Nightmarket is one of Ranelagh’s newest editions, taking over from ‘An Bhialann’ at 120 Ranelagh, Dublin 6, one of Dublin’s foodie hotspots. Nightmarket brings together traditional and authentic Thai food, while trying to use as much local produce as possible. Set up by an Irish man and his Thai partner they aimed to create a space where Irish people can gather to experience and enjoy the unique flavours of Thai home cooking.
When we arrived last Friday evening the place was packed, booking seems to be a must. We sat at the bar for a drink while our table was being prepared. Their cocktail menu is one of the most unusual drink menus I have ever come across, the drinks all seemed a bit mad. I ordered the Mulata Daiquiri which had NM Rum Elixir, Lime & Dark Chocolate – yes, of course I go for the chocolate option. Josh got the Basil Smash which had Dingle Gin, Thai Basil, Lemon, Fish Sauce & Lychee. We watched the bartender as he carefully and artistically constructed the drinks. The precision and attention to detail was like no other. Although quite small the drinks hit the spot. I loved the sweet chocolatey aftertaste from mine, and Josh loved his fresh almost mojito like taste off his.
I have never been to Thailand and the only experience I have ever had with Thai food has been from takeaway chains such as Mao, Mango Tree and Camille – which I love, but I knew they weren’t the real deal. A bit confused by the menu we called one of the staff members over to talk us through it. He carefully took us through nearly every dish on the menu. He explained to us that a Thai meal traditionally consists of a selection of dishes shared by a group. He suggested we get three ‘Smaller Dishes’ which are like starters, a salad and one main course between the two of us.
From the ‘Smaller Dishes’ section we went with the Laab Moo Tad which were Crispy balls of pork laab, red curry paste, chilli, peanuts, ginger, shallots, spring onion, fish sauce, lime juice, mint, rice. The Hoy Shell Yang which was grilled, fresh scallops; chilli, lime juice & coriander sauce; chilli & mango salad with peanuts and finally the Kanom Jeeb which were steamed Thai dumpling with minced pork & prawn, crispy garlic, soy & rice vinegar dip. We really liked the Laab Moo Tad and the Kanom Jeeb. We found that the scallops were a bit overcooked and tasteless, however we loved the salad that came with the scallops. The salad we ordered was the Som Tum Moo Ping which was a spicy green papaya salad, dried shrimp, peanut, long bean, cherry tomato, chilli, lime, garlic, palm sugar, fish sauce, grilled pork skewers, sticky rice. This salad actually turned out to be very similar to the one that we got with the scallops just with pork skewers. We would have liked to have tried something else and I wish they would have told us that when we ordered them all together. For the main course we got the Gai Phad Med Mamuang Himmaphan which was stir fried chicken, cashew nuts, mushroom, dried chilli, water chestnuts, spring onion, onion. This dish was probably my favourite thing we got on the menu, it had a bit of a takeaway feel to it I mean this in the best way possible and only say it as the chicken was lightly battered and came in a sauce. It had twice the taste of a takeaway but none of that horrible sluggish after feeling of a takeaway.
I have a pretty alright tolerance for spice but a lot of the dishes we chose had a serious kick to them. The good thing is one of the staff members explained to us that nearly all of the dishes can be modified to how spicy or not spicy you want them, so make sure you don’t forget to ask about spice levels and explain what you want if you make a visit to this place.
Overall, we really enjoyed our meal at Nightmarket Ranelagh. Being a novice in ‘real’ Thai food makes it hard to judge, but I do think it is very different to what is out there. There are plenty of authentic Indian, Chinese and Japanese restaurants around Dublin, but I haven’t heard of many authentic Thai places. If you want something different I think it is well worth a visit. The staff are really friendly and the place has a great buzz.
Price: Smaller plates: 3-15 euros, Main courses: 16-24 euros
I hope you have found this helpful if you are planning a visit to Nightmarket. If I was to go again I would choose a completely different selection of dishes, so I can experience more the cuisine has to offer.
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The Girl on the Go xx