Within the hustle and bustle of Exchequer, Wicklow and Dame Street is tucked a gem, brand new to Dublin’s hospitality scene. This hidden oasis is home to one of Dublin’s newest venues and also Irelands most sustainable hotel, Wren Urban Nest. It’s located in St. Andrews Lane in the same location of its well known predecessor, Andrews Lane Theatre. Since the theatre was closed back in 2007 and then acquired in 2016, major construction work started on the building which initially had a completion date of 2020. The space is now home to the welcoming and sustainable Wren Urban Nest which opened its doors to much anticipation in September of 2021.
A venture to the basement brings you to their bar and restaurant which is aptly named ALT, a homage to the previous tenants of that address, Andrews Lane Theatre. From the moment you approach the front door an abundance of foliage and clean/crisp decor that is fresh and inviting welcomes you. The sleekly designed frontage to the hotel is a welcome bright addition to Andrews Lane and is facing a staple in the Dublin dining scene, Pichet Restaurant.
We were welcomed with a smile by the charming manager Kevin who was at the front of house and escorted us into ALT, our jackets were taken and he brought us to our table for the evening. The style and decor of ALT at Wren Urban Nest is second to none and is very calming and relaxing. The all wooden furniture and neutral colour scheme of the entire venue is perfectly designed to create a space of serene stylishness and zen. Dried floral arrangements are placed throughout the room with faux sheep skin throws over the lounge area sofas. The cream/tan/coffee elegant furnishings are well balanced throughout the room with reading materials also placed in the central counter top for guests to unwind in the tranquil space.
Our well informed and sociable Italian waiter went through the brand new cocktail menu with us which lists off ten artisanal and unique cocktails to choose from. All of ALT’s cocktails are created by their in-house mixologist and showcase some of Irelands well known liquor brands alongside some of the smaller distilleries that Ireland hosts. While we perused the dinner menu we decided to whet our palates with the “Thingmote” cocktail which is their own personal twist on a traditional Sidecar. The cocktail is a well balanced mixture of Irish Organic Apple Brandy, Pot Still Irish Whiskey, lemon, egg whites, orange bitters and sugar. We also sampled the “Costa Del Courtown” Courtown being the place in the sunny south east that most Irish people spent many a Summer in.
. This refreshing blend of ingredients was sweet and smooth and is a twist on the classic Clover Club. Blackwater Wexford Strawberry Gin is mixed with creme de fraise, fresh strawberries, egg whites, lemon and sugar. Both cocktails are priced at €15 each and our waiter assisted us perfectly in choosing these taste bud stimulating cocktails that were perfect as a pre-dinner drink.
After much deliberation because we could not choose from the delicious selection of starters, we eventually decided to try the Homemade Wonky Veg Soup (€7.95) and the Falafel Poppets (€12.95) ALT boasts plenty of options for Vegans and Vegetarians on the menu.
The Wonky Veg Soup of the day was a roasted red pepper soup served with lightly toasted brown bread. The soup itself was creamy, rich and packed full of flavour. The lightly drizzled oil added a welcome herb note to the overall taste and the soup had a sense of indulgence with its intense aromas.
The Falafel Poppets came in 3 golf ball size pieces lightly fried in a crisp crumb. The centre of each poppet was a hearty mixture of spiced falafel served on a bed of lightly spiced roasted red pepper and tahini sauce. The combination of flavours and textures brought balance to the overall dish.
The main course was brought out after a perfect amount of time to allow the starters to digest fully. The menu contains a mixture of meat, chicken, seafood and vegetarian options and the red wine demi-glaze beef cheeks were proving to be popular that day as the item was sold out.
We chose the Hereford Rib-eye which was a good size 10oz steak at €37. The cut of meat was beautiful with very light marbling through it and cooked to perfection. The knife glided through the cut of beef which was mouth watering and tender. The steak was served with sauteed asparagus, roasted vine tomatoes, confit shallots, hand-cut fries and a thick and spicy pepper sauce. To balance out we opted for the vegetarian option, a Roast Beetroot Risotto at €18.95. The portion size was perfect for the risotto and the sweet earthy flavours from the roast beetroot had light smoky notes added to the dish. It was served garnished with wild Wicklow mushrooms, candied beets, carrot ginger puree and baby carrots. The dish was well executed and the different textures changed up each mouthful.
To wrap up the evening, we decided to share one of the desserts, a Triple Chocolate Brownie for €8.95. Luckily we decided to share as the portion size was quite generous. The brownie was served warm leaving the centre very rich and moist and giving the exterior a perfectly light crunch. The bitter dark 70% cacao chocolate married quite well with the milk and white chocolate baked into the brownie. Garnished with honeycomb, a chocolate soil, rum and ice cream, it was a perfect ending to a delicious meal. We washed the meal down with one more cocktail each and of course we just had to try the “Hog Hill” which is ALT’s take on an espresso martini. Contour espresso is used with a coffee liquor, Teeling Small Batch Whiskey and a banana liquor. This was quite a surprising addition to a traditional cocktail and I will be back to try this one again. Last up was the “Pye Corner” recommended by our waiter. The sweetness was mixed well with the sour and tangy ingredients to create a perfect after dinner drink. It was a combination of Mor Pineapple Handcrafted Gin with creme de peche, banana liqueur, Wray & Nephew P/P Rum, angostura, pineapple, lime and sugar.
We had a great evening in ALT at Wren Urban Nest and this treasure of a venue will soon become a staple in the Dublin dining scene. The head chef Ronato has done an amazing job with the diversity of ingredients creating the most sustainable menu possible with options to suit all palates. We already know what we are having next time we visit and ALT is definitely on our list of Must Visit Places in Dublin.
ALT at Wren Urban Nest Dublin, St. Andrews Lane, Dublin.2 D02 P9K0
Phone: +353 (0)1 223 4555