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|Address:||187b Wardour Street, London W1F 8ZB|
|Tel:||020 7434 1550|
|Price: £40.00||Wine: £19.00|
|Opening Hours:||Mon-Sun 4pm-12.30am|
1 of 1 people found this review helpful.
Anywhere that has a menu where no item is more than a cockle (including the cockles) is on to a winner. When each of said items is matched to a cocktail, raises the bar from winner to borderline genius.
The Coal Vaults is a basement bar, housed in a former vault used for storing coal. The black stuff has, fortunately, been cleared out, and the interior polished to a bright brick hue, whilst the floor of the loos has been covered in pennies and polished to a bright copper hue.
As I have noted before, basement bars are always tricky to get right. 28-50 did it marvellously, and has since expanded to Marylebone and Mayfair. The Coal Vaults deserves to be just as successful, if with a slightly different format and target audience. Whilst 28-50 focuses on the wine, with perfectly nice food to go with it, Coal Vaults focuses the food: right on trend small plates; lots of pulled this and potted that, with charred, caramelized (sic) and heritage all getting a nod too, from a chef who knows his onions (not to mention his palourdes and pickled walnuts).
There is some perfectly nice wine (and some truly excellent craft beers), but on the drinks front here, it is the cocktail that it is the king, with a different one whipped up to match each different dish. You can go for the classics, but it seems better to take one from the changing list of modern ones, knocked up in front of you from a list of interesting concoctions (yoghurt; in a cocktail?).
The Coal Vaults faces lots of competition around here, with the likes of Spuntino, 10 Greek Street, Duck Soup and Polpo all being within staggering distance, but that it can be mentioned so quickly in the same sentence as these Soho luminaries speaks volumes for its quality.
At this point I have to confess an interest in the success of this bar as I, together with my American mate Andy (of reviews passim), have helped to back this lovely place. But don't just take vested interest as a reason for why I think you should go, take that of a professional. I have 27 followers on this fine site. BarChick has over 12,000 for her Twitter thingy. Her take: “woaaaah! You guys are on point… Hottest new kid on the block”. Never has anything quite so true been conveyed in 140 characters or less: if I knew how to on-tweet it, I would. As I don’t, I'll just say: :-) (Y) Like.