IF YOU REMEMBER the mid-1990s in Dublin, you probably remember Tosca. The restaurant was run by Bono’s brother Norman Hewson and for some time played host to celeb launches and the capital’s party set until it closed in 2000.
Now Tosca is to be revived – for one night only on 26 October – in Smock Alley Theatre in Temple Bar to raise funds for Self Help Africa. Over 25 original staff from Tosca are returning for the night to offer their services for free. These include Hewson himself, former head chef Aongu Hanly (now head chef with Cavistons in Glasthule) and actress Ciara O’Callaghan, who now plays Yvonne in Fair City but who was once a waitress in Tosca.
Shortly before Tosca closed, Hewson started his new venture, organic ‘fast food’ restaurant chain Nude with one of the outlets in the building beside where Tosca stood on Suffolk Street. Nude closed in 2010.
Apparently there are “a handful of tickets left” so to attend contact the Self Help Africa Dublin office on 1850 757678 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. The tickets are €95 all in.
There is to be an auction on the night too with prizes and lots including a limited edition print from artist Jim Fitzpatrick, a voucher for the rather more permanent restaurant Chapter One and “other prizes donated by U2, John Waters, Luka Bloom”.
What does one eat in a 1990s restaurant revival? We’re told that the menu (yet to be confirmed) may include:
- Chicken Liver Pate
- Salmon Tartar
- Hummus (this was a Tosca staple made with white beans)
- Smoked Ham Relish
- Bread Dips (another Tosca classic)
- Coarse Country Terrine served with bread (Tosca always made their own bread)
- Slow roast beef
- Baked fish casserole (Aongus is hoping to use a salted cod for this dish which was another ingredient used by Tosca)
- Vegan: Chickpea and curly kale bake with garlic crumb crust (This is a variation on a side dish from the original Tosca menu)
- Herbed baby potatoes
- Salad selection
- Chocolate Dessert (Tosca’s best selling dessert at the time)