy and pan-fried with butter and thyme and then dished with bergamot gel and moringa leaves. There's also a hint of smoke, coinciding with its plating above a bed of Applewood.
Some of Ireland's finest catches follows next, given its snaking coastlines, wild-caught Irish Brown Crab, simply steamed then marinated with lemon juice and an Irish sour cream dressing. It's beautifully cradled alongside a Kohlrabi salad in a thin pastry shell. A single Gallagher oyster landed next, wrapped in a string to tease and for our own hands to unveil. It turned out to be a hot one — result from the binchotan and brushed with smoked beef fat, then dabbled with a midas medley of dill oil, miso beurre blanc, sea asparagus, and a dollop of Avruga roe. Prior to this, we could have sworn our loyalty to fresh, cold oysters, but this one in particular, was an oyster we didn't want to slurp in a whole, but to slowly dissect so to prolong the process.
Along the way, we earned a short history lesson of the Irish Potato Famine, ironically by tucking into an intricate terrine of potato, celeriac, and kombu. But the star had to be the Silver Hill Farm Duck (our main course of the night), which is also touted as the wagyu of duck. It's done three ways, the meat grilled on the binchotan, then laid with native berries jus and Teeling whisky, a duck fat pancake comprising of duck legs, and an espuma of duck fat, to be dipped in grated salted egg, juniper berries, and thyme.
More treasures in the dessert line-up. Within, we found the great pleasure of peat — executed in charcoal poori, stuffed with smoked milk ice cream and got acquainted ourselves with Avonmore Buttermilk, the number one milk brand in Ireland — decked out in a creamy mousse. But the lasting impression turned out to be the humble oat cookie, served with a warm cuppa Jameson cream. After all, the meal had to end with Irish whisky — there wasn't going to be any way around it.
21 Keong Saik Rd Tel: 6221 2189
Opening hours: (Mon-Tues) 6pm-10pm (Wed-Sat) 12pm-2pm, 6pm-10pm
Lunch menu starts from S$78++, dinner menu from S$178++, and vegetarian menu from S$178++.