Category Archives: Wine

161 Food + Drink, Sydenham

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Photo credit to Drink Up London

“This place looks a bit like a mini Toasted in Dulwich” – I exclaimed upon perching on my stool beneath two groaning shelves of French natural wines in the teeny, tiny, ultra-cosy 161 Food + Drink, Sydenham. Cue owner Alex flying right over to justify my observation. Indeed, there is a connection – he formally worked at Toasted with then Chef Matt Osborne, who also worked at my other favourite, Terroirs in Covent Garden. Part of London’s clearly incestuous natural wine scene, which is expanding at a rate of knots into these leafy South London suburbs, 161 Food + Drink is like your friend’s cost front room, packed to the rafters with wine and a book case upon which rests an Italian charcuterie slicer.  Continue reading

Unwined in Tooting – Wine Bar

IMG_20160511_215508Kiki reaches into the fridge and cracks open a curious bottle of Pinot Grigio. Except far from “grigio” this one is a gorgeous shade of pale, blush, apricot – a result of skin contact – and a taste of it reveals juicy, fruity notes and even a whiff of white peach. It is 10pm and although the Wine Wednesday pop-up tasting finished half an hour ago, the good folk of Tooting attending this casual foray into grapes and wine are in no hurry. In fact a solid hour of chin-wagging has begun as more bottles are opened and more stories told of grape journeys, grape discoveries and even the best wines to pair with Gogglebox or Eurovision. We are at Unwined in Tooting. Not your average wine bar. Continue reading

Duende – Covent Garden Tapas

IMG_20160411_205013A lot of romance has been written surrounding the spirit of the word “duende” – a Spanish concept for which there is no direct English translation – relating to “having soul” (thus perpetuating that great stereotype that us Anglophones are inferior to the fiery Latins when it comes to this department)…

Well… Covent Garden is not usually where I go to “find soul” or even Latin passion (although a few Margaritas at Benito’s Hat Mexican has claimed a few souls for sure) – and sadly both of these are a tad lacking at newly opened Duende. Small, suitably dark and ever so slightly cold, the few high chairs facing the bar offer diners a spanking shiny copper top from which to eat whilst a scatter of black wood tables line the opposite side of the very tight room. It is slick and chic, rather than quaint and rustic – and I picture City suits rather than trendy, creative Madrileños. Continue reading

2011 CARM Casa Agricola Roboredo Madeira, Douro, Portugal

Carm, Douro Valley

Carm, Douro Valley

A delightful, affordable red table wine from the Douro Valley – CARM 2011 red is permanently on the menu at O Cantinho, one of the many family-run Portuguese restaurants along Stockwell Road – also known as little Portugal and a regular bolthole we visit when we miss the summer holidays… Continue reading

A Torre – Portuguese Restaurant in Crystal Palace

Espetada a Porto

Espetada a Porto

In the dead of winter, when the wind and rain lashes at your face like so many serrated knives and you immediately ditch all tentative plans to become a running/kick-boxing/Yoga-loving beach body babe that your brandy-fuggled mind thought was a good idea on New Year’s Eve, your mind veers straight to holidays. Balmy summers, cold beers, and in our case – usually – a trip to Portugal’s Algarve coast, where the other half’s amazing cook Mother resides. Continue reading

Kavaklidere Çankaya – Turkish Wine from Anatolia

Cankaya - KavaklidereI came across this wine at Sofra Turkish restaurant on St. Christopher’s Place (there are several other branches of Sofra in Mayfair and Covent Garden) – a delicious and great value for money eatery with a menu focused on colourful fresh vegetables, pulses, wholegrains, nuts and spices and the flavours of the Eastern Med – in the spirit of it’s renowned Turkish owner Hüseyin Özer. Continue reading

Toasted, Wine Shop and Restaurant – East Dulwich

Wine Vats

Wine Vats

The lovely Toasted opened to rave reviews from the likes of Fay Maschler and blogger Cheese & Biscuits back in 2013. Chef Michael Hazelwood was previously in the kitchens at emminently, consistently high quality French Man and Green Horn and Soif restaurants – both rustic, cosy temples to French wines and seasonal small plates, with a heavy penchant for the organic and biodynamic. Manager Alex Thorpe still answers the phone for reservations and bustles around the tables fussing over diners – like a proper host should. Together, they have brought a real gastronomic Christmas stocking heaving with lip-smacking treats to this little corner of East Dulwich’s vibrant Lordship Lane. Continue reading