We headed East to see how Italian wines and small dishes work as the backdrop for events
When Bottles launched this summer in Old Spitalfields Market, everyone thought it was just another wine bar. And although it offers some of the most impressive selection of Italian and international wines in the area, it is so much more than a place to get your vino.
For one, it’s an excellent event space. Its casual vibe, City
location and romantic atmosphere make for an ideal place to host an intimate office party, product launch or drinks reception. With a residential, neighbourhood feel and large communal tables (on both floors), having sit-down meals or receptions with bountiful buffets of canapés are both great options.
If you’re not looking to hire out the entire 50-cover space, the downstairs area is well suited for private dining and has an exciting open kitchen (this is also the place for regular supper clubs and events). And although wine is the main focus here, the food is serious, too. And that is Bottles’ second strong-point. Often, wines are selected based on how they pair with the food, but at Bottles, the menu is curated based on how they complement the wine.
We tasted the Montepulciano Valle Reale 2016 (Italy Abruzzo) alongside the cured meat and cheese selection to start with. This can be upgraded depending on the size of your group (if you’re between eight and 10, you can get a 1m-long board of delights).
We then shared a number of small plates (roasted beetroot, Cornish leaves, orange and candied almonds; grilled Romanesco, pumpkin puree and pickled pumpkin; burrata , Jerusalem artichoke, pickled black radish and hazelnuts; and beef bavette bruschetta with celeriac truffle, mustard puree and pickled cucumber). The latter was definitively our favourite.
There are fresh pasta dishes on offer too, and we particularly liked the sound of the handmade tortellini with candied radicchio, gorgonzola sauce and walnuts, but we simply couldn’t fit anything else in. This is a good sign your guests won’t leave empty-stomached after your event – they can say goodbye to that late-night takeaway on your way home.
The team behind it all are the co-founders of Bottles & Battles in Mercato Metropolitano, Franco Machini and Daniele Merano, who have teamed up with pop-up restaurant concept SOOD Family. The focus of the restaurant is on quality wines made by independent producers and small farms, showcasing regional and indigenous varieties.
The group has clearly brought its knowledgeable staff across to Bottles, as well-informed and enthusiastic sommeliers help you make the right choice of wine to suit your palette. We also love the outdoor terrace (facing Spitalfields Market), which has heaters, making it usable all year-round – but we imagine it will truly come to life in the summer months.