My friend Edwige was visiting. On a particularly miserable afternoon, not wanting to waste a day of her stay, she and I braved it out and took a walk down Dawson Street in the heart of Dublin. It was a typical grey ,drizzly Dublin afternoon. We saw the bright red, normal looking exterior of a restaurant which ,intriguingly, said, ‘Cafe en Seine’. As a nod to Edwige’s nationality and having remembered a mention of it in a guide book, we decided to go in– and- well, we just wanted to be out of the rain and in a warm place, anyway !
What greeted us was a most amazing interior- something like the sets of the film, Moulin Rouge . It was kind of dimly lit in red, blue, green and yellow- and as I grappled for a word- ‘decadent’ spluttered to mind.
Not exactly the cheerful, bright, bustling atmosphere that you want in a cafe- but terribly intriguing !
My first thought was-‘leave!’ but as my eyes became accustomed to the dim lights it became, as Alice said, curiouser and curiouser . It was ,I think, all possible styles put together in a flamboyant, opulent manner.
From Byzantine mosaic floors in the first room (yes, there were four rooms)
– to an exposed brick wall with an ornate Victorian mirror over an elaborate fireplace and white marble planters in another-
Painted ,wood paneled walls in coral, sea green and lemon, and white urns –
To large glossy stone sculptures, including those of voluptuous nudes and lots of Art Deco lamps hung from the ceiling and smaller table lamps with red shades-
And a room with a high ceiling with skylights that looked like one of the covered passages of Paris- with Art Deco and Art Nouveau style decorations on the walls- and a bar with enormous urns–
And a fourth room with a high, glass paneled ceiling with hanging plants(even those grew in profusion !) and terribly vulgar chandeliers, which, curiously, seemed right-
Down to the cushions of printed Burlap and modern,fuchsia and lemon swirling prints on leather clad seats- you cannot get more eclectic than this !
It seemed like a fairly lively place which served me a good lamb steak and Edwige a nice fresh salad . It apparently bursts at the seams with people on weekend evenings. Since my husband likes to stay at home on most- and I don’t want to go alone- I have no way of finding out !
Cafe en Seine in its modern form was built and owned by a Dublin gentleman, Liam O’Dwyer. If he did the decor- hats off to him !
I did a bit of my own research and discovered something that was somehow very apt for a setting as decadent as this– that this place was in receivership ! You can almost visualize the proverbial Nero playing his harp inside Cafe en Seine while Rome burns or, at least, while its coffers are emptying ..
Here is the special thing– you may not want to live in a house done in such an opulent style – but you can have different, extravagant things all together and make them work ! And, as in this case, have many and big rather than few and small !