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Moody, romantic and sexy, this new neighbourhood wine bar is the antithesis of most Haverstock Hill venues – and hugely welcome here. It’s owned by Andrew and Mary-Jane Fishwick, who run Maida Vale’s highly successful Truscott Arms. Dark wood, marble counters, and low lighting create a smoochy atmosphere on both floors, with diners and drinkers seated along the sleek bar or at intimate tables. Bottles line the kitchen partition, a nod to the staggering 380 wines offered: hailing from Armenia to Argentina and many available by the glass. The Fishwicks seem intent on educating our palates and judging by the intense, mineral Herri Mina 2013 and the organic Loimer Grüner Veltliner 2013, they’re succeeding. In the kitchen, chef Aiden McGee creates seasonal British-accented small plates. Beef chips, made from tender slow-braised beef cheek wrapped in polenta, are perfect for an autumn evening. So too is the meat board, featuring rich potted duck and pressed British pork. Our braised rabbit croquettes were rather chewy and Cornish cod needed more seasoning, but food quality generally exceeds that of most wine bars. And although service can be scatty, the friendly waiters give excellent recommendations. A great local asset.
The Truscott Cellar is a wine bar and restaurant in Belsize Park, a residential neighbourhood in North London. As the name implies, it has a strong focus on wine, but food is definitely not an also-ran; the short menu offers a range of small dishes that are delicious, fairly priced and a great sop to the wine. And speaking of wine, it’s enormously pleasing to note that every single wine listed is available by the glass, carafe or bottle.
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