Sika Restaurant is in the Powerscourt Hotel, in the grounds of the Powerscourt Estate in Enniskerry. This was once the Ritz Carlton, and the restaurant was Gordon Ramsay’s first foray into Ireland. We have a bit of history here; Paolo walked through it prior to opening with developer Johnny Ronan, while since then we have reviewed it every year or so.
The hotel is a grand affair, and when we arrive on an October evening the foyer is resplendent. Dozens of upright vases contain an array of colourful flowers in autumnal colours. On closer inspection the large cylinders contain delicate little china cups inside, like minute works of art hidden amongst the stems.
Sika is reached down the sweeping staircase and is large, gracious and effortlessly elegant. Sweeping windows frame views across the Powerscourt estate towards the Sugarloaf, and round tables are well spaced while a banquette runs down the centre. Chairs are comfortably upholstered and the stemware and silverware sparkle. The table cloths are not more, and I’m not sure I like that in this room - it seems a little under dressed.
The kitchen is now under head chef Marek Sulg, who originally hails from Estonia, and a preview of the menu online shows he brought some of that tradition with him. The new Autumnal menu offers three courses for €55, which if the crowd here on this evening is any indication, is going down a bomb.
Starters include green apple cannelloni with Lambay crab, smoked Thornhill duck, St. Tola’s goat’s cheese, pork belly and scallop duo and cured organic salmon, which would be a staple in Estonia and across Scandinavia.
Main courses offer a choice of steaks from the grill, or Springhill duck, pan fried halibut, roasted monkfish tail or a pea risotto. It’s a well chosen menu, and wears the provenance of the ingredients front and centre and it’s good to see a kitchen stitching their colours to the mast.
The food scientist starts with the cured salmon, having an inability to pass this dish. This plate is perfectly prepared and an oyster aioli and cucumber jelly complement and are in turn cut with lime. Light and fresh it’s quite delicious.
I am at the other end of the spectrum; zingy succulent pork belly cooked in cider and lemongrass combine with sweet delicate scallop to cause little taste explosions.
Main courses bring Abigail the very generous roasted monkfish tail Sautéed samphire and braised leeks accompany. She does a good job demolishing it, since I am preoccupied with some perfectly pink duck breast with braised fennel, and beluga lentils. I love the combination of pulse and game, and it’s very well done here.
The food scientist has a not so secret chocolate addiction, and the chocolate sphere, which melts on the plate when warm chocolate is poured over, it is a temptation impossible to forego. I am positively abstemious with a raspberry mille fuille with raspberry sorbet. We finish a fine meal with tea a coffee and linger as the room continues to buzz.
Taking our leave I remember other meals here in the days of fine dining and Michelin starred absentee patrons. I like this new iteration, its certainly more accessible, and the room is busier than at any other time I have visited. The Powerscourt Hotel is very close to Dublin, and this is a place to feel like you’ve escaped from Dublin in twenty minutes.
I’d like to go back for Sunday lunch or even a drink after a hill walk. Check it out for yourself if you fancy a bit of bling that won’t break the bank.