Wilde's Wine Bar
When a restaurant has been in existence for 37 years, it’s easy to get stuck in a rut. Yet Wilde’s continually reinvents itself and regularly changes the menus and wine list without losing the essential character belonging to such a Leamington institution, recently voted one of the UK’s top 50 bars by The Independent.
In its latest manifestation under the management of Ollie Paginton and chef Richard Bramble, the à la carte menu adheres to the classic six-six-six formula; that is, a choice of six dishes for each course. It is the ideal ratio for neighbourhood restaurants, as opposed to the numerous gastropubs and bars-that-do-food, and it is complemented and supplemented by a choice of steaks and the regularly changing prix-fixe menu.
On the wine list are more than 50 wines from all the major growing areas of both the Old and New World, including a special section devoted to red Bordeaux, proving that good claret is not beyond the reach of those who aren’t billionaires.
Also popular at lunchtime for its excellent-value prix-fixe menu, it’s in the evening that Wilde’s comes into its own. The ambience is enhanced by candlelight, with eclectic art on the walls and a real buzz from professional young staff. It is a destination restaurant, of course; but also, as Waitrose Food Illustrated magazine said, a ‘local hero’.