|Onglet, thick cut chips & sauce choron|
I finally made my first visit to 28-50 Wine Workshop & Kitchen last week. And, quite frankly, I'm smitten.
28-50 Wine Workshop & Kitchen is a relaxed wine bar style restaurant brought to us by some of the business partners behind the upmarket, modern European venture, Texture. Head chef, Paul Walsh was the sous chef at Gordon Ramsay, Royal Hospital Road for 5 years before heading up the kitchen bringing simple food with a French influence. Yes, there's more to this easy going basement restaurant than meets the eye.
The 28-50 name refers to the latitudes between which wine is largely grown - and master sommelier, Xavier Rousset, and manager Ed Newman certainly seem to know their stuff about wine. There's an extensive selection - and a reasonably priced range of 15 red and 15 white wines by the glass, carafe and bottle. However, it could not be less intimidating. I gave Ed a few suggestions as to the types of wines I liked, and he guided me through some terrific glasses - a big, bold German Riesling (Horst Sauer, Escherdorfer Lump) and TPG's smooth, elegant Viognier (VDP Yves Cuilleron, Rhone, France, £7.25/glass) were among them.
There's a specially featured wine maker of the month each month and some of our table enjoyed flights of 3 fantastic wines from Vieux Telegraphe of Chateauneuf-du-Pape (which felt fitting since TPG and I had been drinking in the region only the week before). I recall the flights cost around £19, but the price seems to vary each month and normally they seem to be around the £13 mark.
There's also a comprehensive Collector List of fine wines for serious wine buffs.
A passion for wine is driving the restaurant, although the food is remarkably good. I loved TPG's meaty duck rillettes with cornichons and sour dough toast (£7) as much as my own oozy Burrata pugliese simply dressed with balsamic vinegar and rocket (£6.50). I stole a bite of Jeremy's foie gras terrine, that day's special, which was utterly superb.
My onglet was cooked perfectly at medium-rare and immensely enjoyable - full flavoured, with that hit of offal-like undertones that I like in a good piece of onglet. It comes with thick cut chips, crunchy on the outside and hot and fluffy within, as well as a lovely sauce choron (a sauce similar to a bearnaise with added tomato puree) (£15.50).
The pig cheeks and belly with swede and quince were also a big hit - I particularly liked the tender, juicy cheeks (£15.50).
|Almond & cinnamon cake with pear sorbet|
Oddly, we went without the cheeses from La Fromagerie and straight to enjoying a sticky wine with desserts (£6 each). My almond and cinnamon cake with pear sorbet was gorgeous - steaming hot, comforting, and not overpowering on the cinnamon - while the boys all went crazy for the vanilla rice pudding with praline ice cream and maple syrup.
It's all simple stuff, but it's so enjoyable - quality ingredients handled perfectly. With food and wine this good and so reasonably priced, you'd be really hard pushed not to have a great night. The setting is casual - wooden floorboards and tables, wine shelves and brickwork on the walls - and the atmosphere was buzzy during our Thursday night visit. It's a relaxed, feel good place. I love it.
We spent about £60/head owing to our enthusiastic wine sampling on the evening - you could enjoy a great night there for less. There's also a 2 course lunch menu for £15.95. Various wine workshops are run at the restaurant throughout the year for £25 per head.
28-50 Wine Workshop & Kitchen, 90 Fetter Lane, London EC4A 1BT (Tel: 020 7242 8877)