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This wine-centric spot is just as cool as its trend-setting wine bar sister, Sager + Wilde on Hackney Road. Positioned just round the corner from Bethnal Green station, it’s joined by several other restaurants (including Paradise Garage) which all share a long dining terrace, making for a secluded, foodie community. Chef Chris Leach has arrived via spells at Kitty Fisher's and Launceston Place, serving up a seasonal menu of on-trend European dishes, like steamed mussels with ‘nduja or Cornish hake with white beans. During our dinner, Leach served up stick-and-sweet devils on horseback, smothered in treacle-like sauce, while a perfectly rendered lemon tart, brimming with zest and slightly charred on top, deserves to remain a menu mainstay. Expertly matched fine wines by the glass and bottle abound, naturally, with a separate, single bottle list adding extra interest and a strong selection of orange wines and saké inviting experimentation. Pricing angles this towards the middle of the market, while a classic interior of dark wooden chairs and gentle lighting reinforce this as a mature option for clued-up Londoners.
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.
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