A four-story hospitality venue with multiple bars and restaurants, which when fully operational will accommodate up to 600 people, is due to open this week in Dublin city centre. The new venue, Hyde, is on Lemon Street, which connects Grafton Street to Royal Hibernian Way.
The first phase of the multimillion-euro development, a ground-floor café-bar and a second-floor cocktail bar and restaurant, will open on Friday 11 November. An additional level, which has another restaurant, a bar and a terrace, will be open for aperitif on Friday and catering on December 1. The top floor, for which the planning of a covered outdoor area with 104 seats is sought, should be completed in early 2023.
The venue will serve “contemporary Asian” cuisine everywhere, in its restaurants and also on its bar-food menus. Karl Whelan, formerly of Chinese restaurant Hang Dai and now co-owner of Saltwater Grocery, Terenure, has been named executive chef. Jamie Belton left the Ivy to become operations manager. The venture is being funded by Michael Stafford, managing director of Stafford Bonded, a Wexford-based drinks company, along with his uncle Conor O’Driscoll and three minority shareholders, Mike Ormond, Ian Redmond and Michael Keane.
Stafford says Hyde is inspired by big upscale Asian restaurants such as Zuma in London and Tao in New York. “These are places where you go for the food and service and then stay for the party.”
The restaurant areas will be transformed into night bars, with music and DJs, open until 2:30 a.m. According to Jamie Belton, the venue is introduced to a mature crowd who will come for dinner or snacks at the bar and stay for drinks. “We hope they are here for the night. If they’re not there for the night, we’ve failed,” he says. Despite the scale of the building, Belton says a cap will be put on the numbers. “We’re not going to pack the place; it’s not a nightclub.
The main restaurant, called Gekko, will serve a mix of small plates and larger dishes designed for sharing. A wide range of Asian influences were used to create the menu. “It will be product driven, very seasonal,” says Whelan, who has taken on the role of executive chef in addition to his involvement at Saltwater Grocery.
He describes it as being “much cleaner and more uncluttered, and more Japanese, in that sense” than what he cooked in Hang Dai, and more in line with what he did on the raw bar menu in Saltwater. “We get amazing products from suppliers, so I let the product drive it.”
Among the small plates, an all-black, crispy squid bun with chilli (€10); crispy pork cheek with gherkins and galangal buttermilk (€9.50); smoked salmon with kombu, radish, wasabi and soy gel (€12) and oyster wakame, rice vinegar, agave (€12.50). Main courses start at €19 for the crispy chicken leg with bell pepper, cashews, garlic and black vinegar, and go up to €30 for the barbecue beef sirloin with umami hollandaise sauce and black garlic. In dishes to share, grilled whole turbot with coconut and langoustine bisque (market price) and lamb casserole with condiments and steamed pancakes (€65).
On the third floor, Tanuki Terrace is a bright, leafy space where drinks will be served at tables inside and on the terrace, starting Friday. A yakitori menu will be served in this space from December 1, and hot and cold snacks will be available at the Suki cocktail bar.
The company has employed 95 people, which is expected to increase to 102 in the coming weeks. It will be open seven days a week.