By Charlotte Okonji
Friday the 11th of November saw the launch of Midnight in Nightown, Magistorium’s ode to the dirty Dublin of bygone days.
One of the most eagerly anticipated arrivals on Dublin’s nightlife scene this year was undoubtedly that of Magistorium. Since its initial launch earlier this month, the South Anne Street venue has promised much in terms of entertainment, and has managed to deliver without fail. This is certainly the case with their latest fusion of drama, dining and days-of-yore, Midnight in Nightown.
Stepping through the narrow, unassuming doorway on South Anne Street, the last thing I was expecting was to find myself in a gothic wonderland: heavy velvet drapes, stained glass windows, stone walls, carved wooden doors and atmospheric lighting helped set the dramatic tone for the evening. Upon being seated at one of the many banqueting tables my companion and I were greeted by one of Magistorium’s charming hosts, Susie, who gave us a rundown of the menu.
Being two very indecisive people (or gluttons, depending on how you look at it), my guest and I devoured two starters each: Potted Irish Salmon with homemade soda bread to begin with, followed by Shoulder of Wicklow Lamb for her, while I plumped for the Pressed Ham Hock in a Poitin and Mustard sauce. Neither of us were disappointed. The lamb shoulder was judged to be “as tender as a mother’s heart”, and as I learned, ham hock and poitin are a match made in culinary heaven. We both opted for the Venison Shank with parsnip mash to follow. Cooked to perfection, the meat was literally falling of the bone. To round off the meal, I chose the Carrageen Moss Pudding, while my dinner guest chose the Apple Crumble. I never thought I would see the day when I would utter the words “this seaweed is delicious”, but the fact is, the pudding was spectacular. Light and sweet, it was just what I needed after my over indulgence.
As the tables were being cleared, young ladies in period dress with strong Dublin accents emerged from the shadows, with a wink for the boys and some cheeky chitchat for the girls, before taking to the stage. The remainder of the evening saw these wily wenches bring Monto to life, through song, dance and wicked wit, with appearances by figures such as James Joyce, who was known to be a habitué of the area.
A fantastically entertaining and imaginative production, Midnight in Nightown will run every Friday night until the 23rd of December, with tickets available for €25 for general admission or for €55, which includes a three course dinner.