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13-15 Seymour Place
020 7724 7288
‘Quick and easy, unfussy and unpretentious’, gregarious Vinoteca’s winning formula matches the oenophile virtues of a top-notch wine emporium with a penchant for smart brasserie cooking. Wine flights and by-the-glass selections are unmissable, and the full list of around 200 bins is stuffed with helpfully annotated bottles from every corner of the winemaking globe – although judicious food-matching suggestions are the mini-chain’s ’biggest USP’. British cheeses and European charcuterie are mainstays of the menu, but the regularly changing line-up runs from crispy confit duck, pear, orange and walnut salad (recommended with a glass of Weissburgunder 2011) to Cornish hake with cockles, arroncina beans, lemon and samphire – perfect with a Kumeu River Chardonnay 2007 on the side. Light airy interiors, funky lighting and retro posters create just the right mood, and the bill is always easy on the wallet.
To celebrate the Year of the Woman, SquareMeal is running a series of interview profiles with top female chefs. Read here about Marianne Lumb’s colourful career as a private chef and the benefits of operating one of London’s smallest kitchens.
It’s a perennial problem: you want to choose your wines by style, but your dining companion wants to peruse the list by country of origin. What do you do? Well, this list will keep both parties happy. The wines are split up in both ways (the former with full, helpful tasting notes), and with a wide spread of wines there should be something for everyone, however they choose to find it! And the tasting note ‘Yes. Lambrusco. And it’s bloody lovely.’ should win an award.
Best Wine by the Glass
StreetSmart - London restaurants
From: 19 September 2018
To: 08 March 2019
From: 25 June 2018
To: 31 December 2018
From: 03 January 2017
To: 31 May 2020
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13-15 Seymour Place
020 7724 7288
Marble Arch Tube Station 193m
Edgware Road Tube Station 807m
Odeon Cinema Marble Arch 170m
Premier League & Football League 186m
Mon-Sun 12N-11pm (Sun -5pm)
Food & Drink:
Rate & Review
Food + drink: 3
We arrived at midday (I had reserved a table, which was unnecessary as there was plenty of room even by the time we left 2 hours later), and were seated and served drinks immediately. As with the Soho branch, the wine selection is extensive and they have plenty that you can order by the glass at very reasonable prices (we had the Prosecco and a very nice German Riesling).
We were all set to order from the Sunday lunch menu when the waiter came over and asked if we would like to see the brunch menu also - which we all then ended up ordering from. I was going to order either the roast chicken or the Confit duck (and I saw them pass me by on the way to another table and they both looked and smelled wonderful) but for some reason I find it hard to pass up scrambled eggs on toast with a side of crispy bacon, so that is what I (and 2 others) ordered, the other had the fried eggs and ham.
All were cooked well, a bit mean with the bacon (4 thin slices of pancetta) but here is my real gripe (not just here it seems to happen in lots of places) - why serve toast with no butter on it??? Who eats toast this way? By the time we had flagged down a waiter to request some, and he returned with a ceramic ramekin of solid, fridge-cold butter, the toast (and eggs) were too cold to melt it.
I suppose that there are lots of super-healthy, low-cholesterol types out there (although I suspect that they don't order scrambled eggs and bacon), but I know not one person who likes to eat dry toast - please, at the very least ask the customer when they place the order whether or not they would like their toast buttered.
Now I have got that off my chest, I am sure I will head back at some point and try that roast chicken.
Food + drink: 4
When my friend invited me to dinner at Vinoteca, I heard the word ‘Vino’ and being someone who doesn't actually drink wine (unless its a dessert wine) I wasn't overly enthused. Tucked away in Seymour Place, behind Edgware Road, Vinoteca is an intimate buzzy bistro with walls lined with scores of different wines and a list of over 285 wines available for purchase. They don't take reservations and although the restaurant was totally full, we didn't wait more than 10 minutes before we were seated… this in itself means extra brownie points for them in my opinion.
The menu is an informal mix of hearty rustic dishes, Tapas style dining and other delicious sounding combinations each paired with a wine recommendation, for the devoted wine drinker. The kitchen is visible and the Chefs pass is in plain sight for all to see. Not feeling overly hungry (yes, a rare event in my lifetime) I chose the goat cheese and beetroot salad with vinaigrette dressing and walnuts and my friend chose the salad of smoked eel with potatoes and mixed leaves. Now eel is something that I have always said, you would have to kill me to make me eat and how on earth people eat jellied eels, is beyond me! But, when the salad was served up, it did look rather good. My friend offered some to me and I was quick to turn her down but changed my mind in the spirit of trying new things and was surprised how delicious it was. My own salad was pretty straight forward but really gratifying. I love beetroots, yellow and purple and love goats cheese and walnuts, so it was a winning combination for me.
I realised that for the first time in my life, I accidentally ordered an entirely vegetarian menu… This has NEVER happened before… so once my tagliatelle with Pied de Mouton mushrooms arrived, I was hoping that it would do the trick for me and I wasn't disappointed. An extra heavy hit of garlic which luckily I love was a suitable companion to the mushrooms and the al dente ribbons of homemade tagliatelle; very satisfying. My friend opted for a lighter main course of ‘Lomito’ cured pork loin with blood oranges with almonds and Jalapeno peppers; a vibrant visual plate or delicious cured meat with the juicy citrus kick from the sharp slivers of blood orange. Delicious and so much better then the non-existent blood orange slivers hiding under the Burrata cheese I ate at Nopi restaurant recently and curiously almost half the price!
Three of the dishes we ate were priced at just £6.50; what a bargain, no? My handmade tagliatelle pasta was priced at just £10.50 and loaded with meaty mushrooms. You can't even get that sort of value at Ask, Zizzi or any of the other dodgy high street chains anymore; and you certainly can't match the quality of produce used by Vinoteca. For dessert, we shared a lovely rhubarb fool which was served in a rather stylish Martini glass with a lovely biscotti and I did have a cheeky glass of 2007 VAT 5 Botrytis Semillon de Bortoli to wash my dessert down with, which was a rather splendid way to end a rather splendid meal.
Vinoteca, despite its wine affiliation, won me over for its food. I am definitely coming back to eat here because the food is fantastic and the prices are incredibly reasonable for the high standard of cooking and service you receive. A gem of a find that I am reluctantly sharing with you but this is definitely one of those lovely little London discoveries that is too good to keep secret.
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