Saturday, 31 October 2009

Fernandez & Wells Food & Wine Bar, Soho (London)

Forget meditation and long walks through the park. On a chilly London evening, when I need to get to my happy place, I go to Fernandez & Wells.

Last night the Greedy Diva and her trusty side kicks hit the Fernandez and Wells Food and Wine Bar for some pre-dinner merriment. Chris was visiting from North Carolina and, having dragged him around to a few old man pubs during the week, it was time to turn things up a notch.

By day Fernandez is a cute lunch spot, loaded up with tasty bocadillos and ciabattas, salads, soups and stews. The ham, Montgomery cheddar and piccalilli, and the mortadella, aioli, sausage, rocket, shaved parmesan and parma ham, are particular Greedy Diva favourites. Grill them up and chow down in glee. The Portuguese custard tarts ("pasteis de nata") are also gold. All are the result of simple, fresh, quality ingredients, knocked up beautifully.

By night Fernandez transforms into a lively hive of revelry, particularly by the end of the working week. Binge on comte and manchego as you savor a delicious selection of wines by the bottle or glass. Crowd among the hanging hams while gorging on chorizo, cured hams, salamis and cornichons. And the raclette....well, they won't pour it directly down your throat (I checked) but forget about Weight Watchers for a night.

Service is smiley (wouldn't you be?) and helpful. One gets the feeling you need a passion for food and wine to work here.

For those who feel they have thoroughly done the rounds of the plentiful Fernandez wine board, word has it that the selection is changing in the next few weeks.

A little treasure on Lexington Street, Fernandez is just around the corner from the Fernandez and Wells Cafe on Beak Street - our morning coffee staple. In addition to similar sandwich options as at the Wine Bar, the cafe is a haven for rich espressos, cakes, pastries and the delectable toasted ham and cheese croissant.

The Fernandez and Wells Espresso Bar, just a short stumble away in St Anne's Court, recently snared a liquor licence. It will soon evolve into a more casual version of the established Food and Wine Bar (more tapas, less jambon), which is probably a format better suited to its narrow alleyway location. I'll be on the look out.

Until then, the Food and Wine bar remains a happy place to find foodie bliss. And a good one to pull out of the box when you need to impress your globe trotting friends.

Fernandez & Wells Food and Wine Bar, 43 Lexington Street, Soho, W1F 9AL

Fernandez & Wells on Urbanspoon 

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