First Look: Hyde, a four-storey, multimillion-euro restaurant and bar complex off Grafton Street

The central Dublin venue is set to hold up to 600 customers at its cafe-bar, cocktail bar and restaurants

A four-storey hospitality venue with multiple bars and restaurants, which when fully operational will be capable of hosting up to 600 people, is to open this week in Dublin city centre. The new venue, Hyde, is on Lemon Street, which connects Grafton Street with Royal Hibernian Way.

The first phase of the multimillion-euro development, a ground-floor cafe bar and second-floor cocktail bar and restaurant, will open on Friday, November 11th. An additional level, which has another restaurant, a bar and a terrace, will open for drinks on Friday, and food on December 1st. The top floor, for which planning is being sought for a 104-seat covered outside space, is due to be completed in early 2023.

The venue will serve “contemporary Asian” food throughout, at its restaurants and also on its bar-food menus. Karl Whelan, formerly of Hang Dai Chinese restaurant and now joint owner of Saltwater Grocery, in Terenure, has been appointed executive chef. Jamie Belton has moved from the Ivy to become director of operations. The venture is being financed by Michael Stafford, managing director of Stafford Bonded, a Wexford-based drinks company, along with his uncle Conor O’Driscoll and three minority stakeholders, Mike Ormond, Ian Redmond and Michael Keane.

Stafford says Hyde takes its inspiration from large-scale, upmarket 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.”

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The restaurant spaces will transform into late-night bars, with music and DJs, open until 2.30am. According to Jamie Belton, the venue is being pitched at a mature crowd who will come for dinner or bar snacks and stay for drinks. “We hope they’re here for the night. If they’re not here for the night we’ve failed,” he says. Despite the scale of the building, Belton says a cap will be put on numbers. “We’re not going to pack the place; this is not a nightclub.”

The main restaurant, called Gekko, will serve a mixture of small plates and larger dishes designed to be shared. A broad spectrum of Asian influences has been drawn on to create the menu. “It’s going to be produce driven, very seasonal,” says Whelan, who has taken on the executive-chef role in addition to his involvement at Saltwater Grocery.

He describes it as being “much cleaner and more pared back, and more Japanese, in that sense” than what he was cooking at Hang Dai, and more in line with some of what he has been doing in the raw bar menu at Saltwater. “We’re getting amazing stuff from suppliers, so I’m letting the produce drive it.”

The small plates include an all-black squid bun with chilli crisp (€10); crispy pork cheek with pickles and galangal buttermilk (€9.50); kombu cured salmon, radish, wasabi and soy gel (€12) and oyster wakame, rice vinegar, agave (€12.50). Main courses start at €19 for crispy chicken thigh with sweet pepper, cashew, garlic and black vinegar, and run to €30 for barbecue beef sirloin with umami hollandaise and black garlic. Sharing dishes include grilled whole turbot with coconut and langoustine bisque (market price) and iron-pot lamb with condiments and steamed pancakes (€65).

On the third floor, Tanuki Terrace is a bright, greenery-filled space where drinks will be served at tables indoors and on the terrace, from Friday. A yakitori menu will be served in this space from December 1st, and hot and cold bar snacks will be available at Suki cocktail bar.

The venture has employed 95 staff, which is expected to rise to 102 in the coming weeks. It will open seven days a week.