Wine is on the menu [Ed: …again] tonight thanks to the 28-50 Wine Workshop & Kitchen (and their MASSIVE wine menu). But will we be raising a glass at Fetter Lane, or will we bottle it? Samina investigates…
In A Word:
Couples and small groups. Given its elegant location, there are lots of business people and professionals in suits having an after work drink or dinner.
Wine and food are a perfect combination, but when it goes wrong, it goes horribly wrong. So how do you avoid a wine horror story? A lesson in wine tasting perhaps? Well, the 28-50 Wine Workshop & Kitchen on Fetter Lane, London may be a good starting point. It’s actually part of a chain wine bar started by Agnar Sverrisson and the team behind Michelin starred Textured Restaurant.
With an immense selection of wine, and a stylish modern European menu, this sounds like the place for the sophisticated/aspiring sophistcate wine lover and foodie. But how does it fare with Tasting Britain?
The first thing I have to talk about is the general vibe and interior here. As you step through the front door you’re greeted by a staircase. Jack and I leisurely follow them down, admiring the bottles of what we assume to be rare or collectable wines (Penfolds Grange, anyone?). There are a few of these scattered around and locked behind glass windows. It certainly gives the impression that they see wine as an art form as well as a drink.
We come to a grey curtain and behind it, we find the bar and dining area. We’re shown to our table and I glance around examining the combination of oak flooring, neutral interiors and charming rustic tables. There is a warm and inviting atmosphere here, almost like you’re being shown around someone’s residence. A wine lover’s ‘Pied-à-terre’ hidden somewhere beneath the glass, bricks and concrete of The City.
The Wine Lists
When they say they have an extensive wine list, they really do mean it. Their wines are chosen by a master sommelier (AKA a big expert in wine) to create an impressive list. As well as having a standard (although vast) wine menu at the table where you can order a 75ml, 125ml or 250ml glass or bottle, they also have a ‘Collector’s List’ where you can only buy by the bottle.
There are some exclusive and expensive wines here, with the priciest being £800… If that’s a little out of your budget, the standard menu has more reasonably priced items. But where do you start? Jack and I order our food and leave the decision to our own sommelier. This should be good.
We have a glass of bubbly to start. It has a bold, fruity flavour and a gentle fizz which makes it very easy to drink. Oh dear…
Our starters arrive and I’m already impressed by my Crab Salad. It’s beautifully presented, full of colour and vibrancy. The crab has is soaked in a delicate dressing and the overall flavour is heightened by the sweet mango pieces and avocado purée. It’s accompanied by a glass of Torrents, El Abasto, Mendoza, Argentina. An impressive, fragrant wine. I’m picking up bursts of floral notes as I sip on this light wine. An absolute treat.
Jack’s Salmon Gravlax is another delicious dish. The light and delicate flavour of the salmon works perfectly well with the dill crust and mustard sauce. The dense rye bread makes a fulfilling accompaniment to the fish. It’s just as satisfying as you’d expect from a good salmon gravlax.
Onto the mains and we’re presented with a different glass of wine. I’ve been given a glass of Pinot Noir, Maxa, Yarra Valley, Australia which has a deep-cherry colour and bold undertones. The plates arrive and I’m eager to try my Cep Risotto. The rice is creamy and perfectly cooked with just the right amount of cheese. The mushrooms are tender and the baby onions add a dash of sweetness to the dish. The Pinot Noir adds another layer of warmth but cuts through the density of the dish.
Jack is sticking to the fish and has the Mackerel. It’s very Mediterranean thanks to the combination of black olives, cherry tomatoes and basil. It’s light and refreshing and more satisfying with the presence of cannellini beans. The mackerel is tender and slightly crispy on the outside. Tasty and healthy! There is also a side order of Triple Cooked Chips. Crisp on the outside and fluffy on the inside. Perfect.
So I’m feeling a tad spaced out, due to the fact I may have drunk the bubbly too fast…maybe a dessert will help? I order the Ice Cream and Sorbet Selection and turn down the offer of a dessert wine. Rather unfortunate but I don’t think I can manage it. The plate arrives quickly and I’m intrigued by their oval, cocoon shapes.
The ice creams are vanilla and white chocolate. Both are rich, delightfully creamy and intensely flavoured. The two sorbets are pear and passionfruit. Again, both are strong in flavour, the pear sorbet is sweet and slightly grainy while the passionfruit sorbet adds a tangy twist which balances the sweetness and creaminess of the ice cream. It’s my favourite of the four.
The 28-50 restaurant certainly has a sophisticated ambience, elegant interiors and of course, a diverse wine list – the biggest I’ve seen so far on my culinary adventures. Although the menu is small, the food is top notch here, full of contrasting flavours that makes every mouthful exciting. The only prerequisite is that you need a certain amount of love for wine.
They are very serious about wine here so you need to at least like it enough to allow your sommelier to make recommendations if you don’t know what you’re looking for. I just wish I didn’t down the bubbly at the start!