Luxurious drinking and dining at The Westbury, Dublin
If you’ve read our March issue, you’ll know that this month’s city guide is taking you on a whirlwind weekend trip to the Emerald Isle’s capital city, Dublin.
We visited one of the city’s most glamorous hotspots, the five-star Westbury Hotel, to enjoy cocktails and dinner at The Sidecar and WILDE.
With an unbeatably central location on Grafton Street, The Westbury is a lesson in luxury. We were warmly welcomed and guided upstairs to The Sidecar, an Art Deco-inspired, award-winning cocktail bar that’s as opulent as you could hope for. After a slight mishap with our reservation at the door, the staff guided us to the cosy corner table with two glasses of Champagne to start, then left us to peruse the extensive cocktail menu.
There are dozens of options to choose from, so it could take you some time to decide; however, I ended up opting for a classic Espresso Martini, whilst my dining partner chose the equally typical Rum Old Fashioned – what can I say, we know what we like! Both were beautifully balanced and perfectly presented, the ideal aperitif.
The Sidecar is very busy, but retains a sense of luxury that’s hard to find in city-centre cocktail bars. It’s clearly a destination in its own right, with lots of stylish Dubliners taking residence at the bar, alongside hotel guests too. It’s not cheap (cocktails average at around €15, but there are some extravagant options at €24 and above, and one very luxe cocktail at €150!) but we definitely felt that there was a sense of luxury that made each sip worth every cent.
Cocktails supped, it was time for us to head across the hallway for our dinner reservations at WILDE. This is a light, bright and utterly beautiful restaurant that feels like a breath of fresh air in the heart of the city centre. Think marble tables and floors, green velvet seating, a roaring fire (we visited in January, after all) and the glorious indoor terrace, festooned with foliage and flowers to bring the outside in. Elegant but with a relaxed atmosphere, we instantly felt at home.
Service here is on another level; our waitress was incredibly attentive without being overbearing, and made sure that we enjoyed every second of our experience.
After selecting a bottle of the chilled Coteaux Bourguignon (€47) to share, we ordered starters; I chose the pan-roasted Castletownbere scallops (€17), served on a creamy cauliflower puree, with crispy pancetta and a spicy crumb. The scallops were plump, juicy and beautifully cooked, balanced perfectly with the accoutrements. My partner opted for the Irish smoked salmon (€16), which came as sumptuous slabs of salmon, paired with lip-smacking caper berries and pickled cucumber, and a zesty lemon crème fraiche on the side.
For mains, we both chose the ribeye steak (€33.50), cooked medium-rare, with sides of crispy fries (€6.50) and onion rings (€9.50). We decided to upgrade to surf and turf; I added two giant tiger prawns to my main (€9.50) and a Bearnaise sauce, whilst my partner went for the half lobster tail (€12.50) and a peppercorn sauce.
Everyone talks about the perfectly-cooked steak – but at WILDE, it really was.
The accompanying seafood was fresh and luscious, packed with flavour, and the side dishes were the perfect amount for two people. It would not be an exaggeration to say it was one of the best meals either of us has ever eaten!
After the excitement of the main course, we felt spurred on for dessert (although it probably wasn’t entirely necessary). Ever the sweet tooth, I went for the Valrhona dark chocolate bar and raspberry sorbet (€9.50), a rich, dark slab of chocolate ganache, with fresh raspberries, a freeze-dried sheet of sweet raspberry and a generous quenelle of zingy raspberry sorbet. My partner chose the Basked Alaska with sour cherry and stone fruit jam (€9.50), which came as a perfectly piped dome of blowtorched meringue, crisp on the outside and sumptuously gooey inside, with deliciously sour cherries to offset the sweetness of the ice-cream and meringue.
Fabulously full, very merry and completely happy with our experience of WILDE, we haven’t stopped raving about it since. Every aspect of our meal there was what you’d hope to find in a high-end establishment and made our Saturday night feel very special indeed. If you’re taking a trip to Dublin soon, take our word for it and book a table here – hope you love it as much as we did!