Food & Drink Magazine 2013
When a restaurant has been in existence for 36 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 new head chef Steve Keenan, the menu has transformed into something tastier, significantly more accomplished and totally different from that of the numerous gastropubs and bars-that-do-food in the area. Of course, it changes with the seasons, but right now, the smoked eel salad and taste of French rabbit are best-sellers, with the assiette of English apples among the most popular desserts. 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 bankers or billionaires.
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 young and professional staff. It is a destination restaurant, of course; but also, as Waitrose Food Illustrated magazine said, a ‘local hero’.
Russell Howard, on why he loves Leamington, as told to Warwickshire Life (November 2012):
"I like this great restaurant and wine bar, Wilde's."
Thanks Russell. We're pretty keen on you, too!
"I wish you would open a Wilde's in Bordeaux!"
- Nathalie Schyler, Chateau Kirwan
"Simplicity is the order of the day at Wilde's, a cosy basement bar and restaurant that promises 'good wine, good food, good company'. Family-run since 1976, this unfussy Gallic-style venue offers a charming setting with an Old-World focused wine list of over 60 varieties (20 by the glass)."
- The Independent, Best 50 Bars
“The place to eat in the Bath of the Midlands”
– London Lite
“We love Wilde’s Wine Bar’s fish and chips – the best in Leamington – as well as its scrumptious Eton Mess. The Bohemian bar and restaurant has a great atmosphere and serves healthy portions of modern English food, plus a good selection of wines.”
– Warwickshire Preview
"A local hero"
- Waitrose Food Illustrated
"A fabulous basement bar and restaurant awash with candles in the evening. The fusion, French inspired, international menu and fine wine is an experience not to be missed."
- Coventry & Warwickshire Visitor Guide