Wholefood shops in Ireland tend to have a design ambiance that suggests worthiness. They shun design almost as a badge of pride, as if good design is a distraction. Just how wrong these shops are in taking this approach can be seen when you walk into Patsy and Philip Rodger’s In a Nutshell, in the centre of little New Ross.
Nutshell, and its companion café at the back of the shop, is beautiful. The lighting is dramatic, the food looks sexy, the big blackboard at the rear with the day’s dishes is hip and cool. It’s a beautiful space to be in and, vitally, the singularity and warmth of the design echoes the care and attention to detail that characterise this fastidious couple and their approach to their work.
Patsy and Philip are happy when everything looks gorgeous, eats gorgeous, and makes you feel gorgeous. They don’t do clichés: everything is built from the ground up, and carries their signature, whether it’s simply a sandwich-to-go from the counter or some of the classic tapas dishes which have been introduced to the menu by their son.
Nutshell occupies a special position in New Ross. It is the food destination in the town. You time your journey around and across the N25 according to whether you will have breakfast here, have lunch here, have an afternoon break here, or just need a sandwich to keep you going as you motor along on your way to Rosslare or to Cork city. It’s the proudest place in town, and the town should be very proud of its pretty Nutshell.