Following stints at The Paternoster Chop House and The Boundary, chef Peter Weeden decided to take the plunge and open his own gaff – a gentrified gastro-boozer and restaurant that has quickly become ‘swamped’ with Fitzrovia foodies. Given his CV, it’s no surprise to find British seasonal flavours taking pride of place on the plate, with obscurities such as scrumpets (meaty nuggets of deep-fried pork) and pouting (cod’s lesser known cousin) suggesting ‘a roll call from a 19th-century bordello’. Head upstairs, past the fish prints to the ‘refined’, oak-floored dining room, where the terse daily menu might offer helpings of duck egg with spiced cauliflower, ‘wonderfully rich’ hare with fennel, or skate with lemon and watercress. Otherwise, pitch up at the bar for a plate of Colchester oysters (‘shucked to perfection’) with something from the Old World wine list.
Newman Street Tavern’s wine list is big, with more than 300 bottles to choose from, yet it never feels unwieldy. The wines are presented in a fascinating way, with themed selections such as ‘mountains and volcanoes’, ‘stone’ and ‘garrigue’, but it never feels off-putting, despite the presence of some non-traditional, hard-to-get wines.
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