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This restaurant sibling to trend-setting wine bar Sager + Wilde is now the domain of rising star Chris Leach (via spells at Kitty Fishers and Launceston Place), who cooks with a confident, pared-back style that chimes perfectly with this vine-forward venue. Leach favours carefully sourced ingredients in their prime and grilling as many as possible over wood, to maximise flavour. Dishes on his concise, regularly changing menu might include cured sea bream with walnuts and blood orange, calçots in pork broth with a runny egg, or glazed pork belly with hazelnut mash and cider jus. Even the desserts feel the burn, such as chocolate with praline and smoked cream. Expertly matched fine wines by the glass and bottle abound, naturally, while the serene interiors of this converted railway arch are as convivial in the evening as they are during the daytime – try whiling away an afternoon with Leach’s weekend brunch menu while trains rumble busily overhead.
Once upon a time, the people who opened the original Sager + Wilde wine bar had a vision of creating a restaurant specializing in California wines. When I heard about Mission E2 opening, I was really excited. It’s hard to find new and interesting California wines in London, as a lot of the ones that you can find are imported from the bigger wineries, so you don’t get to experience the smaller, better wineries. It’s probably why we end up in Napa every time we’re in California.
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The Woodford Reserve Lounge at Sager + Wilde (at Paradise Row restaurant/bar/terrace not the Hackney Road wine bar) offers a subdued earth tone retreat from the world with a lofty perch above the Bethnal Green bustle.I dropped by recently for an elbow bend at the new lounge with Head Bartender Marcis Dzelzainis – recently nominated for the International Bartender of the Year award at the Tales Of The Cocktail Awards in New Orleans – and Woodford Reserve Brand Ambassador Tom Vernon.
More from Tiki Chris »
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