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Chef, author, TV presenter and proud west Londoner Allegra McEvedy has re-opened the wine bar and upstairs restaurant which her late mother started in 1978 (and where the first script for EastEnders was written). While the bar is all hustle and bustle, the homely restaurant, with its shelves laden with cookbooks, is an altogether cosier proposition. Bold rustic dishes using well-matched seasonal ingredients sit on a short and keenly-priced menu. Starters of delicate courgette carpaccio with pecorino, pine nuts and chervil, and smoked trout with sublimely seasoned Jersey royals, hits of horseradish and capers, were clean, fresh-tasting plates. To follow, gleaming, perfectly cooked Cornish pollock topped with a tasty salsa verde sitting proudly on a bed of puy lentils was just a pinch of seasoning away from being near perfect, while a well-flavoured hunk of pork shoulder steak combined nicely with rainbow chard, anchovies and baby Jersey royals, although the meat could have been more tender. Finish things off with a little pot of gold in the form of chocolate, cream and salted caramel helped along by some delicious shortbread. A more relaxed menu is available downstairs in the wine bar. To drink, an impressive European-influenced wine list has a cracking selection by the glass, and if you run out then as the sign says, ‘in case of a wine emergency ring the bell’.
This wine list is cleverly laid out, with wines separated by grape variety, style (eg Crisp and Fresh), or, occasionally, by country. Tasting notes are short, and there are stimulating ‘focuses’ on varieties and places. Its blend of ‘classic’ and ‘interesting’ is a terrific snapshot of the modern wine world.
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