South of The Triangle on Ranelagh's Main Street.
Conor Sexton has long been involved in the Thai food game, having previously been partner in some of the best loved and most successful Thai restaurants in the country. His latest restaurant Nightmarket, in Ranelagh, which he operates with the help of wife and partner Jutarat, has been a smashing success, serving up great food to an eager public.
A brilliant name, Nightmarket is not inspired by the hot shot du jour, Tom Hiddleston’s Night Manager, but from the nightmarkets in Chiang Mai and Hua Hin where Jutarat, aka ‘R’ grew up. Her grandparents had a food stall in Chiang Mai, so before school she spent many a morning going to buy raw produce from the local markets, taking it back home to cook with her grandparents, then help sell the finished product on the stall. This led later to a career in the hospitality industry where she worked in the Shangri La Hotel in Bangkok, before coming to Ireland 16 years ago and subsequently joining Koh as a duty manager. So, the food offers the rustic flavours of Chiang Mai, combined with the spicy seafood influences of the coastal town of Hua Hin, served in the traditional sharing way, balancing elements of spicy, sweet, sour, bitter, salty. The downstairs bar area was open on the first night, while the larger 50-seater upstairs room was still being worked on. There’s also a fantastic tiled al fresco area, like being in a luxurious metro station in wartime Paris – totally romantic.
Nibbling on pork scratchings with green relish, we kicked off with a trio of ace Kap Klaem – smaller dishes. Miam Kham were cha plu leaves topped with crunchy textures of ginger, shallots, chilli, dried shrimps, lime, peanut, roast coconut, palm sugar, to which you add a pungent hot dried shrimp sauce, roll up and eat in your fingers. Laab Moo Tod were the perfect foil, being hot crispy and soft balls of pork, while Yum Makeua Yao was a divine grilled aubergine salad involving dried shrimp floss, chilli, mint, fish sauce, lime, topped with a soft boiled egg.
Mains had red, green, yellow and Massaman curries plus phad or wok stir fries, as well as Aharn Talay - seafood specials. Thai aficionado, Paul, enthused over Phad Kaproa Nuea, rich and intense stir-fried minced beef with Thai basil leaves, chilli and garlic, topped off with a crispy fried egg. Larb Ped Esan salad, for me, had crispy leaves holding a melange of delicious spicy duck breast and offal, with roasted rice, chilli, shallots, galangal, kafir lime leaves, fish sauce and lime juice. ‘R’ had enquired how we were with chillis. Bring it on, we’d challenged boastfully, but I was soon on fire and loving every rising degree – my mind swept back to the first time I had Indonesian food in Amsterdam, as Conor Sexton dashed to our rescue with two glasses of pineapple juice. We finished off sharing a cooling mango and lychee cheesecake.
They’ve great cocktails, sherries, artisan and Asian beers and some fab wines too.
Beat a path...