West Kirby whispers have been circulating for some time about a swanky new restaurant opening in the heart of the seaside town. Having been open for just over a month, West 34 has sparked intrigue and curiosity amongst locals and, as ever, at Urbanista we feel it our duty to share the gossip! Whether you have had a peek through the West 34 windows whilst ambling down Banks Road or whether you have never seen the new establishment, we feel it our duty of care to share a fine wine and dining experience at this trendy new bistro.
West 34 takes its name from the address (34 Banks Road) having recently been refurbished following the closure of Scog’s. Throughout the rebirth of this iconic dining venue (once home to What’s Cooking), new owners Billy and Victoria Preston have strived with meticulous precision to create the perfect balance between class and a relaxed vibe. My Mother is a lady of expensive taste and has a wealth of experience in the finer things in life, so who better to accompany me on this review than the Lady herself?
We arrived at 7.30pm on the Thursday and were embraced by a bustling bar and chilled background music. I am a firm believer that music in a restaurant, or any establishment for that matter, is one of the key ingredients to creating an experience and straight away we felt at ease. Subliminal beats and jazzy twists danced playfully behind the chatter of those enjoying cocktails and such at the bar and those already dining after a hard day at work. We were pleasantly escorted to the top right hand corner of the restaurant and our table for two next to the window allowed us to appreciate day turning into night. Like many of the other guests, I had also had a hard day at work so red wine was an immediate requirement and we were tended to with a swift service despite the place being pretty much full. The wine menu was beyond my level of sophistication but with some assistance from Mother we chose the French Cotes du Rhone-Villages Luis Bernard, a soft, juicy strawberry Grenache, and despite my lack of knowledge I could tell that this was a quality red — smooth, warm and easy to drink.
The dinner menu was a great topic of conversation for us — not because there was too much to choose from (four starters and seven mains making it easy work) but because the dishes were so unique and quirky. I must say, for a place of grandeur the prices were very reasonable indeed! To start, Mother chose Prawn Skagen Toast (Atlantic Prawns, sour cream, Dijon, red onion, dill, light rye) whereas I opted for Burrata di Puglia (Mozzarella, buffalo tomato, first press olive oil, micro basil, crusty bread). For the main dish, Mother chose Bang Bang Chicken (Corn-fed star anise shredded chicken, chilli, peanut, glass noodles, cucumber salad) whereas I opted for Sri Lankan Curry (3 hour braised lamb, spices, ginger, coconut, bone broth, courgette, coriander, fragrant wild rice). There was something for everyone on this simple menu but having never sampled a Sri Lankan Curry before I was particularly looking forward to this dish.
During our dining we were not rushed nor were we neglected despite the staff being evidently very busy. Mother’s prawn starter melted in the mouth and the crispy toast broke easily — so far so good for this judge. My slices of mozzarella worked very well with the tomato and the micro basil gave my starter an elegant twist — not the most filling of starters but my mind was fixated on my main! We did not have to wait too long for our main dishes and when they arrived they were presented impeccably. Mother’s Bang Bang Chicken (sliced peanut infused chicken with noodles) took her back to the 80s as this was her favourite dish in London at the time — the senses bringing back memories — and we were later told that this West 34 dish was inspired by that of The Ivy in London. My much anticipated Sri Lankan Curry did not disappoint! The lamb fell to pieces and there were so many subtle flavours to make this a very well balanced dish indeed. Even the rice was unique in its own right and having consumed countless curries in my life, this was of its own genre.
Time escaped us as we became lost in relaxation and before we knew it we had been there for over two hours! As the end of our visit edged closer, the lovely waitress, Roxy, and the ever affable owner, Billy, both assisted with our final decisions. Mother chose Chocolate Olive Oil Cake for dessert (Ground Almonds, toasted coconut, creme fraiche) whereas I opted for Affogato (Homemade espresso ice cream, Amaretto, Frangelico, toasted hazelnut). To accompany these, Mother had an espresso coffee and I enjoyed an Espresso Martini cocktail (Vodka, kalhua, espresso, vanilla syrup). The chocolate dessert was sweet, crumbly and truly sumptuous and as for my ice cream — WOW! Co-owner Victoria had prepared it that very day and it was so creamy and full of flavour! The nutty touch was just right and I took great delight in pouring my little pot of Amaretto all over it to create a taste I have never experienced before. Yet another first for me was the Espresso Martini cocktail — surprisingly delicious and easy to drink. What a classy way to finish a classy evening!
For fine wine and dining in the heart of West Kirby, West 34 is where you’ll find it…..
(P.S new themed cocktail menu coming soon)