28°-50° 1

140 Fetter Lane , London, EC4A 1BT

020 3551 9844

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SquareMeal Review of 28°-50°

Hanging out at 28°-50° is "an education", say fans of the 'wine workshop and kitchen' group founded by Agnar Sverrisson and sommelier Xavier Rousset (of Texture fame). Although Rousset has moved on, the unwavering focus is still on getting good wine into people and getting people into good wine. Expect boutique surroundings and a year-round programme of tastings and events bolstering 30 ever-changing sips by the glass, carafe and bottle. There are some fascinating tipples here, including many prestige names from their collectors list: fancy a taster of Hungarian Syrah, or a magnum of Hirtzberger's Singerriedel Riesling Smaragd? Either will be just dandy with the house charcuterie, La Fromagerie cheeses and a daily menu of creative bistro cooking. At just £19.50 for three courses, the set lunch menu is excellent value – think salt beef with sourdough toast, sea trout with caper beurre noisette and cherry clafoutis to finish.

Wine List Of The Year Finalist

28º-50º boasts an impressive wine list. It’s a ‘two lists in one’ package, with the one-page brasserie list supplemented by some high-quality fine wines. The by-the-glass selection is astonishing, with every still wine (all 50 of ’em) available in 75ml, 125ml, or 250ml carafes. Add in the chance to drink Romanée-Conti Échézeaux 1999 by the glass thanks to the Coravin system, and it’s a truly exciting offering.

Special offers

Steak and wine special: Rib eye steak, side & glass of wine £21.50

From a set menu.

From: 25 September 2017

To: 30 November 2017

Max: 12

Maximum of 12 diners. Includes Tax, excludes service.

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7.4

Food & Drink: 7.7

Service: 7.1

Atmosphere: 7.0

Value: 7.6

Food & Drink: 4.0

Service: 4.0

Atmosphere: 4.0

Value: 5.0

Peter K. 11 February 2014

I use this restaurant regularly for a quick lunch. They usually have two dishes for each course on the lunch menu, which are both good and excellent value for money. Service is quite quick too which is good at lunchtime.

Food & Drink: 4.0

Service: 2.0

Atmosphere: 4.0

Value: 3.0

bronze reviewer 26 October 2013

Having dinner with your best girlfriends is always going to be about the wine and gossip with little regard for the actual menu! In saying this though, one of said best girlfriends, Meaghan, had been to the Maddox Street branch of 28-50 and raved about the seafood platter enough that we simply had to try! After a cheeky bottle of prosecco at the nearby Patch Bar (which convenient has happy hour from 5.00 pm to 7.00 pm every night), we made the rather short walk to 28-50 in Fetter Lane for our monthly girls dinner! On arrival, we were shown straight to our table in the basement in what I can describe as having a rather rustic feel, it was quite empty when we arrived, with a mixture of what appeared to be awkward first daters and business men.. it soon however filled up! Whilst it seems strange to be excited to try a seafood restaurant when I don’t in fact eat seafood, I was sold on the intriguing wine list which boasts an extensive list of both entry level and collectors editions from the 2011 Pinot Noir, Petit Clos Henri from Marlborough, New Zealand at £39.00 per bottle, all the way through to the “collectors list” which has a 1987 Vega, Sicilia, “Unico”, Ribera del Duero at £360.00 per bottle. The ladies and I stuck with 2012 Montepulciano, “Samael”, a Sicilian wine at only £23.00 per bottle which was lovely (actually we have more than 1 but shhhh)!. Wine is always much more important that food to me.. however, the menu choice was extensive. I was a bit worried that it would be predominately seafood however I was very mistaken. Rather than having a starter, there is an offer of small bites at around £3.95 per plate which suited my party. We had the Mini Chorizo and the Pork Belly and shared between 4 of us, there was more than enough. Both were delicious. For mains we ordered the 28 day aged 200g rib eye, the lamp rump, the burger and the mussels. All mains were priced very reasonably between £12.95 (burger) and £17.95 (rib eye) however do not come with any sides which need to be ordered separately for £3.50. I hate this, I think paying close to £20.00 for a steak should come with at least a randomly placed tomato but hey ho. Service was standard, not amazing, not outstanding… would I go back?! I would but not for a while, there are zillions of restaurants in London to try. I think it would however be perfect for a work lunch or business dinner and would recommend it for that!

Food & Drink: 3.0

Service: 4.0

Atmosphere: 3.0

Value: 3.0

yummyfoodface 03 October 2012

I have heard many rave about 28-50 so thought it was worth a whirl. The fundamentals have to be right in an eatery, so straight in there with the food and wine… the wine list is excellent, the food is good, but to be honest, noting special. I can't imagine ever getting a terrible meal there, and the staff were attentive, I couldn't fault that, but it just didn't get me going. Having said that, the offer of small helpings of wine is a great touch, making this a great spot to sample a few different drops of vino over a lunch time or after a hard day's work.

Food & Drink: 3.0

Service: 3.0

Atmosphere: 3.0

Value: 3.0

Nick S. bronze reviewer 16 July 2012

I visited this restaurant with 2 other guests and we were very happy overall, but not blown away and there was nothing that would draw us back again. We booked this restaurant because of the names behind it and the association with Texture. Based on this we had high hopes and were expecting the food to be something above average and different from any other restaurants locally. The food was perfectly cooked and absolutely fine, but there wasn't anything that doesn't exist in many of the other nearby restaurants. The service fell into the same category, the staff were very adequate, but nothing memorable that made the service stand out from other experiences. The atmosphere was what you would expect from a restaurant in this area on a mid week evening. There was a nice buzz to the restaurant, but again it could have been anywhere in the city. Overall we had an excellent evening, some very nice wine and some great food. However, there wasn't anything that would make any of us rush back to this restaurant or recommend it to others. For the price of the dishes and the reputation of the associated names we were expecting to have an experience that we would want again and be talking about for a while. It was very nice for one visit, but no need to go back again.

Food & Drink: 3.0

Service: 3.0

Atmosphere: 3.0

Value: 3.0

BoatLady platinum reviewer 20 March 2012

The initial rash of reviews followed by deathly silence could tell its own story. A prologue of high expectations followed by a flabby plot, which fails to deliver on the initial promise and to capture the reader's ongoing attention perhaps? Being tucked away down some stairs on a side street you don't stumble across this place by chance, so it will have to rely on people seeking it out and on some repeat business. The quality of the food is not going to guarantee either. The menu is short and pedestrian with the usual steaks, seabream etc. I had a passable bavette steak with chips but I wouldn't go back for seconds. Still, this is a City wine bar, and it fulfills that purpose rather well. I can't really comment on the wine list, which I assume would be the draw for most, as we were on the champers, except to say there's no Prosecco or Cava. The subterranean location and elegantly restrained decor it does make it feel a bit secret special and cosy but I'm not sure that translates to “exclusivity” (thank goodness). It is pleasantly busy without being noisy. There are some good propping tables by the bar and apparently some good group tables dotted about up on the mezzanine floor. Service is adequate if not particularly memorable. As a venue it treads a graceful line between being refined, without being snooty, and being casual, without being sloppy. This should pull in repeat be-suited punters looking for a drinks venue where the food and locale might not impress but at least won't embarrass. The epilogue on this one could be a long time coming.

Food & Drink: 3.0

Service: 2.0

Atmosphere: 2.0

Value: 2.0

Victoria silver reviewer 12 October 2010

I really wanted to like this place and there's certainly no denying the owners passion and knowledge for wine but I was left a bit cold by the whole experience. The greeting we received was strange. Friendly but we were offered water at the bar whilst waiting for our guest?! What – no wine? Bread and water arrived quickly at the table but things went downhill after that, the waiting staff seemed unfamiliar with the menu and a bit unsure of themselves. The manager took our order though and was very charming. I found the food a bit fussy for the environment, it seemed to be crying out for some simple big flavours and seemed a bit ‘try hard fine dining’, the puddings however were really very, very good. It didn't seem as if the waiting staff had completed their full training as the wine we ordered came out with a different year to the menu, it wasn't mentioned and we were the ones that spotted it. The waitress (who was very sweet) looked non-plussed as to why that might be an issue. For a place that prides itself on its wine list I was shocked by that. It could have been fixed by getting the manager to recommend a different wine or to explain why the replacement year was just as good but she poured on regardless. I love the idea of the wine flights though and I'm sure some people will love it. I think if I was to go back it would be to try lots of different wines and share some bread and olives. Oh and bearing in mind it's had a recent fit out and is brand new, how come the toilets looked like they've been ripped out of a council leisure centre?

Food & Drink: 4.0

Service: 3.0

Atmosphere: 3.0

Value: 4.0

Junglefresh. gold reviewer 05 October 2010

I think Sabrina's been too generous… I've lunched here twice recently (eg last week) and here's my lowdown. The ambiance is depressed by total absence of natural light – not a summer venue. The decor is fine, though, neither loud not too muted. The service is good, in that it's not evident, but not impressive either though dishes came when they were suppposed to and no mistakes were made. Last time, I had the burrata – I can't believe it was an Italian burrata because it was small, they only served half of it and it was tough and not the almost melt in your mouth, creamy, fresh cheese that distinhuishes burrata from similar cheeses. The previous time, I liked the duck rillettes though they were very rich. Bread was hearty and good. Last time I had the onglet steak – cheap cut which needs to be thinly sliced to help with the chewing. It was not good – tough even though not overcooked, and a very small portion. This time I had the baked cod over cous cous which was absolutely delightful, subtle, interesting flavour and texture. Shame there was only a mouthful on the plate. The wine list was a saving grace, though, with some decent wines at apparently very competitive prices. I like to bargain-spot and I am a fan of Priorat which is normally very expensive (just bought some from Enotria at £22 +/- per bottle, wholesale). This Priorat was on the menu for £26 and was a decent example of the style of wine from that area of Cataluna (sorry, no “til” available over the “n”). So, overall a good experience but one which could be vastly improved with little effort by just a bit more on the plate to complement was goes in the glass.

Food & Drink: 4.0

Service: 4.0

Atmosphere: 3.0

Value: 4.0

Sabrina's Passions platinum reviewer 30 September 2010

Having wanted to eat here since it opened a few months ago, I finally managed to sneak an extended lunch hour and meet a friend for a couple of glasses of vino and some good food. The menu is incredibly simple, which I adore and the wine list is really excellent serving wine measures starting from 75ml upwards, enabling you to try many different wines with your meal. My friend opted for special lunch set menu of 2 courses at £15.50 which produced fantastic value starting with a salad of yellow and red beetroot, generously scattered with goat's cheese and crushed pistachios; followed by a main course of pan-fried mackerel accompanied by artichokes and a caper dressing. I was genuinely impressed with the quality and value of the food on the set menu. My own choices did not cost that much more with a wonderful duck rillette to start, delicate in flavour with succulent shreds of confit'd duck and a selection of pickles with huge hunks of bread. Heavenly. My main course was even more sublime, pigs cheek with belly pork, a side of crackling, quince, cale and swede that looked like spaghetti. A wonderful, sweet jus topped the dish off and made the experience absolutely perfect. I will most definitely be going back, preferably in the evening when I can really enjoy the wine list fully!

Food & Drink: 5.0

Service: 4.0

Atmosphere: 4.0

Value: 5.0

Richard E. platinum reviewer 04 August 2010

28-50 is fast becoming my watering hole of choice in the City (run close by the Planet of the Grapes, in Leadenhall Market). Located at the Fleet Street end of Fetter Lane, 28-50 is a champagne cork's pop from the grande dame of City wine bars: El Vino. It is also streets away from the Rumpole of the Bailey style that pervades at El Vino. There is nothing wrong with El Vino: it knows its clientele, and that clientele knows exactly what it is going to get there; solid food, solid wines, solid atmosphere. 28-50 is different. It is lighter, hasn't been ravaged by the effects of smoke and time, and is designed for a different, more oenophile than dipso, audience. The bar breaks the golden rule for restaurants and bars everywhere by having an entrance with stairs going straight down. This means that nobody can see the bar from street level, so passing trade is going to be limited. I'm not sure that this is a bad thing, so long as sufficient people know about the place to make sure that it is prospering. It certainly hasn't harmed Fino and, judging by the number of people who found their way through to the high ceilinged, surprisingly light and open, bar on a Tuesday night in the height of summer, it isn't going to be a problem here either. No, what is going to harm the financial success of 28-50 is going to be the absurd generosity of the owners: £325 may sound a lot for a bottle of wine, but this is the 1989 Mouton Rotshchild. Alain Ducasse (never a man to be backward in pricing) sells this same vintage at £1,490. Retail it is a touch over £300. A mark-up of around 10%; a lot of places could learn from such generosity. It is not just at the top end of the wine list either: there are 30 or so wines by the glass (and they sensibly do small 75ml tasting glasses as well as more normal 125ml glasses), carafe and bottle. These, when we last went (and they are ever changing), included a Slovenian Sylvaner at £2.80 a glass (not the cheapest offerings, I should add, that award being claimed jointly by a Spanish red and an Italian white (not a Pinot Grigio either) at a mere £1.95), a Sicilian Grillo (no, me neither), Coteaux du Languedoc, a Pinot from the Mornington Peninsula and some serious Meursault and St Emilion Grand Cru. The latter two were the most expensive at a mere £5.45 a glass. There is food too; nice platters of meats and cheeses, simple starters and mains, but really, this is about the wine. This place really deserves to do well: it offers great wine, at a great price, in a great underground cellar. I just hope that this latter point (or indeed, two points) doesn't (or don't) cause it to fail.

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Special offers

Steak and wine special: Rib eye steak, side & glass of wine £21.50

From: 25 September 2017

To: 30 November 2017

Max: 12

Maximum of 12 diners. Includes Tax, excludes service.