Russell Wilde, Richmond Restaurant

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In Portobello’s Richmond Restaurant, Russell Wilde delivers a masterclass in the art of service.
It’s not just Mr Wilde’s speed, efficiency and charm that mark him out as being quite exceptional, however. It’s also his use of language.
“May I pour you some water?”, he asks, a phrase that manages to be both solicitous and authoritative.
And that is Mr Wilde’s brilliance: he is in total charge of the dining room at Richmond, but his presence is discreet. He is so on top of his game that he can almost disappear until, suddenly, he is at your table at just the right moment. Magic.
This is spellbinding service, and we would like to propose that Mr Wilde be immediately co-opted onto the faculty at DIT in order to instruct a generation of culinary arts students into the mechanics of service as a sublime art form, and the correct language to use to put customers at their ease.
He’s the guy to explain why saying “You’re welcome” works every time, whilst saying “No problem” fails in every respect.
Mr Wilde is helped by the fact that the kitchen fires out food that he is justifiably proud to serve. Richmond food is food that is good on a Tuesday evening when you want to relax, and great on a bustling Friday night when you want to party – lentil and mushroom pie; goat’s cheese dumplings with sage; crispy rabbit with spiced slaw; hazelnut creme brulée.
This is friendly food, accessible, enjoyable, and perfectly judged in its artful mix of spicy, crunchy, garlicky, crispy tactility. Dublin could do with fifty Richmonds. And about 250 Russell Wildes would make the city a much better place, too.